WASHINGTON A nonpartisan congressional watchdog’s discovering that the 2 prime officers on the Department of Homeland Security are legally ineligible to carry their posts is faulty and needs to be withdrawn, a Trump administration official mentioned Monday.
Acting DHS basic counsel Chad Mizelle defended the legality of the administration’s appointments and mentioned the timing and the writer of the discovering by the General Accountability Office look like politically motivated.
The GAO ought to rescind its faulty report instantly, Mizelle wrote in a letter to the final counsel of the congressional watchdog company.
GAO mentioned within the discovering launched Friday that the appointment of performing DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and performing Deputy Ken Cuccinelli violate a federal legislation that regulates the appointment of senior authorities officers.
It is a vital challenge as a result of there are pending lawsuits difficult DHS actions associated to immigration and legislation enforcement that argue partly that Trump administration insurance policies are invalid as a result of the highest officers are usually not legally eligible to carry these positions.
Mizelle, along with arguing that the GAO discovering is legally flawed, questioned the timing of its launch about 80 days earlier than the November election and famous that the principal writer had beforehand labored on a Democratic marketing campaign and coverage committee.
As the reader reaches the experiences conclusion, he’s left with the sinking and inescapable feeling that one thing is afoot within the swamp, he wrote in a letter launched by DHS.
The GAO report comes at a time of intense scrutiny of DHS over Trump administration immigration insurance policies and the July deployment of federal brokers in tactical gear to confront protesters outdoors federal buildings in Portland, Oregon.
It additionally comes as Miles Taylor, who served as DHS chief of workers from 2017-19, has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden within the presidential race. He accused President Donald Trump of utilizing DHS for political profit by specializing in points that might assist his marketing campaign on the expense of extra urgent issues.
After serving for greater than two years within the Department of Homeland Securitys leadership throughout the Trump administration, I can attest that the nation is much less safe as a direct results of the presidents actions, Taylor wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
Taylor served beneath Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who signed an order of succession at DHS that’s on the coronary heart of the dispute over whether or not the appointments of Wolf and Cuccinelli are legitimate.
GAO decided that Nielsen was improperly changed by Kevin McAleenan and, subsequently, the later appointments of Wolf and Cuccinelli had been invalid.
Mizelle counters in his letter that the succession was later clarified by Nielsen in an inner memo and when she swore in McAleenan as her substitute.
Ultimately, the problem is more likely to be resolved by a courtroom listening to one of many challenges to DHS coverage and its leadership, mentioned Stephen Vladeck, a professor on the University of Texas School of Law who has studied federal emptiness legislation and believes the appointments are invalid.
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The Trump administration ought to act shortly to exchange the officers, Vladeck warned. Every day they go away Wolf in workplace they’re rising the chance that his appointment will get struck down and a complete bunch of polices get struck down with it,” he mentioned.
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