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BREAKING: ATF Acting Director Demoted, Replaced

Charlie T Waite

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We just broke some significant news on the ATF that could impact President Biden's latest permanent director nomination. Check it our below:


Exclusive: ATF Acting Director Demoted, Replaced
By Stephen Gutowski

The ATF is undergoing a major shakeup.

Acting Director Marvin Richardson is being demoted, and US Attorney Gary Restaino will take over his position, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the move. The reshuffling was announced by Richardson on a conference call Monday, which left many ATF officials surprised and dismayed. The ATF is expected to announce the move in the coming days.

"The news that he was being replaced came as a shock to most of us within the agency," one ATF official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, told The Reload.

Richardson is an African-American career ATF official who has spent more than 30 years with the agency. His demotion means he has not only been passed over twice for nomination to become the permanent director but is now being shuffled out of the acting director position mere months before a permanent director may be confirmed. The move follows a recent New York Times article featuring complaints from gun-control activists which labeled Richardson “an industry-friendly subordinate pumping the brakes” on President Biden's aggressive gun-control initiatives. It risks creating a backlash that could jeopardize the President's second attempt to install a permanent head for the agency.

Refusing to consider an accomplished Black agent like Richardson for the permanent position may lead to further controversy around Biden's nomination of Steve Dettelbach.

Dettelbach was going to be recommended for renomination as US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio by Senator Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) last year but was pulled after civil rights activists complained no consideration was given to qualified Black candidates. Samaria Rice, whose son Tamir was killed by Cleveland Police in 2014 when they mistook his toy gun for a real one, was among those who spoke out against Dettelbach's renomination. At the time, Rice told Cleveland.com, “the community deserves a fair process,” not a “white, political insider” pick.

The administration's treatment of Richardson, who worked his way up from field agent to the directorship, may inspire similar critiques.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the situation. The ATF referred questions to the Department of Justice which did not respond.

At least some ATF sources perceive Richardson's demotion as a politically-motivated punishment. A second ATF source with dozens of years of experience confirmed Richardson is being replaced by Restaino. They said the demotion was likely a result of perceptions inside the administration that Richardson is too friendly towards the gun industry.

"This administration has some very strong opinions on guns," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Reload. "They may have some distaste with that. So, bringing in [Restaino] kind of negates that."

Click here to read the full piece.


We'll have more on the situation as it develops.

Thank you,
Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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