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Sen. Merkley going after Homeland Security Dir. Kirstjen Nielsen

Sen. Jeff Merkley
D-Oregon

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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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