Donald Trump's White House is investigating ways to place one of the president's favorite hawks on the border with the driver in the home security department, but a senior Republican senator threw cold water on the idea on Wednesday.
Chuck Grassley, an Iowan who is the surviving Republican senator, said he had heard nothing about a & # 39; relaunch & # 39; which the Federal Vacancies Reform Act could bypass, & # 39; but I understand that the existing law does not allow this & # 39; Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, to fulfill the best DHS function.
& # 39; I don't think it's possible because of what the law says, not because of anything else, & # 39; Grassley said Politics, Cucinelli & # 39; s unpopularity among Republicans on Capitol Hill.
As Virginia Attorney General, Cuccinelli was a political bomber who helped several right-wing candidates run primary campaigns against incumbent GOP senators through a PAC called the Senate Conservatives Fund.
& # 39; Now the chickens are coming home to sleep & # 39 ;, a senior Republican assistant at DailyMail.com told Wednesday. & # 39; Toto of & # 39; The Wizard of Oz & # 39; will be confirmed to be performing DHS before Cucinelli. & # 39;
Ken Cuccinelli, who leads US citizenship and immigration services, is not eligible as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, but Trump is considering a technical maneuver to hire Cuccinelli anyway
The Vacancies Act, dating from 1998, got a loophole two years ago when the law governing US defense budgets was again approved. In 2017, Congress gave the DHS secretary the authority to change his order of succession, which was limited to only the three top positions – those whose senate had to confirm residents.
All three of these posts have been vacant since April, when Trump had forced then-secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials whom he considered too weak about immigration.
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan would leave his job at the end of Thursday, but he said at the end of a congress on Wednesday that he will stay until his replacement is named and takes over.
& # 39; I hope there will be a plan for the successor, but if necessary I will definitely ensure a smooth transition & he said.
According to a plan being considered in the West Wing, according to The Wall Street Journal, before McAleenan leaves, he would rewrite the succession line with the assistant secretary who runs the Countering Weapons or Mass Destruction Office, making it the no. 4 job.
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan submitted his resignation last month, but will remain until at least the end of Thursday; according to the plan he should elevate an obscure task to the no. 4 position in the department, make it part of the line of succession and then fire the man holding it
McAleenan was the temporary replacement for Kirstjen Nielsen, who forced Trump out of the DHS secretarial position in April
That function, an obscure that is far below in department depth, is currently occupied by Gary Rasicot, a former Coast Guard deputy commander who takes him on & # 39; acting base & # 39; has.
Throwing Rasicot overboard, which Trump can do for no reason, would allow Cuccinelli to step in – and would qualify him to perform all DHS once McAleenan explained a new pick order.
It would also enable the president to avoid a vicious struggle for confirmation.
Trump's White House staff director has already told him that he cannot name Cucinelli or his other chief, customs and border protection officer Mark Morgan, to lead Homeland Security through more traditional tactics.
Federal regulations regulating the Vacancies Act stipulate that observing officials in those positions must either stand in line for the job or have a position confirmed elsewhere by the Senate. Neither is eligible.
Trump could also appoint Cuccinelli or Morgan if either of them had run a department for at least 90 days before the last DHS secretary confirmed by the Senate – in this case Nielsen – left. But they were both hired after the end of her tenure.
White House Director of Presidential Staff Sean Doocey recently gave Trump a list of other officials to consider for the performance, including senior DHS employee Chad Wolf and head of Transport Security Administration David Pekoske, Politics reported.
McAleenan was the & # 39; acting & # 39; replacement for Nielsen
He was the fourth person to hold the top course. Before becoming Acting Secretary, McAleenan served as a US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, a position confirmed by the Senate.