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Schumer calls for Wolf, Cuccinelli to step down after watchdog says their appointments violate law

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfLawmakers slam DHS watchdog following report calling for 'multi-year transformation' Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave MORE and acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli to step down after a government watchdog found that their appointments violated federal law. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE’s efforts to install political sycophants to implement his extreme policies in an end run around the law and Senate have finally caught up with him," Schumer said in a statement. 

“The determination by an independent congressional watchdog today invalidates actions Mr. Cuccinelli and Mr. Wolf have taken and both should immediately step down from their illegal roles," he added. 

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Schumer is also asking for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general to "launch a top to bottom legal review" of decisions made by the two men, report its findings to Congress and also release them publicly. 

Wolf and Cuccinelli have come under criticism over immigration policy and recent crackdowns on protests.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a report released earlier Friday, found that they are technically ineligible to serve based on their improper appointment. The office did not review the legality of the two men’s orders while serving in their positions improperly, but said they were referring the matter to the DHS inspector general.

Former DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenLeft-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' House Republican condemns anti-Trump celebrities during impeachment hearing MORE resigned in April 2019 and was replaced by Kevin McAleenan, who had previously been leading U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But the GAO found that McAleenan had not been designated in the order of succession to replace Nielsen and therefore could not legally alter the order of succession at DHS.

"Accordingly, Messrs. Wolf and Cuccinelli were named to their respective positions of Acting Secretary and Senior Official Performing the Duties of Deputy Secretary by reference to an invalid order of succession," the GAO found.