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Tag: Attorney General

Contenders for AG, Homeland Security Director Under Biden

Joe Biden, via Shutterstock.com.

By Steve Neavling

President-elect Joe Biden will be responsible for choosing new leaders of the Justice Department and Homeland Security. 

Who are the potential contenders? The New York Times takes a look at the possible picks.

Under President Trump, the Homeland Security Department has been a revolving door of leaders. Biden hopes to change that. One contender is Val Demings, a member of Congress from Florida and a former Orlando police chief with 27 years of experience in law enforcement. 

Another potential pick is Alejandro Mayorkas a Cuban American lawyer who ran Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Obama. 

A contender to replace Attorney General William Barr is Xavier Becerra, a former congressman and current California attorney general. 

Another potential pick is Sen. Dough Jones, D-Alabama. He’s a former prosecutor and lost his bid for reelection to the Senate. 

Biden also could choose Tom Prez, the Democratic Party chairman who previously served as secretary of labor and assistant attorney general for civil rights. 

Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates under Obama is another possibility. President Trump fired her after she served 10 days as acting attorney general. 

Trump Says He’s ‘Not Happy’ with Barr, Won’t Commit to Retaining AG

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump on Wednesday said he was “not happy”  with Attorney General William Barr and declined to say whether he’d keep Barr in a potential second term. 

In an interview with Newsmax, Trump said it was “too early” to decide whether Barr would stay on if the president wins re-election in November. 

“Can’t comment on that, it’s too early. I’m not happy, with all of the evidence I had, I can tell you that. I am not happy,” Trump said.

Trump has expressed frustration with Barr after the attorney general told Republicans that he didn’t expect the Justice Department to finish its investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation. 

Trump’s remarks also come after the The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the Justice Department’s investigation of the Obama era’s “unmasking” of Trump campaign officials didn’t uncover wrongdoing.

“Personally, I think it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said. “I think it’s really a horrible thing that they’re allowed to get away — when they say no indictments, they actually said no indictments before the election.

“I had to go through elections with all those clouds over my head. But they don’t because the Republicans are so nice. Personally, I think it’s too bad. I think it’s too bad, they’re guilty as hell.”

Gov. Cuomo As U.S. Attorney General? Biden Is Reportedly Considering Him

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

By Steve Neavling

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is reportedly considering New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as his attorney general if he wins the election. 

The possibility is so strong that the National Governors Association is looking into contingencies to replace Cuomo as the chairman because he would be unable to serve in that role if he becomes attorney general, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Cuomo, 62, served as New York’s attorney General from 2007 to 2010.  

Biden and Cuomo have a relationship dating back to the 1980s. People familiar with the relationship say Biden sees himself in Cuomo. 

Other potential candidates for attorney general include former acting AG Sally Yates and Stacey Abrams, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017.

Trump Lambasts FBI Director, Attorney General in Strange Interview

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump, increasingly agitated as his poll numbers slide and he’s isolated in the White House with COVID-19, lashed out at his FBI director and attorney general Thursday.

“He’s been disappointing,” Trump said of FBI Director Christopher Wray in an interview with Fox Business. “He doesn’t see the voting ballots as a problem.”

In congressional testimony two weeks ago, Wray said the FBI has “not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise.”

Trump refused to say whether he plans to replace Wray if elected to a second term. Daily Beast reported last week that Trump has talked of replacing Wray, whom he nominated in 2017.

The president also said Attorney General William Barr would go down in history “as a very sad, sad situation” if he fails to indict Democrats such as Trump’s opponent Joe Biden and former President Obama. 

“Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we’re going to get little satisfaction unless I win and we’ll just have to go, because I won’t forget it,” Trump said, referring to the probe of his 2016 campaign ties with Russia. “But these people should be indicted. This was the greatest political crime in the history of our country, and that includes Obama and it includes Biden.”

Trump has stepped up his claims that Obama and Biden should be prosecuted, and hinted that he pressured Barr to prosecute Barr to bring indictments. 

“He’s got all the information he needs,” Trump said. “They want to get more, more, more, they keep getting more. I said, ‘You don’t need any more.’”

Judge to Hear Arguments about DOJ’s Bid to Dismiss Case against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A judge may decide today whether to accept the Justice Department’s unusual move to dismiss the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a former President Trump appointee who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

The case returns to U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia Circuit ruled in late August that he can does not have to promptly dismiss the case just because the Justice Department sought to drop it.

Sullivan will hear final arguments in the case.

The Justice Department and Flynn want the case to be dismissed, while former federal judge John Gleeson is arguing that Sullivan can move forward and sentence Flynn.

Democrats and legal experts have questioned Attorney General William Barr’s motives for intervening in a case tied to Trump.

Operation Legend Nets 3,500+ Arrests in Nine Cities Since It Launched in July

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 3,500 people have been arrested across nine cities as part of “Operation Legend,” an anti-crime initiative launched by the Justice Department in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Tuesday.

Since the operation began on July 8, federal authorities and their local partners have arrested about 200 murder suspects and seized roughly 1,000 firearms, 19 kilos of heroin, 11 kilos of fentanyl, 94 kilos of methamphetamine, 14 kilos of cocaine, and $6.5 million in drug money, Barr said at a news conference in Milwaukee.

Of those arrested, about 815 have been charged with federal offenses, 440 with firearms offenses, and 300 with drug-related crimes.

The operation involves more than 1,000 agents from the ATF, DEA, and FBI, along with the U.S. Marshals Service, in nine cities: Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, Kansas City and Indianapolis. The operation is named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was fatally shot while he was sleeping in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City.

To see a breakdown by city, click here.

Barr Slams Career Prosecutors As ‘Headhunters,’ Compares Them to Preschoolers in Boisterous Speech

Attorney General William Barr, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr lashed out at his own prosecutors on Wednesday, calling them “headhunters” in search of big name targets and equating them to preschoolers.

During the wide-ranging, boisterous speech at conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan, Barr also said nationwide coronavirus lockdowns would be the “greatest intrusion on civil liberties” outside of slavery, according to CNN.

“Individual prosecutors can sometimes become headhunters, consumed with taking down their target,” Barr said, The Associated Press reports. “Subjecting their decisions to review by detached supervisors ensures the involvement of dispassionate decision-makers in the process.”

Barr, who has been criticized for interfering in cases involving allies of President Trump, insisted he has the authority to intervene in such cases and that career prosecutors don’t always get the final say.

“Letting the most junior members set the agenda might be a good philosophy for a Montessori preschool, but it is no way to run a federal agency,” he said.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder blasted Barr’s criticism of career prosecutors.

“Though dangerous, Barr is becoming increasingly absurd. When I was at DOJ – regardless of my ultimate authority – I saw the career staff as trusted colleagues, not pre-schoolers,” Holder tweeted Wednesday. To my friends at DOJ, know that this nation values and supports you. I do.

Barr also castigated governors who have imposed restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“You know, putting a national lockdown, stay at home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said to thunderous applause.

DOJ Watchdog Is Investigating Handling of Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

GOP trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department Inspector General’s Office is investigating the unusual intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, a dirty GOP trickster and longtime ally of President Trump, NBC News reports.

The review comes after a team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case in February after Attorney General William Barr and senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for Stone, who had been convicted on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

High-ranking Justice Department officials overrode the career prosecutors’ recommendation of seven to nine years in prison, saying the sentence should be “far less.”

Trump, who commuted Stone’s 40-month sentence on July 10, congratulated Barr in February for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought” and suggested the prosecutors who recommended the stiffer sentence were “rouge.”

While testifying before the House Judicary Committee on July 28, Barr defended intervening in the case.

“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people,” Barr said.

Jonathan Kravis, one of the prosecutors who withdrew from the case, wrote in a Washington Post column that “the department undercut the work of career employees to protect an ally of the president, an abdication of the commitment to equal justice under the law.”