While consumers were fighting over fancy televisions on Black Friday, the US government was fighting over consumers. The New York Times reports Richard Cordray suddenly left his position as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday—a week ahead of schedule. One of his final moves before heading out the door was to name his chief of staff, Leandra English, as deputy director. Cordray says that would legally make her acting director until such a time as President Trump nominates a new director and gets that nominee approved by the Senate. Instead, Trump immediately named budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the CFPB, which regulates companies that lend money to consumers. It's now completely unclear which acting director will be in charge of the bureau come Monday morning.
Citing the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act, administration officials tell Reuters that Trump has the power to install his own acting director and that the administration expects Mulvaney to be in charge with English working under him next week. But in a Facebook post, Sen. Elizabeth Warren—who was responsible for the creation of the CFPB—says Trump "can't override" the Dodd-Frank Act, which states the CFPB deputy director becomes acting director until a permanent replacement is approved. The battle of who controls the CFPB has real stakes, as Trump has been on a mission to mold financial regulators to his liking and Republicans have been trying to kill the CFPB since its formation. In fact, Mulvaney once called the bureau—which has punished banks, student lenders, and others over predatory lending practices—a "sad, sick joke."