Kelly blames Sessions for family separations

Outgoing White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE is blaming former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHouse Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe McCabe's counsel presses US attorney on whether grand jury decided not to indict US attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal MORE for a policy that led to the separations of thousands of migrant families at the southern border. 

“What happened was Jeff Sessions, he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly told the Los Angeles Times.

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“He surprised us.”

The comments from Kelly, who is set to leave the White House by January, came as part of a two-hour interview with the newspaper diving into his tenure in the Trump administration.
 
A senior White House official also told the newspaper that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network DOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign MORE was forced to take the brunt of the criticism for the policy. 

“She is a good soldier; she took the face shot,” the unidentified official said.

“No one asked her to do it, but by the time we could put together a better strategy, she’d already owned it,” the official added.

Government Accountability Office report earlier this year found that the Department of Health and Human Services and DHS were caught off-guard by Sessions's memo on the zero tolerance policy. 

The report concluded that the policy was flawed and that DHS was not “fully prepared” for the policy's rollout.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE and his administration faced bipartisan outrage earlier this year over the policy, which resulted in the separations of families who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump in the summer signed an executive order that halted the practice.  

Sessions resigned as attorney general shortly after the midterm elections in November.