Too late to do anyone any good, Trump Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned this afternoon during a Sunday meeting with Donald Trump. In a tweet, Trump identified Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan as acting DHS secretary until a replacement can be confirmed.
Nielsen had been widely criticized for her defenses of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for asylum seekers, leading to a dramatic escalation in the number of children taken from their parents to be held in separate detention camps. She also came under fire after multiple deaths of immigrant children in federal custody. She has also been a reliable conduit for administration-pushed false claims and conspiracy theories.
CBS News reports that the move appears to be “part of a larger overhaul”of the department by Trump and top aide Stephen Miller, an obsessive pursuer of anti-immigrant white nationalist policies. On Friday, Trump withdrew the nomination of proposed ICE director Ron Vitiello, saying he now wanted to go in a “tougher direction.”
It is likely, then, that Nielsen was forced to resign not for her false claims to Congress, the cruelty with which her department instituted child separation policies or the gross indifference of the department to reunification efforts afterwards, but because Trump is now looking to replace her with someone who will institute even more aggressive and inhumane policies.
“It may take federal officials two years to identify what could be thousands of immigrant children who were separated from their families at the southern United States border,” the New York Times reports. “A federal judge had asked for a plan to identify these children and their families after a report from government inspectors in January revealed that the Trump administration most likely separated thousands more children from their parents than was previously believed.”
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said that Democrats will “never” see President Trump’s tax returns, The Hill reports. Said Mulvaney: “Nor should they. That’s an issue that was already litigated during the election. Voters knew the president could have given his tax returns. They knew that he didn’t and they elected him anyway.”
Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow also pushed back on ABC News: “This idea that you can use the IRS as a political weapon … is incorrect both as a matter of statutory law and constitutionally.”
“Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus warned in an interview that aired Sunday that President Trump needs to repeat his success in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2020 to win re-election,” The Hill reports. Said Priebus: “He has to win Wisconsin and Michigan. We have to win Pennsylvania.” He added: “We’re likely to have a battle in Arizona, which is new for the Republican Party. I think we have to be very careful in Georgia.”
“Republicans are planning a multimillion-dollar offensive aimed at fracturing the Democratic Party’s decades-long stranglehold on the Jewish vote,” Politico reports.
“Spearheading the push is the Republican Jewish Coalition, which receives substantial funding from casino mogul and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. On Friday morning, the group’s board members — many of them prominent Republican Party donors — gathered in a conference room at Adelson’s Venetian resort, where they were briefed on plans for a $10 million-plus blitz geared toward attracting Jewish support for President Trump. The investment, people familiar with the early discussions say, will far surpass what the group has spent in past presidential elections.”
“I would stack up my experience against anybody. I know it’s not as traditional. I haven’t been marinating in Washington here for a very long time and I know I’m not part of that establishment … I think you can also see pretty clearly that I’m about as different from this president as it gets.” — Mayor Pete Buttigieg, on Meet the Press.
“I can’t believe that somebody who was caught writing hush money checks to adult film actresses is somebody they should be lifting up as the kind of person they want to be leading this nation.” —Mayor Pete Buttigieg, on Meet the Press, lambasting Trump supporters for their “hypocrisy” on morality.
Associated Press: “Mitch McConnell says the Senate will be in the ‘personnel business’ this year. But the majority leader’s focus on confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees is coming at the expense of any big legislative priorities.”
“Nearly 100 days into the new Congress, the drive to confirm is adding more conservatives to the courts and putting more Trump appointees in government offices. But Trump’s promises to replace the Affordable Care Act, invest in infrastructure or cut middle class taxes have been essentially shelved.”
“The result is that the GOP-controlled Senate is on a very different path heading into the 2020 election than is the House, where the Democratic majority is churning out a long list of bills on ethics, gun violence and other topics that, while unlikely to become law, show voters their priorities.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has raised $5.1 million in the two months since he announced his 2020 plans, the Washington Post reports.
“Booker’s haul, while competitive, puts him behind other Democratic White House aspirants, including former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.”
Washington Post: “Actions by federal regulators and Republicans in Congress over the past two years have paved the way for banks and other financial companies to issue more than $1 trillion in risky corporate loans, sparking fears that Washington and Wall Street are repeating the mistakes made before the financial crisis. The moves undercut policies put in place by banking regulators six years ago that aimed to prevent high-risk lending from once again damaging the economy.”
“Now, regulators and even White House officials are struggling to comprehend the scope and potential dangers of the massive pool of credits, known as leveraged loans, they helped create.”
“The majority of 2020 Democratic hopefuls are sponsoring or considering plans to dismantle the electoral college. Their pledges follow a growing movement for change at the state level and represent frustration over twice losing to Republican candidates in the past 20 years — Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000 — despite winning the popular vote,” Axios reports.
“Eight Democratic 2020 candidates support eliminating the electoral college in favor of the popular vote… Four Democrats are open to the idea, and only 3 want to keep it.”