Acting DHS secretary threatened to quit after clashing with Miller: report

White House senior adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerFox's Chris Wallace calls out Trump for the 'most sustained assault on freedom of the press' in US history Senate Democrats demand Trump fire Stephen Miller Marianne Williamson roasted for claim Trump pardoned Charles Manson MORE’s attempt to engineer a second shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was blocked this week by acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, who later threatened to resign unless he was given more control over the agency.

Administration officials told The Washington Post that the closed-door clash revolved around Mark Morgan, a former FBI agent who is President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE’s pick to be the new director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

ADVERTISEMENT

Miller Wednesday reportedly urged the president to put Morgan atop U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) instead.

McAleenan told acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by AdvaMed — House panel delays impeachment vote until Friday Senate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' MORE and others the next day that he was in charge of the department and would make or should at least be involved in DHS personnel decisions.

The DHS acting secretary prevailed and ensured Morgan will take his role atop ICE as planned. Matthew Albence, the current acting director whom Miller wanted to lead ICE, will return to his job as deputy director.

“This was a power struggle between McAleenan and Miller, and McAleenan won,” one senior official with knowledge of the situation told the Post.

The White House told the Post that McAleenan and Miller have since resolved some of their differences.

The White House and DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.

An escalating immigration crisis has put increased pressure on Trump to make good on his campaign promise to tackle ongoing issues at the border and ramp up scrutiny of DHS efforts to curtail the flow of migrants in the U.S. 

Miller engineered a shake-up at DHS last month that led to the ouster of Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTrump puts Kushner in charge of overseeing border wall construction: report Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Minority lawmakers call out Google for hiring former Trump DHS official MORE and the previous acting ICE director, Ronald Vitiello, among others. Miller, a well-known immigration hawk, reportedly urged Trump to form a team that will more aggressively execute his policies at the border.

Nielsen and Vitiello before the shake-up had reportedly challenged a plan by Miller to carry out mass arrests of women and children eligible for deportation in 10 cities.

Officials told the Post that Miller told colleagues he would support McAleenan following his nomination.