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Dueling Appointments Lead to Clash at Consumer Protection Bureau

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President Trump named Mick Mulvaney the acting leader of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, moving to take control of the agency just hours after its departing leader had taken steps to install his own choice for acting chief.

Earlier on Friday, Richard Cordray, the Obama-appointed leader of the consumer bureau, which was created in 2011 in response to the financial crisis, announced that he would step down at the close of business that day, moving up his planned departure by a week.

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Richard Cordray, the agency’s departing leader.

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Andrew Mangum for The New York Times

In a letter to the staff, he said he was appointing Leandra English, the agency’s chief of staff, as deputy director. Under the law, he said, that appointment would make her the agency’s acting director. The move was seen as an effort to block Mr. Trump from appointing his own acting director.

“In considering how to ensure an orderly succession for this independent agency, I determined that it would be best to avoid leaving this key position filled only in an acting capacity,” Mr. Cordray wrote. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which established the regulatory agency, the deputy director is to serve as acting director in the absence of a permanent leader, Mr. Cordray said.

Mr. Mulvaney’s appointment had been widely anticipated. An official told The New York Times this month that Mr. Mulvaney was expected to remain director of the Office of Management and Budget while overseeing the consumer bureau until a permanent director was approved.

The bureau, with its reputation as an active watchdog for the financial rights of consumers, has been a major obstacle to the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle regulations.

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