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Tag: Kevin McAleenan

Chad Wolf Moves Closer to Becoming Trump’s Fifth Homeland Security Secretary

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Chad Wolf is closer to becoming President Trump’s fifth Homeland Security secretary.

The Senate voted primarily along party lines to move forward on Wolf’s nomination as Homeland Security policy undersecretary.

Today, the Senate is expected to vote on the confirmation.

Once he is confirmed, Trump can appoint Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary. For Wolf to become the leader of the agency, he must hold a Senate-confirmed role under federal law.

Wolf will replace Kevin McAleenan, who resigned in October.

Still, Republicans and Democrats expressed concern about the lack of an acting director for the nation’s third largest department. Homeland Security hasn’t had a permanent secretary since Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April.

Wolf was Nielsen’s chief of staff.

Senate May Vote on Chad Wolf’s Nomination to Lead Homeland Security by Tuesday

Chad Wolf

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Senate may vote as early as Tuesday on President Trump’s pick of Chad Wolf as acting Homeland Security secretary.

If approved by the Republican-controlled Senate, Wolf would be Trump’s fifth leader of Homeland Security, a department that has been shaken up by its focus on immigration.

A closure vote today would open the door for a full floor vote next week, CBS News reports.

Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan would resign if Wolf’s nomination is approved.

It’s unclear whether Trump plans to tap Wolf for the permanent secretary position.

Republican Senators to Trump: Don’t Appoint Immigration Hardliner to Lead Homeland Security

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Republican senators are warning President Trump not to exploit a potential loophole in a federal law to appoint an immigration hardliner to lead Homeland Security.

As Tickle the Wire reported Wednesday, the White House is looking for ways to bypass the Federal Vacancies Act that limits who can take over cabinet-level positions. Trump and immigration hardliners appear to favor Ken Cuccinelli to become the fifth Homeland Security director in less than three years.

As acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cuccinelli would not be eligible unless the administration found a loophole that involves appointing him to assistant secretary of Homeland Security. Doing so would risk a protracted legal battle at a time when Homeland Security needs a permanent leader.

“The White House would be well advised to consult with the Senate and senators before they take any decisive action that might be embarrassing to Mr. Cuccinelli or to the White House itself,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), according to Politico.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also said he does not like the idea.

Cuccinelli, one of the president’s top lieutenants as an immigration hardliner, has not won over Republicans because he once led the Senate Conservatives Fund, a group that was critical of the GOP establishment.

On Wednesday, Cuccinelli told lawmakers he ended a program that temporarily protected immigrants from deportation if they’re battling life-threatening illnesses in the U.S.

Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is scheduled to resign today.

White House Explores Loophole to Appoint Immigration Hardliner to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Ken Cuccinelli

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Immigration hardliners have been gunning for Ken Cuccinelli as acting secretary of Homeland Security, but a federal law appeared to make the appointment impossible.

The White House may have found a way to bypass the federal Vacancies Act, which limits who can take over cabinet-level positions.

Under the law, the acting official is required to be the next in the line of succession, have served 90 days under the previous secretary or receive Senate approval.

As acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Cuccinelli would not be eligible.

One possible loophole is for Trump to appoint Cuccinelli to the vacant position of assistant secretary of the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office and then tap him to be the acting secretary of Homeland Security, The New York Times reports.

Trump’s fourth acting Homeland Security secretary in less than three years is Kevin K. McAleenan, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Trump has demanded loyalty from that position, and he’s desired a secretary whose man focus is on immigration, not terrorism.

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s Obsession with Immigration Is Undermining Homeland Security’s Focus

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Few people understand the threats facing the U.S. better than Jeh Johnson, who served as secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017.

After his departure, President Trump has been unable to hold onto a Homeland Security secretary. His fourth secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month.

In op-ed in the Washington Post, Johnson says there are two threats that “would keep him up at night:” The resurgence of ISIS is Syria, and Russia’s ongoing campaign to meddle in U.S. elections.

“Particularly in the current threat environment, our nation cannot afford a continued string of temporary, acting secretaries promoted from within the ranks of DHS to, as some would have it, simply receive and transmit orders from the White House,” Johnson wrote. “The job is one of the most complex and critical in the U.S. government.”

In Johnson’s view, Trump’s Homeland Security secretaries have been an “instrument for hammering the administration’s hard-line views on immigration,” while losing focus on “counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, maritime security, port security, the physical protection of our national leaders and U.S. government buildings, the detection of chemical, biological and nuclear threats to the homeland and the response to natural disasters.”

On Tuesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complained that Trump wanted things his way – and he could not take no for an answer.

Immigration hardliners were hoping Trump would appoint Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Turns out, they are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession.

“The president should resist the temptation to nominate a pronounced hard-liner on immigration who will be a lightning rod to lead a Cabinet department already in the thick of political storms,” Johnson wrote.

His advice: “Fill the job with someone well qualified, and fill it soon, Mr. President. A president who leaves the job vacant for too long is neglecting his own duty to defend the homeland and keep the American people safe.”

Ex-Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen Reveals Why She Resigned from Trump Administration

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s third Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed Tuesday why she resigned from the department in April: Trump did not like the word “no.”

“What led me to resign is there were a lot of things that there were those in the administration who thought that we should do, and… it became clear that saying no and refusing to do it myself was not going to be enough,” Nielsen in an interview with PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C.

Nielsen’s replacement in April, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month as Trump looks for a fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years.

When pressed about the controversial child separation policy, Nielsen defended her actions, saying her job was to “enforce the law, not to separate families.”

But Nielsen admitted the policy was enacted before determining how to reunite the migrant families.

“What I regret is that we haven’t solved it, and what I regret was that that information flow and coordination to quickly reunite the families was clearly not in place and that’s why the practice was stopped through an executive order,” Nielsen said.

Trump’s purported top picks for the next Homeland Security secretary – Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession, White House officials told the president.

Trump’s Search for Fifth Homeland Security Secretary Hits Snag

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s search for a fifth Homeland Security secretary in less than three years just hit a major snag.

Two of his purported top picks are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession, White House officials told Trump, according to reports in Politico and The Wall Street Journal.

Trump was gunning for Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Immigration hawks have endorsed Cuccinelli.

White House officials gave Trump a list of other potential candidates who could take over as DHS head after acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan leaves at the end of the month. Among the names are DHS Assistant Secretary Chad Wolf, a former chief of staff of ousted DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske.

Trump has been considering Wolf to be acting secretary, Politico reports. But Wolf’s position on immigration has been considered weak.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

President Trump Looking for Fifth Homeland Security Secretary Since Taking Office

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Job security is not exactly a perk in the top job at the Department of Homeland Security.

Kevin McAleenan was the fourth person to hold the job of Homeland Security secretary since Donald Trump became president three years ago. His resignation Friday means the agency that protects the nation against terrorism, cyberattacks, illegal immigrant natural disasters and other threats needs another leader.

The two leading candidates to replace McAleenan are Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to The Wall Street Journal, which notes the list of potential candidates may expand.

Leading Homeland Security has been no easy task because Trump has demanded a secretary whose focus is clearly on immigration, which is only one part of the multi-faceted agency.

Enter Morgan and Cuccinelli. Their rhetoric on immigration matches the president’s, so they are more likely to be loyal.

“The rhetoric coming from the top of DHS will likely now more closely match the president,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a nonprofit that supports liberalized immigration legislation, told The Wall Street Journal.