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Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post

Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post
© Stefani Reynolds

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE is expected to hire former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for a new top job on immigration, a White House official confirmed on Tuesday.

The exact role is still being worked out, including its specific duties, but Cuccinelli is expected to be based at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the official said. No start date has been made public but the appointment could be announced as soon as this week.

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Cuccinelli, who served as Virginia’s top law enforcement official from 2010 to 2014, shares similar views on immigration with Trump, who has been clamoring for his administration to get more aggressive in addressing what he calls a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

White House adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerPresident says Trump Jr. doing 'very well' after COVID-19 diagnosis Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for COVID-19 Giuliani's son, a White House staffer, tests positive for coronavirus MORE, a vocal immigration hard-liner who helped trigger a personnel shake-up at DHS, is believed to support the choice, according to The New York Times, which first reported the move. Miller did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump has long been considering naming an immigration “czar” to coordinate his policies across federal agencies, but the official said Cuccinelli will not be filling that role.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, another hard-liner who was a contender for the job, reportedly turned off White House officials when he submitted a list of 10 demands in order to be considered for the post, including the use of a private jet to travel to the border and visit his family in Kansas as well as a promise to be nominated as permanent Homeland Security secretary.

Over the past few years, Cuccinelli has praised Trump on cable television but during the 2016 election he led an effort to strip Trump of delegates at the Republican National Convention on behalf of Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump's NATO ambassador pledges 'seamless' transition to Biden administration Potential 2024 Republicans flock to Georgia amid Senate runoffs MORE (R-Texas).

Cuccinelli has also angered Senate Republican leaders for his leadership of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which has backed Tea Party challengers to sitting senators. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.), who was targeted by the group in 2014, urged Trump not to pick Cuccinelli as DHS chief.

The job instead went to Kevin McAleenan, a career law enforcement official who replaced Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenBiden picks first Latino to lead Homeland Security Judge says acting DHS secretary appointment unlawful, invalidates DACA suspension Biden's hard stand on foreign election interference signals funding fight MORE last month on an acting basis.

Cuccinelli’s job at DHS is not expected to require Senate confirmation.

Trump during the past week has sent mixed signals on the issue of immigration. Last week, he announced a new visa plan authored by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerKushner going to Saudi Arabia, Qatar in last-ditch diplomatic push The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday MORE that was seen as an effort to soften his image on the contentious issue.

—Updated at 4:08 p.m.