McCaul and Trump: Mismatch on Border Wall, Travel Ban, Russia Probe

WASHINGTON -Austin Rep. Michael McCaul served as a top homeland security adviser to Donald Trump during the campaign. They share a worldview that's tough on terrorism and skeptical of Iran.But in other areas, McCaul would be an imperfect fit as Trump seeks a new homeland security chief.The president is far more eager to build a border wall, round up and deport immigrants in the country illegally, block entry to Muslims, and shrug off Russian misdeeds. McCaul, the House homeland security chairman, has distanced himself from Trump in such controversial areas -- and he's contradicted Trump in public on a number of occasions.Recently, he even called Trump's behavior "paranoid."That willingness to buck the president may have cost him the cabinet post in January. It may be a factor again as Trump replaces his first homeland security chief, John Kelly, the former Marine general who took over as White House chief of staff in a major shakeup.On paper, McCaul should be high on the list. He's a former federal prosecutor, one of the wealthiest members of Congress and a leading GOP voice on homeland security. Trump has looked at Energy Secretary Rick Perry, among others, though the former governor reportedly prefers to stay where he is.No major personnel moves are expected during the president's 17-day "working vacation" at his golf club in New Jersey. Through aides, McCaul declined several interview requests over the last week.Foreign policyIt's not all clash and contradiction.Foreign policy is an especially strong area of overlap, and McCaul has gone out of his way lately to emphasize his support for Trump.He penned a laudatory op-ed recently for the Fox News website, calling the president "strong and decisive" in dealing with adversaries overseas."When President Trump became commander in chief, he decided to take a new approach and unleashed the generals to crush the enemy. From dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb in our arsenal to hit ISIS tunnels in Afghanistan to the American-backed liberation of Mosul in Iraq, President Trump is making good on his word to go on offense in the war on terror and destroy ISIS," McCaul wrote.Mueller investigationIn other areas, McCaul has provided no political cover to Trump. Take the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.Trump has repeatedly denounced that as a "witch hunt." After weeks of speculation, he ruled out firing the former FBI director on Thursday but by then, McCaul had joined a growing chorus of lawmakers who warned Trump against trying to derail the investigation.  Continue reading...

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