Exclusive: U.S. consumer finance agency lawyer sides with Trump over succession - sources

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top lawyer for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has concluded that President Donald Trump has the authority to name its acting director, three sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday, rejecting an effort by her former boss at the agency to name his immediate successor.

The office of CFPB General Counsel Mary McLeod has prepared a memo concurring with the opinion of the U.S. Justice Department that Trump has the power to appoint his budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, as temporary leader of the federal watchdog agency, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

One source said the memo would be sent to CFPB staff on Monday.

CFPB officials did not respond to requests by email and phone requesting comment.

McLeod’s opinion places her against Richard Cordray, who resigned as CFPB director on Friday and elevated his former chief of staff, Leandra English, to replace him on an interim basis until the Senate confirms a permanent successor named by Trump. Hours later, the Republican president named Mulvaney as acting head, plunging the bureau into uncertainty.

Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Will Dunham