Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) sparred with Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over the president’s racist remarks — and the administration official’s apparent support for those views.
Nielson said earlier Tuesday during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the president was simply repeating an observation about hard-working Norwegian immigrants, but Harris said Trump was unfavorably comparing them to African and Haitian immigrants.
“You spoke of them, according to the president, as the people of Norway — well, you know, they work very hard — the inference being the people of the 54 states of Africa and Haiti do not,” Harris said. “That is a fair inference.”
She then blasted Nielson’s claim under oath that she was not aware that Norway was a majority white nation.
“You run the Department of Homeland Security,” Harris continued, “and when you say you don’t know if Norway is predominantly white when asked by a member of the United States Senate, that causes me concern about your ability to understand the scope of your responsibilities and the impact of your words — much less the policies that you promulgate in that very important department.”
Harris asked Nielson why she ignored domestic terrorist attacks by white supremacists in her opening remarks about security threats faced by the U.S. — and she said the omission was deeply troubling.
“You must understand the inference, the reasonable inference, that the American public is drawing from the words you speak much less the words of the president of the United States,” Harris said.
Nielson later complained that Harris had unfairly drawn conclusions based on her testimony.
“If you don’t mind, it’s not a fair inference to say that my comments about Norway were in contrast to any other country,” Nielson said. “What I was describing was the president’s views upon meeting with the prime minister, and what I was quoting was what he was told in meeting with the Norwegian delegation. That’s what he repeated, words that he repeated that I repeated. It was not in contrast. With respect to white supremacy, we expanded our prevention efforts in the Department of Homeland Security to ensure we in fact are going after violence of any kind, any kind is not not appropriate and I will not allow it to occur if it’s within our authority to stop.”
Harris made one brief response before ceding the floor.
“Mr. Chairman, I would just ask that the record — so we can all review it — will reflect in the opening statements when discussing challenges to our homeland in terms of security, the white supremacist threat was not mentioned,” Harris said.
Trump’s Pentagon chief vows to cooperate with impeachment probe in apparent break with the president
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday the Pentagon would cooperate with the congressional impeachment inquiry -- in an apparent break with President Donald Trump's policy to thwart the probe.
Esper said his department would try to comply with a subpoena from House Democrats seeking records relating to the withholding of US military aid to Ukraine.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS's "Face The Nation."
His reassurance came days after the White House announced it would not cooperate with the Democratic-led House of Representatives, calling its impeachment push illegitimate and unconstitutional.
GOP lawmaker sits in painful silence for four seconds after CNN’s Camerota schools him on impeachment
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) sat in painful silence for a full four seconds after CNN's Alisyn Camerota schooled him on the nature of impeachment inquiries.
During an interview on Monday, Camerota asked Davis if he thought it was appropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to help him investigate his domestic political opponents.
Davis said it was not, but then pivoted to saying that House Democrats didn't have enough evidence at the moment to justify holding an impeachment inquiry based on their knowledge of just the phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Kurds announce groundbreaking deal with Damascus as Turkey pushes deep into Syria
Syria's Kurds have announced a groundbreaking deal with Damascus on a Syrian troop deployment near the border with Turkey, as Ankara presses a deadly cross-border offensive that has sparked an international outcry.
The announcement on Sunday came as the United States ordered the withdrawal of almost its entire ground force in Syria.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move to withdraw 1,000 US troops came after Washington learned that Turkey was pressing further into Syria than expected.
Turkey's relentless assault, which has seen air strikes, shelling and a ground incursion manned mainly by Syrian proxy fighters, has killed scores of civilians and fighters since its launch on Wednesday.