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Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Sept. 23. Photo: Greg Nash/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf will step down from his position, Fox News first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Word of Wolf's departure comes a week before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and the massive security concerns following the Capitol siege.

  • Wolf's announcement comes after last week's departure of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, among numerous administration resignations following the Capitol riot.
  • Wolf was one of President Trump's Cabinet members who called on him to condemn the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol.
  • The White House withdrew Wolf's nomination as permanent Homeland Security chief last week.

What he's saying: "Effective at 11:59 p.m. today, I am stepping down as your Acting Secretary. I am saddened to take this step, as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration," he said in a letter to colleagues.

  • "Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary," he said, apparently referring to several court rulings that said he was illegally appointed to his post.
  • "I leave knowing that the Department has positioned itself for an orderly and smooth transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team," Wolf said. "Welcome them, educate them, and learn from them. They are your leaders for the next four years — a time which undoubtedly will be full of challenges and opportunities to show the American public the value of DHS and why it is worth the investment."

The big picture: Wolf, who has been consistently supportive of Trump, led the department through a tumultuous period as the president focused on the agency's role in immigration enforcement and policymaking.

  • The agency also faced widespread criticism from Democrats over federal crackdowns in Portland and other cities during Black Lives Matter protests.

What's next: Wolf said that FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor would take over his position as acting DHS secretary.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information throughout.

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Go deeper

Updated Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet tracker: Which nominees have been confirmed

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All of President Biden's Cabinet nominees have now been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: Biden now has known, trusted people around him, many from the Obama administration, to help implement his policies and turn away from the tumultuous Trump years.

DOJ leak probe sought Apple data on 73 phone numbers

Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

The Justice Department requested metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses in a subpoena to Apple as part of a February 2018 investigation into lawmakers, staffers and their families, CNN reported Friday.

Why it matters: The DOJ's inspector general said earlier Friday that his office will investigate the department's handling of a leak investigation into former President Trump's political opponents, which included the subpoena to Apple.

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Putin calls Biden and Trump "radically different"

Ahead of an upcoming meeting with Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC News on Friday that the current president is "radically different" than his predecessor.

Why it matters: Trump faced accusations of cozying up to Putin while in office while Biden has pledged to take a hard-line approach against the Kremlin.