President Donald Trump is expected to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen to be Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Thursday, two senior sources with direct knowledge of the nomination told ABC News. Nielsen previously worked at a cyber think tank at George Washington University, blocks from the White House, and is considered well-versed in some of the more technical missions at the department, such as sharing cyber threat information with the private sector.
Kelly served as secretary of Homeland Security for just over six months prior to the resignation of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus in late July.
Putting Nielsen into the Homeland Security post will allow Trump and Kelly to keep a close eye on the department, but getting her out of the White House could permit some relaxing of Kelly's strictness.
Mr. Kelly, who has relied on Ms. Nielsen's counsel and expertise since he was preparing for his January confirmation hearing to be Homeland Security secretary, had pushed hard for her selection.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with Kirstjen Nielsen, then chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, on August 22. The White House had no immediate comment.
It's reported that Nielsen's appointment came after Kelly gave her a shining recommendation. Duke recently got into some controversy when she said that the hurricane response effort in Puerto Rico was a "good news story". Increased border security and a possible overhaul of the immigration system remain top campaign promises Trump has yet to fulfill, including his trademark wall on the border with Mexico.
But Thompson said he had questions about her background, including her past work for the Bush administration.