A Republican lawmaker invoked Paul Manafort's adult children in a bizarre defense of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

  • A Republican lawmaker likened the Trump administration's discontinued child separation policy at the US-Mexico border to the children of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's former campaign chairman.
  • Manafort, who faces increased scrutiny after allegedly breaching his plea agreement to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the special counsel's investigation, is the father of two adult children.
  • Manafort's children include Jessica, an independent filmmaker who reportedly changed her last name to distance herself from an unwanted "public perception," and Andrea, who described her father as someone with "no moral or legal compass" and a "a sick f---ing tyrant."

A Republican lawmaker likened the Trump administration's discontinued child-separation policy at the US-Mexico border to the fate of President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who faces increased scrutiny after allegedly breaching his plea agreement to charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

"I'm always glad to fill in the gaps of people's knowledge or ignorance in a particular area," Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration and border security. "So let me just state for those who are not aware ... parents are separated from children every single day of every year, year after year."

"And parents who have probable cause, they committed a crime, are separated from their children and those are usually US citizens," Gohmert added. "It's what happens when a parent is believed to have committed a crime. [Special counsel Robert Mueller] did it, I know he's a hero to some folks around here, he did it to Manafort, separated him from his two beautiful children. It happens."

Manafort is the father of two adult daughters: Jessica, an independent filmmaker who reportedly changed her last name to distance herself from an unwanted "public perception," and Andrea, who described her father as someone with "no moral or legal compass" and a "a sick f---ing tyrant," according to hacked text messages.

Manafort was initially indicted in October 2017 as part of Mueller's probe, and has been in prison since June.

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Migrants traveling in mass caravan break fence at Mexico border
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Migrants traveling in mass caravan break fence at Mexico border
A police officer helps a Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., as she storms a border checkpoint to cross into Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., ties a backpack from the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala to avoid the border checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., climbs down from the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala to avoid the border checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., hits the shield of a federal policeman after storming the Guatemalan checkpoint to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., jump and climb down from the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala to avoid the border checkpoint as others look while queueing to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A police officer helps a Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., as she storms a border checkpoint to cross into Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A federal policeman gestures as Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., are being pushed by other migrants after storming the Guatemalan checkpoint to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., hits the shield of a federal policeman after storming the Guatemalan checkpoint to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., protects her child as a federal police reacts after migrants stormed the Guatemalan checkpoint to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., jump and climb down from the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala to avoid the border checkpoint as others look while queueing to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., are pushed by other migrants after storming the Guatemalan checkpoint to enter Mexico, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., jumps from the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala to avoid the border checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., climbs down from the bridge that connects Mexico and Guatemala with the help of fellow immigrants to avoid the border checkpoint in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., storm a border checkpoint, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., cries after stormed a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., topple a fence after storming the Guatemala border in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., jumps over a fence in the checkpoint between Guatemala and Mexico in Tecun Uman, Guatemala October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., storm a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., bleeds after he storms a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., storm a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
A police officer helps a Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., as she storms a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., fall after storming a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., storm a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., storm a border checkpoint, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., climb a fence in an effort to enter Mexico after storming a border checkpoint in Guatemala, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant child, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., cries next to a fence in the checkpoint between Guatemala and Mexico in Tecun Uman, Guatemala October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., yell as they storm a border checkpoint, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduran migrants, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., react after storming the Guatemala border, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A Honduran migrant, part of a caravan trying to reach the U.S., yells as he storms a border checkpoint, in Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico October 19, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
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Read more: Migrant father contradicts US officials, says his 7-year-old daughter who died in Border Patrol custody was given no water for 8 hours

Earlier this year, Trump faced fierce backlash against the so-called "zero-tolerance" immigration policy, which because parents were being prosecuted for crossing the border illegally, automatically separated parents from their children if they crossed the border illegally. In June, Trump reversed course and allowed them to remain together in federal custody until their trial in court.

Speaking to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday, Gohmert added that he was disgusted by the characterization of the Department of Homeland Security from his Democratic colleagues and some media reports.

"It grieves me, for anyone that's part of this committee, to slander you and be remorseless when they make ... comments about you or ... people in the administration that simply want to enforce the law," Gohmert said. "I don't hear any of that kind of outrage on behalf of victims of crime, including children who are victims of crime."

Recent reports at the border sparked public outrage after a 7-year-old child from Guatemala died while in the custody of US Border Patrol. Initial reports suggested he died of dehydration; however, her father disputed the case, saying his child received no water while in custody.

Homeland Security described the death as unfortunate and reportedly said the child was in custody for around eight hours before she began having seizures. According to US Customs and Border Protection, she "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days."

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