President Trump ordered acting the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan to close the border and would pardon if any legal issues come about.
President Trump last week urged Kevin McAleenan, who he was about to name as acting secretary of homeland security, to close the southwestern border despite having just said that he was delaying a decision on the step for a year, according to three people briefed about the conversation.
It was not clear what Mr. Trump meant by his request or his additional comment to Mr. McAleenan that he would pardon him if he encountered any legal problems as a result of taking the action. Federal judges have already blocked the administration’s attempts to limit asylum seekers who illegally enter the country, and it is not likely Mr. McAleenan would have ended up in jail if he had followed the president’s directive.
One of the people briefed on the conversation said it was unclear whether Mr. Trump had intended the comments to Mr. McAleenan as a joke. But the conversation, which took place during the president’s visit to the border town of Calexico, Calif., alarmed officials at the Department of Homeland Security who were told of it, according to the people familiar with the comments.