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Inexperienced Lawyer - and Miller Ally - to Oversee 2,500 DHS Attorneys

February 12, 2020 (1 min read)

Geneva Sands, CNN, Feb. 12, 2020

"Chad Mizelle, a Trump administration official who is viewed as an ally of senior White House policy adviser and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller, has been tapped to be the Department of Homeland Security's top attorney.

The appointment, announced in an internal message obtained by CNN, comes after a year of turmoil in the top ranks of the department and amid major ongoing legal battles, including over the ban on trusted traveler programs for New York residents and a fight over asylum agreements to send migrants to Central America.

Mizelle, who was the acting chief of staff at the department, previously served at the Justice Department as counsel to the deputy attorney general and he completed a stint at the White House. He was appointed as acting general counsel by President Donald Trump, according to the department.

... Mizelle has less than 10 years' experience as an attorney and will now run the DHS Office of the General Counsel, which oversees 2,500 attorneys and is ultimately responsible for all of the department's legal determinations.

Mizelle, a 2013 graduate of Cornell Law School, was an associate with a law firm where he represented New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in challenging his "Deflategate" suspension, according to a resume obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by American Oversight, a non-partisan ethics watchdog that investigates what it says is misconduct in the Trump administration.

Mizelle also served as a law clerk at the DC circuit court and was an attorney volunteer for the Trump campaign in 2016, according to his resume.

"Mr. Mizelle's resume reflects a smart, capable attorney, but never in my wildest dreams would I have looked at it and seen the future general counsel of DHS in 2020," said American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers, who pointed out that the department has a sprawling mission, from port security to immigration."