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On December 19, President Trump nominated Susan Thornton to be assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the Department of State. Thornton, a member of the Senior Foreign Service, has been serving in this role in an acting capacity since March. Her previous Foreign Service assignments include serving in Turkmenistan as deputy chief of mission from 2011 to 2014, as well as posts in China, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. Thornton graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a master’s degree in international relations in 1991 and from Bowdoin College with a bachelor’s degree in 1985.


On December 18, J. Paul Compton Jr. was confirmed by the Senate to be general counsel for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Compton was formerly a partner at Birmingham, Alabama law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, and outside general counsel to the Alabama Affordable Housing Association. Another former Bradley Arant partner, Kevin Newsom, was confirmed by the Senate in August to be a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

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