Trump aide banned from Justice Dept. after pressuring staffers for case information

The Justice Department building in Washington
The Justice Department building in Washington in October.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

The Trump aide serving as the president’s eyes and ears at the Justice Department has been banned from the building after trying to pressure staff members to give up sensitive information about election fraud and other matters that she could relay to the White House, three people familiar with the matter say.

Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump advisor Stephen Miller, was quietly installed at the Justice Department as a White House liaison a few months ago. She was told within the last two weeks to vacate the building after top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect inside information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud, the people told the Associated Press.

Stirrup is accused of approaching staffers in the department and demanding that they give her information about investigations, including election fraud matters, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.


The effort came as Trump continues to level baseless claims that he won the election and alleges without evidence that massive voting fraud was responsible for his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.

Stirrup had also extended job offers to political allies for positions at some of the highest levels of the Justice Department without consulting senior department officials or the White House counsel’s office, one of the people said. She also attempted to interfere in the hiring process for career staffers, a violation of the government’s human resources policies.

The Justice Department declined to comment. Attempts to reach Stirrup for comment were not immediately successful.

A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to hear President Trump’s attempt to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden in the battleground state.

Dec. 4, 2020

On Thursday, Trump appointed Stirrup to the board of visitors of the U.S. Air Force Academy, according to a White House news release.

Earlier this week, Atty. Gen. William Barr said that U.S. attorneys and the FBI had looked into allegations of election irregularities and found no evidence of widespread voting fraud that would change the outcome of the election.

Trump shot back at Barr on Thursday, saying the Justice Department “hasn’t looked very hard” and calling it a disappointment. But he stopped short of implying that Barr’s future as attorney general could be cut short.


“Ask me that in a number of weeks from now,” Trump said when asked if he still has confidence in Barr.

“They should be looking at all of this fraud,” Trump said.

Trump’s own attorney general says there wasn’t fraud that would change the election’s outcome. Leading Republicans should listen.

Dec. 1, 2020

He was also critical of Barr’s statement that much of what has been presented so far by the Trump campaign and its allies amounts to allegations that belong in lawsuits, not federal crimes.

“This is not civil. This is criminal stuff. This is very bad criminal stuff,” Trump said.

Stirrup, who previously was a central figure in the Trump administration’s push for hard-line immigration policies, technically still remains in her position at the Justice Department after being placed there by the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.

The Trump administration has been working to have liaisons report directly to the White House instead of the agencies where they work. Across the administration, there have been concerns that the liaisons were undercutting the work not just of career professionals but also of Trump’s own political appointees.

Shortly after the election, the presidential personnel office had also instructed the liaisons to fire any political appointees who were looking for jobs while Trump refused to accept the election results. Trump’s term ends at noon on Jan. 20. Several thousand political appointees across the government will see their jobs end before or on that date.

The White House personnel office has been headed by former Trump personal assistant John McEntee, who has renewed Trump’s push to rid the administration of those deemed “disloyal” to the president.

In September, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson inadvertently made public his anger with McEntee when cameras captured writing on the back of a page he was consulting during a speech.

In a reference to the White House Presidential Personnel Office, Carson’s notes said: “I am not happy with the way PPO is handling my agency.” It’s a sentiment that has been shared across the government.

Stirrup, a close ally of Miller, previously served as the acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and was also a deputy White House liaison at the Department of Health and Human Services.