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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has resigned, President Trump tweeted Sunday.

"Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service. I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for @DHSgov. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!"

Behind the scenes: A source close to DHS told Axios that Nielsen would be having a showdown with the president on Sunday night.

  • "Frustrations were building on both sides," the source said. "She was undercut at every turn. She's done everything she can do. The White House is eating their own."

CBS' Paula Reid reported earlier Sunday that Nielsen was "expected to resign" in her meeting with Trump that night, but Trump's ambiguous wording reflects the predictably messy end to this relationship, which was formalized in a meeting in the White House residence.

  • It may well be that Nielsen was the one who formally resigned — but the formalities don't really matter. Trump has wanted Nielsen gone for months because he believes she's "weak" on immigration, per multiple sources with direct knowledge of the president's thinking.

The big picture: It's been a tortured relationship from the beginning, with Trump blaming Nielsen for every problem at the southern border and for the recent spike in families coming from Northern Triangle countries. Trump has long felt that Nielsen isn't "tough enough" when it comes to defending the border and kicking illegal immigrants out of the U.S., according to sources who've discussed the subject with the president.

During her tenure, Nielsen was put in the position of having to defend the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy that resulted in thousands of migrant children being separated from their families, for which she was often maligned in the media and by Democratic lawmakers.

  • In January, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) formally requested that the FBI investigate whether Nielsen lied under oath when she told Congress in December 2018, "We've never had a policy for family separation."

The latest: Nielsen said in a tweet Sunday night she had agreed to stay on as homeland security secretary until Wednesday "to assist with an orderly transition and ensure that key DHS missions are not impacted."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

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