Department of Commerce Policy Director Earl Comstock on His Way Out

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The White House is pushing Commerce policy director Earl Comstock out of the Trump administration -- the first round of house-cleaning after the 2020 census debacle and clashes over tech policy. In recent months, Comstock has apparently angered President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House lawyers, members of the National Security Council, and officials at the National Economic Council, citing both Comstock’s handling of the 2020 US census’s citizenship question and the internal debate over spectrum policy as key areas of disagreement. A feud among President Trump's advisers over 5G wireless spilled into public view in March, when the Commerce Dept raised concerns that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's effort to free up more 5G airwaves for the wireless sector would interfere with the government's use of nearby airwaves for weather forecasting. The White House ultimately sided with the FCC in that debate. But that did not end the internal infighting, as Chairman Pai accused the department of “blocking our efforts at every single turn” during a Senate oversight hearing in June. He said the relationship between the FCC and Commerce Dept has deteriorated since David Redl abruptly resigned his post as head of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Early in his tenure at Commerce, Comstock also quietly opposed the FCC’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality regulations by backing a congressional effort to restore the rules.

After census debacle, White House to knock out senior Commerce official