Senators react to Homeland Security’s purge; attorney general testifies before House committee

Senators react to Homeland Security’s purge; attorney general testifies before House committee

Published
William Barr answers a question at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to become Attorney General of the United States, January 15, 2019, (Photo ©2019 Douglas Christian)
William Barr answers a question at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to become Attorney General of the United States, January 15, 2019, (Photo ©2019 Douglas Christian)

On the Hill with Doug Christian

(Audio: Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen)

CAPITOL HILL — Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks to reporters outside her home after President Donald Trump announces her resignation Sunday. Nielsen will leave her post Wednesday.

With Nielsen’s departure, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) tells reporters, “That’s at least 10 top positions filled by someone in an acting capacity.” Feinstein continues, “DHS is now without a secretary, deputy secretary, ICE director, FEMA director, Secret Service director, inspector general, undersecretary for policy, undersecretary for science and technology, chief financial officer and chief privacy officer.”

Ominously, Feinstein comments, “The purge of senior leadership at the Department of Homeland Security is unprecedented and a threat to our national security.”

Feinstein’s concerns bridge both sides of the aisle. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, an ally of President Trump’s and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, tells reporters, “I am concerned with a growing leadership void within the department tasked with addressing some of the most significant problems facing the nation.”

In other news, Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify today before the House Committee on Appropriations over justice department funding. Democrats on the Committee are anxious to grill Barr over release of the Mueller report.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) issues a statement ahead of the meeting complaining, “All we have is your four-page summary letter, which seems to cherry pick from the report to draw the most favorable conclusion possible for the President.”

Lowey notes, “Even for someone who has done this job before, I would argue it is more suspicious than impressive.”

Doug Christian, Capitol Hill

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