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Three Trump Officials Were Warned Family Separation Would Be Illegal and Scar Children

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On Thursday, House Democrats had their first opportunity to lead an inquiry into the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border. As many of them pointed out during the hearing before a subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, past investigative attempts were stymied by obstinate witnesses and Congressional Republicans who refused to force those officials to answer precise questions about how the disastrous and unlawful policy came to be implemented in the first place.

Now that the Democrats are in charge of the House, they are able to try to uncover how the practice—which even the administration’s own officials now acknowledge likely caused lifelong psychological trauma to countless children—was allowed to take place.

They did not waste any time in making inroads into these questions. The top Department of Health and Human Services official testifying before the subcommittee on Thursday was Commander Jonathan White. White testified to the Senate judiciary committee in July, after full-scale family separations were short-circuited by executive order and the courts, that he had warned the administration how badly family separations would go. Democrats on the committee got few additional details at the time, though.


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