RSN Fundraising Banner
A Senator Is Asking the FBI to Investigate Whether Kirstjen Nielsen Lied to Congress About Family Separations
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=40052"><span class="small">Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed</span></a>   
Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:34

Flores writes: "A senator on Friday asked the FBI to open a perjury investigation into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for statements she made to Congress about the administration's 'zero tolerance' policy at the border."

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. (photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. (photo: Leah Millis/Reuters)

A Senator Is Asking the FBI to Investigate Whether Kirstjen Nielsen Lied to Congress About Family Separations

By Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed

19 January 19

Sen. Jeff Merkley said a new memo contradicts the DHS secretary’s sworn testimony that there was no policy to separate families at the border.

senator on Friday asked the FBI to open a perjury investigation into Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen for statements she made to Congress about the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border.

Sen. Jeff Merkley submitted a written request to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking an investigation into whether Nielsen “committed perjury during her sworn testimony before the House Committee on the Judiciary on December 20, 2018,” when she said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not have a policy of separating families.

The claim was controversial at the time, with Rep. Luis Gutiérrez calling her a liar.

“Calling me a liar are fighting words,” Nielsen said. “I’m not a liar. We did not have a policy of family separation.”

In his letter, however, Merkley said a previously unreleased government memo shows that high-level DHS officials were developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017.

“This policy, called ‘Separate Family Units,’ was specifically designed to gain media attention and generate a substantial deterrent effect,” Merkley said. “Despite this fact, while testifying under oath before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Secretary Nielsen stated unequivocally ‘I’m not a liar, we’ve never had a policy for family separation.’”

Katie Waldman, a spokesperson for DHS, said the draft memo shows that Nielsen was provided a menu of options to deal with immigration at the border and that the secretary rejected a policy proposal to separate all family units in DHS custody.

Instead, DHS said it followed “the existing decades-long practice” of separating minors from adults when the agency was unable to determine a family relationship, when there is a major risk to the child, or when the parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.

“Under zero tolerance, the number of migrants who were prosecuted for entering the U.S. illegally — single adults as well as those part of a family unit — was increased,” Waldman said. “Under this administration, DHS did not issue a new, changed or blanket policy regarding family separations. This has been explained repeatedly to members of Congress.”

In a different memo that was made public through a Freedom of Information Act request in September, Nielsen signed off on the option to prosecute all adults who crossed the border illegally, including those with children, knowing it would lead to family separations.

On Thursday, NBC published a report on a draft of policy options the news outlet had received from Merkley’s office. One option included separating adults from children. Another option was to increase prosecution of parents caught crossing the border.

“The increase in prosecutions would be reported by the media and it would have substantial deterrent effect,” the draft said.

The document and planning would eventually lead to the zero tolerance policy that resulted in the systematic separation of parents from children at the border. Because the parents were charged with illegal entry or reentry and sent to US Marshals custody to face the charges, thousands of children were separated from the adults they were traveling with.

The family separations, which were stopped by a federal judge, resulted in a massive public outcry and backlash last summer. As of December, the Department of Health and Human Services had identified 2,737 separated children who had to be reunited as part of a federal court order.

On Thursday, a government oversight report found that the administration still had no idea how many families it actually had separated. The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that “thousands” of children may have been separated from their parents since summer 2017, and that the exact number was still “unknown.”

Email This Page your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-20 09:43
This is almost a joke. So many people have lied to congress that the FBI could just start with a list of everyone who has testified before congress ---- except right at the top of every list would be FBI/DOJ/Homelan d Security officers. It is not likely that the FBI will investigate its own people in any way that is honest. A false investigation is also a lie.

If the government practices "selective justice" that is as bad as no justice at all. Congress and the FBI can't pick and choose which liars before congress will be investigated and prosecuted and which will not.

The first principle of the Rule of Law is that laws apply to everyone equally. All liars need to be prosecuted.

The answer to this problem is that the chairman of each committee that calls witnesses much issue within 7 days of the hearing a "contempt of Congress" citation when someone lies. There does not need to be any FBI investigation. The FBI is just too corrupt to do this kind of work. Congress has its own people who can ferret out lies. Congress must make these contempt citations a regular part of congressional testimony.

You lie, you die. (well, not literally. But you may get some punishment).