Trump expected to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary

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Trump to tap Kelly deputy and cybersecurity expert Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary

Five sources told Politico that President Donald Trump is expected to nominate Nielsen, now the White House's Principal Deputy Chief of Staff, as soon as Wednesday.

Nielsen was Kelly's chief of staff while he was Homeland Security secretary.

Nielsen was Kelly's top aide during his stint as DHS secretary and followed him to the West Wing as his deputy chief of staff when he was appointed in July.

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Nielsen's work on former President George W. Bush's botched hurricane relief efforts could come under scrutiny from Democrats.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement he was pleased the president had made a decision on filling the post "after letting the critical national security position remain vacant as the nation faced multiple major hurricanes and a domestic terrorism attack". She also ran the Transportation Security Administration's offices of legislative policy and government affairs, a section she started.

Nielsen holds degrees from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the University of Virginia Law School.

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The trust Kelly has in Nielsen will be crucial as, if confirmed, she'll have plenty on her plate.

Her "rigid style" under Trump's chief of staff and her emphasis on professionalism had some White House staffers calling her "Nurse Ratched", Politico reported last month.

One former Homeland Security official, who asked for anonymity so that the person could speak candidly, says the pick is a controversial one, and that people at the department are already speaking about leaving if the nomination moves forward.

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