The House Homeland Security Committee has issued a subpoena demanding testimony from Trump’s acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf. After a long period of Wolf’s service in the “acting” capacity, the White House recently submitted a formal nomination of Wolf for a more permanent role to the Senate. Despite Wolf’s months of service, the Department pointed to a supposed “unwritten rule” of allowing presidential nominees the chance to get confirmed before having to testify outside of confirmation hearings, which they tried to use as an excuse for Wolf’s refusal to testify to Congress. However, Wolf isn’t just a nominee, he’s also the current acting Secretary of Homeland Security!
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has been subpoenaed for a hearing next week after refusing to testify. https://t.co/aCDIxptnRq
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 13, 2020
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), whose committee’s subpoena demands testimony from Wolf this week, said as follows:
‘From the coronavirus pandemic to the rise of right-wing extremism to ongoing election interference, there are urgent threats requiring our attention. Mr. Wolf’s refusal to testify — thereby evading congressional oversight at this critical time — is especially troubling given the serious matters facing the Department and the Nation.’
As mentioned, Assistant DHS Secretary Beth Spivey claimed in a letter to Thompson’s committee that “the right of a President’s nominee to abstain from testifying on matters unrelated to his or her nomination while such a nomination is pending is an unwritten rule honored by Chairmen from both sides of the aisle for many decades.” Wolf isn’t just a nominee! He’s also the person who has been responsible for leading the Department of Homeland Security for months on end, but his department is pointing to an “unwritten rule” as an excuse for a blanket refusal to testify on matters of urgent public importance.
The House Homeland Security Committee has demanded testimony from Wolf after a whistleblower complaint emerged claiming that he (and his top deputy, Ken Cuccinelli) had attempted to get intelligence reports changed to make them more in line with the president’s political agenda. Brian Murphy, who’s a former top official at Wolf’s department who used to be in charge of intelligence and analysis, alleges that Wolf ordered officials to “cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference,” for instance. Besides the Homeland Security Committee’s investigation, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have also both indicated that they are investigating the issue.