Democratic senator asks FBI to investigate DHS secretary

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen turns to Vice President Mike Pence as from left, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Calif., House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., listen after meeting with President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders on border security in the Situation Room, Wednesday Jan. 9, 2019, at the White House in Washington, as the government shutdown continues. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Democratic senator is asking the FBI to investigate whether Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen lied during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a letter to the FBI that a December 2017 memo shows DHS officials outlined a policy to separate families.

In April 2018, the Trump administration instituted the “zero-tolerance” policy where anyone caught crossing the border illegally was criminally prosecuted. It resulted in the separation of nearly 2,800 children.

Nielsen said at the hearing last December there wasn’t a policy to separate families. She said the separations under zero tolerance happened because children can’t be jailed with parents.

Homeland Security officials said the secretary rejected the 2017 memo’s suggestion and reiterated there was no policy to separate families. The FBI had no comment.

Merkley, of Oregon, is considering a presidential run.