More Top Homeland Security Officials Set to Leave in Trump Purge

WASHINGTON — President Trump moved to sweep out the top ranks of the Department of Homeland Security on Monday, a day after pushing out its secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, accelerating a purge of the nation’s immigration and security leadership.

Government officials said three more top department leaders were expected to leave soon: L. Francis Cissna, the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Randolph D. Alles, the Secret Service director; and John Mitnik, the agency’s general counsel.

The White House confirmed the departure of Mr. Alles in a statement but made no immediate comment on the other pending moves. The White House statement said that the president has selected James M. Murray, a career Secret Service official, to take over as director in May.

Mr. Alles “has done a great job at the agency over the last two years and the president is thankful for his over 40 years of service to the country,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in the statement.

Ms. Nielsen confirmed her resignation on Sunday and Ron D. Vitiello, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Services, was told on Friday to step aside.

All were viewed as allies of John F. Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff and his first Homeland Security secretary, who left late last year after months of tension with Mr. Trump.

The departures appeared to be part of a housecleaning of officials involved in the Trump administration’s immigration agenda as the president demands a harder line on border security. Mr. Trump on Friday said Mr. Vitiello would be replaced with someone who would move ICE in a “tougher” direction. All of the departing officials were appointed by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Alles received instructions 10 days ago to come up with an exit plan and was expected to leave on his own timeline, according to officials familiar with the internal discussions.

Mr. Trump sought Mr. Alles’s resignation, in part because of the recent arrest of a Chinese woman who was carrying a malware-laced device on the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort property in Florida, exposing holes in the security of the private club. The Secret Service provides protection for the president and the president’s family, which is why most past presidents have restrained from criticizing the agency.

Source: NYT

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