A Democratic Senator says he’s calling on the FBI to investigate if the Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security lied to Congress. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) made news Thursday night when he revealed DHS documents showing the timeline and memos of the Trump administration’s policy to separate migrant children from families at the Southern border.
“Compelling new evidence has emerged revealing that high-level Department of Homeland Security officials were secretly and actively developing a new policy and legal framework for separating families as far back as December 2017,” Senator Merkley says in a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray.
“This policy, called ‘Separate Family Units,’ was specifically designed to gain media attention and generate a ‘substantial deterrent effect.’ 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,'” Merkley adds.
“In light of these conflicting facts, the FBI should immediately investigate whether Secretary Nielsen’s statements violate 18 U.S. Code § 1621, 18 U.S.C § 1001, or any other relevant federal statutes that prohibit perjury and false statements to Congress.”
I’m formally requesting that the @FBI investigate whether @SecNielsen committed perjury during her testimony under oath before @HouseJudiciary. The memo I released yesterday flat-out contradicts her statement that there was no child separation policy. https://t.co/Bj6FDsACv6 pic.twitter.com/KJBxp5A06O# p #5_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) January 18, 2019# p #6_20 # ad skipped = true #
Merkley then goes one step further, telling a PBS producer “Nielsen lied.”
NEW: Sen. Jeff Merkley has formally requested FBI Director Wray open a perjury investigation into Sec. of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. @SenJeffMerkley says “new documents show Nielsen lied in sworn testimony to Congress about the administration’s family separation policy.”# p #9_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Courtney Norris (@courtneyknorris) January 18, 2019# p #10_20 # ad skipped = true #
Not only did Secretary Nielsen tell Congress, under oath, there was no family separation policy, she told the world the same via Twitter:
This misreporting by Members, press & advocacy groups must stop. It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry.# p #13_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) June 17, 2018# p #14_20 # ad skipped = true #
Here’s Sen. Merkley explaining the DHS documents on MSNBC’s “All In” Thursday night. He concludes that Sec. Nielsen lied.
.@SecNielsen and the administration lied. Period. We have proof that the Trump War on Migrant Children was carefully constructed to inflict harm on children and create a humanitarian crisis. pic.twitter.com/i9dRgsWNoV# p #17_20 # ad skipped = true #
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) January 18, 2019# p #18_20 # ad skipped = true #
News broke earlier this week that the Trump administration’s family separation policy started far earlier than previously known, in 2017, and was tested before being announced in 2018. Thousands of migrant children reportedly were separated and DHS did not track them. It is unknown specifically how many there are and where they are.