Mnuchin Plans Early Return to U.S. From Middle East Trip

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will cut short a seven-country trip to the Middle East and North Africa and return to the U.S. this weekend, said a person familiar with his plans.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Mnuchin’s return was to ensure continuity of leadership during a time of upheaval in the U.S. Mnuchin is expected to be back on U.S. soil Monday morning.

It’s not related to any plan to pursue President Donald Trump’s removal through the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the person said, addressing speculation that Cabinet members have considered Trump’s ouster.

Mnuchin Plans Early Return to U.S. From Middle East Trip

Mnuchin hasn’t discussed the 25th Amendment with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, his own staff at Treasury, or other administration officials, according to six people familiar with the matter. The Washington Post and CNBC have reported in the past two days that Mnuchin has discussed removing Trump, citing sources that weren’t identified. Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley has declined to comment.

The Treasury chief’s return was characterized by one person as wanting to show principled leadership and continuity of government after several days of turmoil following Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

Mnuchin had earlier been expected to return Jan. 12.

The trip has been planned since early December, even as the transition to the Biden administration was under way. Mnuchin has visited Egypt, where he attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a hotel, plus Sudan, Israel and Qatar for meetings with government officials.

He will no longer go to Kuwait, and will cut his visit to Saudi Arabia to one city from two. Mnuchin may meet while in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, another person said.

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