Trump's Cabinet is still very empty

Cabinet meeting.
(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm / Getty Images )

A year-end purge of White House officials has left nearly half of President Trump's Cabinet working in an "acting" capacity. Yet weeks — and in some cases months — after these officials' departures, there's still no sign their replacements are coming anytime soon.

We're more than two and half months past former Attorney General Jeff Sessions' ouster and subsequent replacement by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. The Trump loyalist was decried for his criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, but his official replacement isn't faring much better. William Barr was nominated to his second stint as attorney general in early December and underwent confirmation hearings earlier this month. Yet on Tuesday, a vote on his confirmation was postponed amid Democrats' fears that he won't protect Mueller, The Washington Post reports.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley revealed her departure even earlier than Sessions, and Trump picked State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert for the job in early December. Despite still working for the State Department, officials tell CNN they haven't seen the nominee in "ages." Sources say she's preparing for her still-unscheduled confirmation hearing.

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Meanwhile, acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler has held his supposedly temporary job since last July. He was second-in-command at the department until Scott Pruitt departed, and he faced a confirmation hearing earlier this month. No, there's still no Senate confirmation vote scheduled.

Confusingly, Mick Mulvaney is still serving as "acting" chief of staff, despite that role not needing Senate confirmation. Defense Secretary James Mattis and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also departed with the start of the new year, and their replacements are nowhere in sight.

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