The forced resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is being widely described as the beginning of President Trump's purge of Homeland Security Department leadership. Trump can't legally replace Nielsen with his handpicked interim successor, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, as long as the last of the DHS's top leadership, Claire Grady, remains in the line of succession, so White House officials are pushing Grady to resign before Nielsen officially steps down on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Trump's also rumored to be on the verge of dismissing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services head Lee Francis Cissna, USCIS policy chief Kathy Nuebel Kovarik, and DHS general counsel John Mitnick. In a memo about his own ouster Monday, Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles told his staff Trump warned him weeks ago that "transitions in leadership should be expected across the Department of Homeland Security," the Journal reports. Trump also "recently told Stephen Miller, one of his most hard-line advisers: 'You're in charge' of the administration's immigration policy," the Journal adds, citing an administration official.
"Trump's congressional allies are alarmed by his purge at the Department of Homeland Security — urging him not to fire more top officials," Politico reports. No Republican is being more vocal than Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). In an unusual move, Grassley told The Washington Post late Monday he's "very, very concerned" about Cissna's fate, particularly.
The people targeted by Trump "are the intellectual basis for what the president wants to accomplish in immigration," Grassley told the Post. "He's pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal." Grassley also took a jab at Miller, saying "I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he's accomplished anything for the president." Asked to elaborate, Grassley chuckled: "It's pretty hard to elaborate on it when there hasn't been any accomplishments."