The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf with President Donald Trump

Photo by The White House

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The Trump administration's top officials at the Department of Homeland Security—Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli—were illegally appointed to their positions, the Government Accountability Office said Friday.

The decision from the internal government watchdog states that the appointments were not in compliance with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act or Homeland Security Act.


From the GAO decision:

Upon Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation on April 10, 2019, the official who assumed the title of Acting Secretary had not been designated in the order of succession to serve upon the Secretary's resignation. Because the incorrect official assumed the title of Acting Secretary at that time, subsequent amendments to the order of succession made by that official were invalid and officials who assumed their positions under such amendments, including Chad Wolf and Kenneth Cuccinelli, were named by reference to an invalid order of succession. We have not reviewed the legality of other actions taken by these officials; we are referring the matter to the Inspector General of DHS for review.

The Democratic lawmakers who demanded the review of the appointments seized upon the GAO determination as evidence that both Wolf and Cuccinelli should step down.

The decision "paints a disturbing picture of the Trump administration playing fast and loose by bypassing the Senate confirmation process to install ideologues," Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

"At a time when DHS should be marshaling the resources of the federal government to respond to the pandemic that has killed over 165,000 Americans, the department's illegally appointed leaders are instead focused on continuing the administration's attack on immigrants and intimidating peaceful protesters in a show of force for the president's reelection campaign," the lawmakers said.

Advocacy groups weighed in on the development as well, with immigrant rights groups calling it "BIG news as it'll effect a variety of pending lawsuits raising similar challenges."

According to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the GAO decision "raises serious legal questions."

"There must be accountability," the group said.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is under mounting criticism for refusing to support a Democratic bill that would make access to abortion the law of the land, as the U.S. Supreme Court, experts believe, prepares to reverse its historic 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Senator Collins, who repeatedly claims to be pro-choice, is being criticized after years of supporting then-President Donald Trump's judicial nominees at every level of the federal judiciary, including two of his three Supreme Court picks.

Keep reading... Show less

French President Emanuel Macron, left, and US President Joe Biden

Reprinted with permission from Creators

About France and its submarines: Australia's decision to cancel a $60 billion contract to buy them and purchase American nuclear subs instead had to hurt. In response, France's foreign minister called the U.S.-backed move a "stab in the back," and President Emmanuel Macron recalled his ambassadors from both Washington and Canberra.

The backstory should take precedence over the drama flowing from the rift between America and its oldest ally. It centers on a growing alarm at Chinese aggression in the Pacific and how seriously the U.S. and its Pacific allies are taking it.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}