1 big thing: Exclusive — Leaked emails show Trump nominee called administration "heartless"
President Trump's pick to run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is going to be working with the same president and the same top official who fired him as head of the Border Patrol in 2017. And leaked internal emails obtained by Axios' Alayna Treene reveal just how angry Mark Morgan was at the Trump administration when he was fired.
- "The fact they are pushing for me to leave immediately is heartless and void of any decency and compassion," Morgan wrote to Kevin McAleenan, the former acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection who is now Trump's acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Why it matters: The emails — dated Jan. 24 and 25, 2017 — show the depth of Morgan's anger and disappointment with the Trump administration for forcing him out of the role. But they also show how extraordinary it is that Morgan has gotten back into Trump's good graces.
The trick: Morgan has gone on the president's favorite channel, Fox News, to talk up Trump's hardline immigration policies and endorse his proposed border wall.
- "I am being removed in the name of politics — and politics at its worst. … I will not have them believe I willingly left under these circumstances," Morgan wrote in one of the emails to McAleenan.
- In a separate email, he wrote: "This is wrong on many levels."
The reason for Morgan's removal isn't clear from the emails, and no official reason was given at the time of his resignation. But the National Border Patrol Council — a union representing 16,500 border patrol agents that endorsed Trump in 2016 — opposed him at the time because of what they described as his lack of experience.
- A source familiar said Morgan's firing was Trump's doing, because the union's president, Brandon Judd, privately told Trump to get rid of him.
- Oddly, Judd seems to have reversed himself and is now praising Morgan's experience — at least publicly. (Judd did not respond to requests for comment.)
Context: Morgan, a career FBI official, was selected to run the U.S. Border Patrol in the final months of the Obama administration. He was the first chief in the 93-year history of the agency who had never worked as a border patrol agent, per the New York Times.
- His appointment drew backlash from the Border Patrol union, which argued that an insider should have been given the position.
Responding to the leak, Morgan told Axios: "Serving the men and women at Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a privilege. ... I look forward to rejoining the DHS workforce and working hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners and the interagency community to enforce our nation's immigration laws and end the humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border."
- The White House and the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment.
Go deeper: Read the full story on Axios.