A word of caution! All of these reports being leaked out about conversations between the White House and the State Department must be viewed with a skeptical eye.
That said, this story sounds plausible because we know that Stephen Miller, a longtime Trump aide and expert on immigration and refugees, is a key White House strategist on the subject.
We also have gotten previous suggestions that Tillerson aide Brian Hook (a Bushie) is soft on the refugee program, see here. Could Hook be the source for the discord story?
Now that the Supreme Court has added a new wrinkle by doing away with the whole concept of a Presidentially-designated CEILING that is a cornerstone of the Refugee Act of 1980, we can imagine that disagreements are surfacing between the White House immigration hardliners and the DOS which is largely being run by career bureaucrats who loved Obama and Hillary.
I suspect it is the ‘careers’ who put together the bragging graphic, here. Ten Pittsburghs is going to sell the USRAP? Did the Secretary’s office ever eyeball it before it was posted?
Here is what Politico is reporting:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued with senior White House aide Stephen Miller over immigration issues last week in a second recent clash with the White House.
Miller pushed Tillerson and the State Department to be tougher on immigration and make changes to the programs they control, according to four people familiar with the conversation in the West Wing. John Kelly, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, was also present.
It is pretty outrageous to attribute the news of discord to “four people familiar with the conversation.” One person might have leaked it back to the DOS and three career bureaucrats are then “familiar with the conversation” and presto! Politico has a story with four sources!
Miller has been holding meetings to address how to further curb the entry of refugees into the United States, per two administration officials, and has closely worked with senators on legislative proposals to sharply cut other forms of legal immigration. [ I sure hope to learn that reform of the US Refugee Admissions Program is on the Administration’s list of legislative proposals! If it isn’t than we will never see any real reform!–ed]
This week, CNN reported that the White House has proposed moving the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to the Department of Homeland Security, along with its bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. [See my post here.—ed]
Those are among the State Department’s biggest functions and are among the government’s largest immigration arms. They control refugee vetting and releasing passports, among other issues.
Tillerson has grown increasingly frustrated at the White House and chafed at taking direction from younger Trump aides and not being able to implement State Department policies and offices like he would like, people familiar with his thinking say. [Who the heck are “people familiar with his thinking?” Dawsey could be making up this whole story!—ed]
Tillerson has grown especially agitated that less experienced figures like Miller – who previously worked on the Hill for attorney general and former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions – have been giving him commands.
The former ExxonMobil CEO was promised autonomy by Trump and is fond of reminding others of that.
Politico reporter Dawsey has a lot of nerve reporting that Miller is somehow less experienced than Tillerson about immigration and immigration law!
Endnote: I think it’s time for all of us in the blogosphere to start highlighting especially young reporters (Dawsey is only 5 years out of Journalism school!) who act like kingmakers (or destroyers) and report stories based on ‘sources familiar with someone’s thinking!’