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WaPo: Democrats want DHS nominee to return to Senate panel for more questioning

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Call comes after Chief of Staff John Kelly exposed for attempts to strong arm Acting DHS Secretary and politicize decision whether to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) raises doubts about independence of Kelly’s protege and DHS nominee Kirstjen Nielsen

In the wake of news that White House chief of staff pressured Acting Secretary Elaine Duke to revoke Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from tens of thousands of Hondurans, the Washington Post followed up this morning with a piece highlighting Democrats’ newly heightened concerns about the DHS Secretary nominee, Kirstjen Nielsen, who is known for her ‘unwavering loyalty’ to John Kelly.

The article is excerpted below, and found in its entirety here:

But Democrats who signed the letter say they now have more doubts, after The Post described White House attempts to pressure the acting homeland security secretary, Elaine Duke, to expel tens of thousands of Honduran immigrants, as well as Duke’s plans to resign.

“These developments raise important new questions not only about the political interference of the White House in a key national security matter, but also about the qualifications and appropriateness of Ms. Nielsen’s nomination to be the next Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” the senators wrote in their letter, which was addressed to the committee’s chairman, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), and its ranking Democrat, Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo).

On Monday, as the Department of Homeland Security prepared to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Honduran immigrants living in the United States, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called Acting Secretary Elaine Duke to pressure her to expel them, according to current and former administration officials.

Duke refused to reverse her decision and was angered by what she felt was a politically driven intrusion by Kelly and Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, who also called her about the matter, according to officials with knowledge of Monday’s events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

By extending the residency permits of the Hondurans, Kelly told her that the TPS decision “keeps getting kicked down the road” and that the additional delay “prevents our wider strategic goal” on immigration, the White House official said.