Jessie Kong Liu (born January 2, 1973) is an American attorney who was the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. She previously worked as deputy general counsel at the U.S. Treasury and served at the Justice Department. In 2020, she joined the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom as a partner.
|United States Attorney for the District of Columbia|
September 24, 2017 – January 31, 2020
|Preceded by||Channing D. Phillips|
|Succeeded by||Timothy Shea|
Jessie Kong Liu
January 2, 1973
Kingsville, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Harvard University (BA)|
Yale University (JD)
Education and legal careerEdit
Liu was born in Kingsville, Texas, of a Taiwanese immigrant family. She received her bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, from Harvard University in 1995, with a major in literature, and completed her J.D. at Yale Law School in 1998. She clerked for Carolyn Dineen King of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1998 to 1999.
Liu served as Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia from 2002 to 2006. She worked at the United States Department of Justice during the administration of President George W. Bush from 2006 to 2009. Her roles included deputy chief of staff in the National Security Division, counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division.
Liu worked for the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump, and in 2017 became deputy general counsel at the United States Department of the Treasury. In June 2017, President Trump nominated Liu to become the next United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the country's largest U.S. Attorney's office, with more than three hundred prosecutors. Liu was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote in September 2017.
While serving as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Liu received criticism from residents and local lawmakers for her record of not prosecuting hate crimes. An investigation by The Washington Post found that under her leadership, hate crime prosecutions and convictions in D.C. were at their lowest point in at least a decade. After much public pressure, her office made more prosecutions for hate crimes in 2019 than it did in all of 2018 and 2017 combined.
In March 2019, President Donald Trump said he would nominate Liu to become United States Associate Attorney General, but she withdrew her name from consideration later that month because the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee objected to her nomination.
On December 10, 2019, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Liu as Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes at the Department of the Treasury. The nomination was submitted to the U.S. Senate on January 6, 2020. Some Republicans doubted her conservative credentials and loyalty to Trump. As a US attorney, Liu had overseen some ancillary cases referred by the Mueller investigation including the prosecution of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone, as well as a politically charged case involving former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump's ire. In January 2020 she determined there was insufficient evidence to indict McCabe. She was then transferred to the Treasury Department to await her confirmation, as Barr replaced her with his close advisor Timothy Shea. On February 11, 2020, Trump withdrew her nomination, two days before her confirmation hearing was scheduled to begin. CNN reported that Liu's nomination was withdrawn because she was perceived to be insufficiently involved in the Stone and McCabe cases. Liu resigned from the government on February 12, 2020. Days later it was reported that before Liu's nomination was withdrawn, Trump was presented with a lengthy memo describing a variety of ways Liu was perceived to be disloyal, primarily by not prosecuting individuals Trump disliked.
Awards and honorsEdit
Liu has received numerous awards. She was named a White Collar Trailblazer by the National Law Journal in 2015, was named among the Best Lawyers Under 40 by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association in 2011, received a Rising Star Award from the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Washington, D.C., in 2011, and received a Service Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers in 2005.
She is married to Michael Abramowicz, a lawyer who also attended Yale Law School.
- Alexander, Keith (September 15, 2017). "Jessie K. Liu confirmed as the District's new top prosecutor". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
- "President Donald J. Trump Announces United States Attorney Candidate Nominations". The White House. June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "Jessie Liu, Former Top Federal Prosecutor in DC, Joins Skadden Arps". law.com. September 1, 2020. Retrieved September 1, 2020.
- "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Questionnaire for Non-Judicial Nominees" (PDF). United States Senate. August 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
- "Trump's pick for Justice Dept.'s No. 3 post withdraws amid Republican opposition". Politico. March 28, 2019.
- Tillman, Zoe (May 11, 2017). "Trump Will Nominate A Member Of His DOJ Transition Team To Be DC's US Attorney". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- Moyer, Justin (June 12, 2017). "Jessie K. Liu nominated to be U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
- "PN613 — Jessie K. Liu — Department of Justice". congress.gov. United States Congress. September 14, 2017. Retrieved September 15, 2017.
- Miller, Michael E. (October 23, 2019). "D.C. lawmakers slam U.S. attorney for skipping hate crimes hearing". The Washington Post.
- Delgadillo, Natalie (January 24, 2020). "Following Criticism, The U.S. Attorney For D.C. Announces Increase In Hate Crime Prosecutions". DCist.
- Benner, Katie (March 28, 2019). "Trump's Pick for No. 3 Post at Justice Dept. Withdraws From Consideration". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Gerstein, Josh (March 5, 2019). "Trump picks U.S. attorney in D.C. for No. 3 Justice job". Politico. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- Barrett, Devlin (March 28, 2019). "D.C.'s U.S. attorney Jessie Liu withdraws from consideration for No. 3 Justice Dept. job". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate and Appoint Individuals to Key Administration Posts". The White House. December 10, 2019. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
- "PN1330 — Jessie K. Liu — Department of the Treasury". congress.gov. United States Congress. January 6, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
- Benner, Katie; LaFraniere, Sharon; Goldman, Adam (February 11, 2020). "Prosecutors Quit Roger Stone Case After Justice Dept. Intervenes on Sentencing". The New York Times.
- "Attorney General William P. Barr Appoints Timothy Shea Interim U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia". STL.News. January 31, 2020. Retrieved February 13, 2020.
- Benner, Katie; LaFraniere, Sharon; Hong, Nicole (February 15, 2020). "Fearful of Trump's Attacks, Justice Dept. Lawyers Worry Barr Will Leave Them Exposed". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
- Jarrett, Laura; Collins, Kaitlan; Polantz, Katelyn; LeBlanc, Paul (February 11, 2020). "Trump withdraws Treasury nomination of ex-US attorney who oversaw Stone prosecution". CNN. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- Collins, Kaitlan (February 12, 2020). "Decision to pull Liu's nomination directly linked to her oversight of Stone and McCabe cases". CNN. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- Alexander, Peter; Gregorian, Dareh (February 13, 2020). "Jessie Liu, ex-U.S. attorney who oversaw Roger Stone case, resigns from Trump administration". NBC News. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
- Swan, Jonathan (February 23, 2020). "Exclusive: Trump's "Deep State" hit list". Axios. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
- "WEDDINGS; M. B. Abramowicz And Jessie Liu". The New York Times. August 15, 1999. Retrieved August 15, 2018.