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NYT: Appointing Jeff Sessions As Attorney General Is an Insult to Justice

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

By Editorial Board
New York Times

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan nominated Jeff Sessions, then a United States attorney from Alabama, to be a federal judge. The Republican-controlled Senate rejected Mr. Sessions out of concern, based on devastating testimony by former colleagues, that he was a racist.

Three decades later, Mr. Sessions, now a veteran Alabama senator, is on the verge of becoming the nation’s top law-enforcement official, after President-elect Donald Trump tapped him on Friday to be attorney general.

It would be nice to report that Mr. Sessions, who is now 69, has conscientiously worked to dispel the shadows that cost him the judgeship. Instead, the years since his last confirmation hearing reveal a pattern of dogged animus to civil rights and the progress of black Americans and immigrants.

Based on his record, we can form a fairly clear picture of what his Justice Department would look like:

For starters, forget about aggressive protection of civil rights, and of voting rights in particular. Mr. Sessions has called the Voting Rights Act of 1965 a “piece of intrusive legislation.” Under him, the department would most likely focus less on prosecutions of minority voter suppression and more on rooting out voter fraud, that hallowed conservative myth. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Sessions brought voter-fraud charges against three civil rights workers trying to register black voters in rural Alabama. The prosecution turned up 14 allegedly doctored ballots out of 1.7 million cast, and the jury voted to acquit.

Forget, also, any federal criminal-justice reform, which was on the cusp of passage in Congress before Mr. Trump’s “law and order” campaign. Mr. Sessions strongly opposed bipartisan legislation to scale back the outrageously harsh sentences that filled federal prisons with low-level drug offenders. Instead, he called for more mandatory-minimum sentences and harsher punishments for drug crimes.

To read more click here. 

Weekend Series on Crime: The Russian Mob

Trump Selects Controversial Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a controversial pick because of his staunchly conservative positions on immigration, gay rights and Muslims.

The 69-year-old, four-term Alabama Republican also has a history of making racist statements, which kept him from getting a judgeship under President Reagan in 1986.

Sessions, for example, said the NAACP and other organizations are “communist inspired” and “un-American organizations with anti-traditional American values,” the New York Times reported at the time.

During a committee hearing in 1986, Thomas Figures, a black assistant U.S. attorney who worked for Sessions, testified that the Alabama Republican said he thought KKK members were “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”

Sessions also has argued that immigrants don’t have constitutional protections and that prison sentencing shouldn’t be overhauled for drug convictions.

When Trump proposed a complete shutdown on Muslims entering the U.S., Sessions defended the idea.

Asked whether he would serve in Trump’s administration Thursday, Sessions said he’d be “honored.”

Ex-Homeland Security Staffer Says Muslim Registry ‘Ineffective’ But ‘Easy’ to Reinstate

islamic-hand-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s reported desire to reinstate a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries would be logistically “really easy” but also “costly and ineffective,” said a former Homeland Security policy staffer under Presidents Bush and Obama.

Theresa Cardinal Brown said the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which is now defunct, was laborious and difficult to manage, BuzzFeed reports. 

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who reportedly is advising Trump, said the president-elect has indicated he wants to reactivate the program.

BuzzFeed wrote:

Under NSEERS, men from 25 majority-Muslim countries entering the country were forced to register, get fingerprinted, and told to check in regularly with immigration officers. The program ran until 2011, when DHS deemed it redundant. However, NSEERS still remains on the books at DHS — except all 25 countries have been removed, so no registration requirements currently exist for anyone.

Brown, who overall worked at DHS from 2005 through 2011 and is now director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told BuzzFeed News “I’m not sure I understand the rationale for it now.”

She added that NSEERS was “costly and ineffective” and that there was “a lot of confusion around the program.” For instance, registered individuals were supposed to periodically check in with local Immigration officers, but “people weren’t given the proper follow-up information,” Brown said.

Brown recalls that the program did lead to a few thousand deportations — mostly for individuals who had overstayed their visas. No suspected terrorists or terrorist plotters identified through the system were prosecuted, she said.

FBI Spoke with Bombing Suspect Rahami While He Was Recovering from Gunshot Wounds

Ahmad Khan Rahami

Ahmad Khan Rahami

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI spoke for days with the man charged with setting off bombs in New York and New Jersey.

The conversation occurred while he was recovering from gunshot wounds after he was arrested, the Associated Press reports. 

The revelation was made by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Lewin after Ahmad Khan Rahami pleaded not guilty to crimes involving the Sept. 17 attacks, which injured 30 people in Manhattan.

What Rahami said to the FBI was not disclosed.

Prosecutors plan to soon disclose more evidence, including videos of Rahami’s movements on the day of the bombings, records that indicate he purchased bomb-making materials, and fingerprints and DNA found on the explosive devices.

Judicial Watch: Secret Service Lost Firearms, Badges, Phones, Laptops And Cars

secret serviceBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service has lost firearms, work badges, telephones, laptops and even cars over the past 15 year, according to the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch.

“This is supposedly an elite law enforcement agency — how did all this equipment get stolen?” or lost. “This is alarming. Every American should be alarmed about this,” Judicial Watch’s Irene Garcia told The Daily Caller News Foundation. 

Secret Service agents have lost or reported stolen 11,780 assets between the fiscal years 2001 and 2006, according to Judicial Watch.

Among those items were 121 “weapons/pistols,” 725 cell phones, 571 badges and six vehicles.   

Justice Department Tries to Block Release of Inmate Featured on ‘Making a Murderer’

Brendan Dassey

Brendan Dassey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is trying to block the release of a Wisconsin inmate whose case was featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.”

Brendan Dassey is urging a federal appeals court to releases him from prison.

After a federal judge overturned the conviction in the death of a photographer, the state Justice Department has appeared the ruling, the Las Vega Review-Journal reports. 

That hasn’t stopped a judge from ordering Dassey’s release from prison by this evening.

The Justice Department argues Dassey’s confession was voluntary and that he is a risk to society.

Dassey’s attorneys countered that he has behaved well in prison and poses no danger to society.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump’s Former Campaign Manager: Clinton Lost Because of FBI Announcement

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s former presidential campaign manager said Hillary Clinton lost the race because of the FBI’s renewed investigation of her private email server.

“With 11 days to go, something amazing happened,” Corey Lewandowski said late Wednesday, referring to the final days of the 2016 race, according to The Telegraph.

“The FBI’s director James [Comey] came out on a Friday and he said they may be reopening the investigation into ‘Crooked Hillary’s’ emails,” he said. “What that did was remind people that there are two different rules in Washington – those of the elites and the privileged, and those for everybody else.”

Lewandowski said Comey’s controversial announcement resulted in an upset.

“When Comey moved forward with that investigation…it allowed the campaign a little spring in their step, and for them to redouble their efforts,” he said.

“In those last eleven days, Mr. Trump was exceptionally disciplined. He used a teleprompter, and he did less media. The team used social media like no campaign in history. And then, Donald Trump won the election campaign by the largest majority since [former President] Ronald Reagan in 1984.”