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Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf Will Resign from Post He Never Lawfully Held


Acting Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, seen here at his would-be confirmation hearing, will step down early from the post he never lawfully held.

Never-quite Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced plans on Monday to step down early from the post he never lawfully held, after being out of town for one of the deadliest security breaches in U.S. history.

“In light of events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray, I have instructed the U.S. Secret Service to begin the National Special Security Event operations for the 2021 Inauguration effective Wednesday, January 13th instead of January 19th,” Wolf wrote in a statement. “Our federal, state, and local partners will continue to coordinate their plans and position resources for this important event.”

The third Trump cabinet official to resign in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, Wolf was overseas for meetings in the Middle East when the Capitol Police were reportedly pleading for reinforcements to fend off a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s decisive victory in the 2020 election. After the departing Homeland Security secretary criticized the riot and the incitement that led to it, Trump declined to legitimize Wolf’s reign by nominating him.

The Government Accountability Office and a federal judge both found that Wolf’s more than yearlong term in his office was not legitimate, having been installed as an acting secretary when Trump had no more authority to make such appointments.

“DHS failed to follow the order of succession as it was lawfully designated. Therefore, the actions taken by purported Acting Secretaries, who were not properly in their roles according to the lawful order of succession, were taken without legal authority,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote last November, in a ruling leading to the invalidation of Wolf’s order effectively rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “Accordingly, Mr. Wolf did not possess statutory authority when he assumed the role of Acting Secretary in November 2019.”

The Department was forced to welcome Dreamers in the wake of the ruling.

This is a developing story…

[Image via Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images]

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."