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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Friday subpoenaed Chad Wolf, citing the DHS acting secretary's refusal to appear at a hearing next week on global threats.

Driving the news: A DHS official said it would be "inappropriate" for Wolf to appear at the Sept. 17 hearing due to his then-pending nomination for secretary of homeland security, per a letter to the panel earlier this week. The agency offered acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli to be present instead.

What they're saying: "Mr. Wolf's refusal to testify —thereby evading congressional oversight at this critical time — is especially troubling given the serious matters facing the Department and the Nation," Thompson said in a statement.

  • "Nineteen years after the attacks of 9/11, we continue to face grave threats to the homeland. From the coronavirus pandemic to the rise of right-wing extremism to ongoing election interference, there are urgent threats requiring our attention," he added.
  • "The Committee has not only the authority, but also an obligation to execute its Constitutional oversight responsibilities regarding Mr. Wolf's decision and the Department's actions in securing the homeland. As Chairman, I intend to ensure the Committee fulfills that responsibility."

The other side: Appearing on Fox News on Friday night, Wolf said he was "disappointed" by the subpoena.

  • "There's been longstanding practice that as you go up for a nomination, that you don't testify on other matters," Wolf said.
  • "We have offered the No. 2 at the Department of Homeland Security to testify in my place. And if not, then I’m happy to testify to the committee once my confirmation goes through one way or the other."

Worth noting: The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are investigating DHS based on a former senior officials' whistleblower complaint who alleges he was instructed to stop giving assessments on threats of Russian interference in the U.S. because it "made the president look bad."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the Department of Homeland Security's response.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Dec 18, 2020 - Technology

Cyberhack looks like act of war

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A Trump administration official tells Axios that the cyberattack on the U.S. government and corporate America, apparently by Russia, is looking worse by the day — and secrets may still be being stolen in ways not yet discovered.

The big picture: "We still don't know the bottom of the well," the official said. Stunningly, the breach goes back to at least March, and continued all through the election. The U.S. government didn't sound the alarm until this Sunday. Damage assessment could take months.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.

U.S. freezes aid to Sudan over military coup

Protesting the coup in Khartoum. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has frozen a $700 million aid package to Sudan after a military coup on Monday threatened to end the country's transition toward democracy.

Driving the news: At least three protesters have been killed and dozens wounded in the chaotic scenes that followed the announcements from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling council, dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.