Merkley Asks FBI to Open Perjury Investigation into Secretary Nielsen
Nielsen stated under oath that “we’ve never had a policy for family separation,” but secret memo released yesterday shows that DHS was actively planning a family separation policy as early as December 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today formally requested that FBI Director Christopher Wray open a perjury investigation into Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, after new documents show that Nielsen lied in sworn testimony to Congress about the administration’s family separation policy.
A previously-undisclosed administration memo, which Merkley released publicly yesterday, shows explicitly that high-level administration officials worked to create a new policy to “separate family units.” Yet in sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Nielsen stated explicitly that the administration did not have a family separation policy.
“The FBI has previously indicated that the Department of Justice requires a formal criminal referral from Congress to initiate an investigation concerning Congressional testimony. I write today to execute such a criminal referral,” Merkley said in a letter to Wray. “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.
“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 continued. “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.”