The department was also enduring an absence of leadership even before Mr. Wolf stepped down days after the siege in part, he said, because of court rulings that claimed he was unlawfully appointed to his position. Customs and Border Protection is led by an acting official and the Government Accountability Office has also issued a report saying Mr. Cuccinelli was illegally appointed to the Homeland Security Department. On Wednesday, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jonathan Fahey, resigned after less than a month on the job, according to Jenny Burke, a spokeswoman for ICE.
Representative Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the timing of Mr. Wolf’s departure “questionable” given the department’s responsibility to help secure the inauguration.
“He has chosen to resign during a time of national crisis and when domestic terrorists may be planning additional attacks on our government,” said Mr. Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi.
Mr. Wolf was replaced by Peter T. Gaynor, the well-respected former administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Secret Service is leading security planning for the inauguration.
The Justice Department’s senior ranks were similarly hollowed out in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol. Under Mr. Barr, the Senate-confirmed heads of the civil and criminal divisions left amid complaints that Mr. Barr regularly cut top officials, including Mr. Rosen, out of key decisions and relied instead on a small circle of counselors in his office and a handful of favored U.S. attorneys, according to five current and former officials.
As Mr. Trump castigated Mr. Barr for not helping to try to overturn the election, he stepped down last month, leaving the department in the hands of Mr. Rosen, a white-collar lawyer who had never before worked in the department and had no experience as a prosecutor.
And while Mr. Wray was confirmed to run the F.B.I. in 2017, he has been hamstrung by Mr. Trump’s dim view of the bureau. Mr. Trump’s decision to allow him to stay on was influenced by advisers who said the president could be more at legal risk with an F.B.I. director appointed by Mr. Biden than if Mr. Wray continued on, administration officials said.