Quietly working behind the scenes and skillfully avoiding getting frequent mentions in the paper trails of various agencies, White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller has remained one of President Donald Trump’s most influential aides. He has been the architect of the administration’s Muslim-country travel ban, the defender of zero-tolerance family separation, the advocate of reducing refugee admissions, and the promoter of rules that would allow the government to deny green cards to immigrants considered likely to use public assistance.
Reports also indicate that he not only has the president’s ear, but that he has gone so far as to place across the administration handpicked appointees with the same hardline immigration views. An August 2018 Vanity Fair article said that he has installed appointees who were “high up enough that they would know everything but not high up enough that they would be in the public spotlight or need Senate confirmation.” And in August 2019, the Washington Post reported that he will “surprise lower-level staffers with phone calls urging them to implement his ideas.”
Throughout his years of influence, Miller has reportedly put things in writing only rarely, “eschewing email in favor of phone calls,” as the Post reported, with written communications from his allies “often viewed as the expression of Miller’s wishes.” But his minimized email use hasn’t stopped American Oversight from investigating his magnified clout, filing Freedom of Information Act requests across the federal government for communications with Miller or his close allies and team members. Below is a timeline of documents we’ve received so far that reference meetings or communications with Miller, beginning in the early days of the Trump administration.
Miller was included in correspondence between White House officials and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The communications, over several months, can be found here, and show Miller’s connections with USTR officials Payne Griffin and Christopher Jackson.
A congressional question for the record to a Justice Department nominee alleged that Miller called a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York to tell him how to defend the administration’s travel ban.
On March 2, Ivanka Trump (using her personal email account), Miller and other officials exchanged communications regarding child-care policy.
EPA official Ryan Jackson’s calendars show a lunch on March 17 with former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Miller. Pruitt’s calendar indicates that the meeting was to discuss the “Climate Agenda” and also included the White House’s McLaurine Klingler and Robert Gabriel.
On June 29, then-Labor Secretary Alex Acosta met with Miller and John Zadrozny, the special assistant to the president.
White House official Peter Navarro included Miller in a request for a meeting about border wall bids.
On September 1, Scott Lloyd, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, shared a report on the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program that Miller had requested.
On October 5, Perdue had a call with Miller.
Later that month, on October 30, Acosta had a call with Miller.
HHS’ Scott Lloyd met with Miller at Miller’s office on December 1 to discuss “Unaccompanied Alien Children.”
Lloyd had another call with Miller on January 12.
A March 6 call on immigration on DHS senior official Chad Wolf’s calendar lists a participant as “Miller” — there’s no first name, but it is likely Stephen Miller.
On March 22, Miller, then-White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Wolf met at the Oval Office to discuss the omnibus spending bill.
On March 28, Miller, Kelly, Nielsen, then-White House Counsel Don McGahn, then-CBP chief Kevin McAleenan, and senior official Chad Wolf met at the Oval Office to discuss border security.
On April 9, HHS Secretary Alex Azar had a call with Miller.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer participated in a phone call with Miller and Sen. Marco Rubio on April 26.
Lloyd sent emails to Miller and presidential assistant Zadrozny and Miller on April 27.
Interior Department Chief of Staff Scott Hommel’s calendars include a May 3 call with Miller.
On May 16, Lighthizer had a call with Miller.
Lloyd’s calendars include a May 27 entry for a conference call with Azar to prep for a call with Miller.
On June 19, Lloyd emailed Miller, saying, “I was a little puzzled by your comments.”
Lighthizer was invited to a June 5 meeting to discuss trade messaging with conservative pollster Frank Luntz, Miller, Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House officials Peter Navarro and Larry Kudlow.