‘Nielsen Lied’: Democratic Senator asks FBI to investigate DHS secretary for lying to Congress
Kirstjen Nielsen speaks to reporters (CNN/screen grab)

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."

Merkley then goes one step further, telling a PBS producer "Nielsen lied."

Not only did Secretary Nielsen tell Congress, under oath, there was no family separation policy, she told the world the same via Twitter:

Here's Sen. Merkley explaining the DHS documents on MSNBC's "All In" Thursday night. He concludes that Sec. Nielsen lied.

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.