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Monday December 11th, 2017 6:30AM

The Latest: Senate Dems meet with interim leader amid fight

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's acting director position (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

In a show of support, top Senate Democrats met with Consumer Financial Protection Bureau interim director Leandra English, who is fighting for control of the financial watchdog agency.

English met privately with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Before the meeting, they allowed photographers in, but none of the officials commented on the escalating political fight over the bureau's future.

English was elevated to interim director last week by its outgoing director. But President Donald Trump wants to install his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as the agency's top official.

The White House says the president is on sound legal footing. But English has asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney from taking over the bureau.

___

4:15 p.m.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is imposing a 30-day freeze on hiring and new rulemaking as he moves to take control of the consumer protection bureau he's running on a temporary basis.

Mulvaney said Monday that his view of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau hasn't changed. He's calling it an example of "bureaucracy gone wrong."

He says elections have consequences at every agency and that includes the CFPB. He says he intends to run the consumer bureau differently than the previous Obama administration, which created it under the Dodd-Frank Law.

Mulvaney says he plans to spend three days a week at the CFPB and three days a week at his job at the Office of Management and Budget. He says President Donald Trump made clear to him that he "wants me here."

___

3:40 p.m.

The White House says budget director Mick Mulvaney has taken charge of a consumer protection agency that has two people jockeying for control.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Mulvaney has the full cooperation of the staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She says the agency's general counsel appointed by former director Richard Cordray says Mulvaney has legal standing to be there.

Mulvaney showed up for work at the CFPB on Monday after President Donald Trump picked him to lead the agency on a temporary basis. But so did Leandra English, who was elevated to interim director of the bureau last week by Cordray.

___

2 p.m.

The White House is releasing legal memos in an effort to justify President Donald Trump's selection of Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to serve as acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says "there should be no question" that Mulvaney is in charge of the agency. And she says it was an unfortunate "stunt" for former director Richard Cordray to appoint an acting successor when he left office.

The White House says the Obama administration took a similar position when filling a vacancy on the National Labor Relations Board.

The consumer protection bureau has two people jockeying for control. Mulvaney showed up for work there on Monday. And so did Leandra English, who was elevated to interim director of the bureau last week by Cordray.

___

12:25 p.m.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau kicked off the day with dueling acting directors.

Amid conflict over the leadership of the agency, both people claiming to be in charge reached out to staffers Monday. That's according to people close to the agency, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

Leandra English, who was elevated to interim director of the bureau last week by its outgoing director, sent staff an email offering Thanksgiving wishes.

President Donald Trump's choice for the job — White House budget director Mick Mulvaney — then emailed staff to tell them to "disregard" any instructions from English. He also offered doughnuts.

English has filed suit, contending that federal law puts her in charge. The White House has maintained that the president has the power to appoint an acting director.

—By Catherine Lucey

___

3:05 a.m.

The government official President Donald Trump wants to pass over as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking a federal court to block the president's appointment.

Leandra English was elevated to interim director of the bureau by its outgoing director. She filed suit Sunday night against Trump and his choice, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney. She contends that federal law puts her in charge, but White House officials disagree.

English was chief of staff to bureau director Richard Cordray when he named her deputy director before he resigned Friday. Cordray was appointed by President Barack Obama and has been long criticized by congressional Republicans as overzealous.

Mulvaney has called the agency a "joke" and is expected to dismantle much of what the bureau has done.

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