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 SessionsJeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general House Democrats leave empty chair for McGahn at hearing MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump 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 NielsenCongressional Hispanic Caucus demands answers on death of migrant children Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post Kobach gave list of demands to White House for 'immigration czar' job: report 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 TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 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.