Trump's pick to build border wall proceeds after allegations cleared

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the agency that would oversee construction of the southern border wall began the Senate confirmation process Tuesday, three months later than his hearing was originally scheduled, because of allegations of misconduct that were eventually dismissed, NBC News has learned.

Kevin McAleenan, who appeared before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday morning, currently serves as the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and served as the deputy commissioner under the Obama administration. McAleenan's hearing to become commissioner was scheduled for July 13, but was mysteriously postponed the night before.

Multiple sources familiar with the matter told NBC News the hearing was delayed after anonymous accusers alleged McAleenan had an affair with a subordinate and bypassed proper channels to fund an immigration detention center.

RELATED: Members past and present of Trump's inner circle

29 PHOTOS
Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle
See Gallery
Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle
Ivanka Trump: First daughter and presidential adviser
Gen. John Kelly: Former Secretary of Homeland Security, current White House chief of staff
Steve Bannon: Former White House chief strategist, no longer with the Trump administration
Jared Kushner: Son-in-law and senior adviser
Kellyanne Conway: Former Trump campaign manager, current counselor to the president
Reince Priebus: Former White House chief of staff, no longer with the Trump administration
Anthony Scaramucci: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: White House press secretary
Donald Trump Jr.: First son to President Trump
Sean Spicer: Former White House press secretary, soon to be no longer with the Trump administration
Jeff Sessions: U.S. attorney general
Steve Mnuchin: Secretary of Treasury
Paul Manafort: Former Trump campaign chairman
Carter Page: Former foreign policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign
Omarosa Manigault: Director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison
Melania Trump: Wife to President Trump and first lady of the United States
Jason Miller: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Hope Hicks: White House Director of Strategic Communications
Mike Dubke: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Stephen Miller: Trump senior policy adviser
Corey Lewandowski: Former Trump campaign manager
Eric Trump: Son to President Trump
Rex Tillerson: Secretary of State
Michael Flynn: Former National Security Advisor, no longer with the Trump administration
Sebastian Gorka: Former deputy assistant to the president in the Trump administration, no longer in his White House role
Roger Stone: Former Trump campaign adviser, current host of Stone Cold Truth
Betsy DeVos: U.S. Education Secretary
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, walks toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. President Donald Trump's encounter this week at the Group of 20 summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin is raising concerns among veteran American diplomats and analysts about a mismatch between a U.S. president new to global affairs and a wily former Soviet spymaster. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, investigated both claims and cleared McAleenan of all wrongdoing, according to three sources who are familiar with the investigation.

One allegation said McAleenan had violated agency process by pushing money towards an over-crowded detention facility before it had been approved by the proper channels, according to the sources. DHS Inspector General John Roth cleared McAleenan of any wrongdoing in that investigation on Oct. 10, according to a public record.

Last week, Roth found that McAleenan and a female subordinate had only a professional relationship and that rumors of an affair were false.

A source familiar with the investigation says McAleenan denied the allegations throughout the process.

Customs and Border Protection is the nation's largest law enforcement agency, with more than 60,000 employees, and is responsible for overseeing many of Trump's immigration policies, including the construction of a southern border wall.

McAleenan has been responsible for identifying locations and designs for the wall, one of Trump's key campaign promises.

Having served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, McAleenan's nomination was widely supported by both parties. Former President Barack Obama's Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, signed a letter along with seven other former senior Homeland Security officials, to "personally attest to [McAleenan's] honesty, integrity, patriotism and commitment to the homeland security mission."

McAleenan left his law practice in California to join CBP in November 2001 and quickly rose through the ranks in the agency. He was promoted to deputy commissioner in April of 2013 and was named acting commissioner at the start of the Trump administration, overseeing a rocky start to the president's initial travel ban in late January.

"I am pleased that the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing this morning to consider Kevin McAleenan’s nomination to be the next Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection," said Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke in a statement.

RELATED: A look at DHS, ICE and TSA

10 PHOTOS
US Department of Homeland Security -- TSA, ICE, Customs and Border Protection
See Gallery
US Department of Homeland Security -- TSA, ICE, Customs and Border Protection
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 7: The Department of Homeland Security logo is seen on a law enforcement vehicle in Washington, United States on March 7, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer stands in the TSA pre-check area at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The TSA, part of the Homeland Security Department (DHS), reported seizing a record number of firearms at U.S. airports in 2015, a 20 precent increase over 2014. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer operates an x-ray machine in the TSA pre-check area at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The TSA, part of the Homeland Security Department (DHS), reported seizing a record number of firearms at U.S. airports in 2015, a 20 precent increase over 2014. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Prohibited items are displayed as they sit in a voluntary abandoned property bin in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) pre-check area at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The TSA, part of the Homeland Security Department (DHS), reported seizing a record number of firearms at U.S. airports in 2015, a 20 precent increase over 2014. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sign stands at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Financing for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to lapse after Friday and the agency would face a partial shutdown unless Congress provides new money. More than 200,000 government employees deemed essential at DHS, including TSA officers, would still have to report to their posts, even though their pay would stop unless Congress finds a solution. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers check passenger's identification at a security checkpoint at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Financing for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is set to lapse after Friday and the agency would face a partial shutdown unless Congress provides new money. More than 200,000 government employees deemed essential at DHS, including TSA officers, would still have to report to their posts, even though their pay would stop unless Congress finds a solution. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 02: A sign directs travelers to a security checkpoint staffed by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at O'Hare Airport on June 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Department of Homeland Security said that the acting head of the TSA would be replaced following a report that airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly all of the tests that an undercover team conducted at airports around the country. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The entrance to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Cyber Crimes Center is seen in this U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) building in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S. on July 21, 2015. Courtesy Josh Denmark/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
$506,057 of the more than a $1-million collected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Laredo, Texas port of entry in two separate southbound enforcement actions is seen after being seized in this undated handout photo released by CBP on July 27, 2010. On July 22, CBP officers seized $506,057 in undeclared cash from a 36-year-old male Mexican citizen from Brookshire, Texas driving south into Mexico. The second money seizure occurred on July 25 as CBP Field Operations Officers and Border Patrol (BP) agents seized 50 bundles containing $607,629 in undeclared U.S.currency from a 33 year-old Mexican citizen driving south into Mexico from Houston, Texas. The drivers were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents for further investigation. REUTERS/U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"I’m confident the Committee found Mr. McAleenan to be a man of integrity and competence, a public servant who knows the business of national security and international trade and travel. I fully support Mr. McAleenan’s nomination, and now that he has been thoroughly and fully vetted and had an opportunity to present his impeccable qualifications I hope that the Committee and the full Senate will move quickly to confirm him to this vital position." 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.