National Security

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

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is calling for acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli to step down after a government watchdog found that their appointments violated federal law. 

“President Trump’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. 

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 Nielsen 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.

Tags Chad Wolf Charles Schumer Department of Homeland Security Donald Trump Government Accountability Office Kirstjen Nielsen

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