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Tag: jeff sessions

Justice Department Stymies DEA’s Proposal to Grow More Marijuana for Research

marijuanainthemittenphotoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s plans to allow more research of marijuana has been stymied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has insisted pot is almost as dangerous as heroin.

The Justice Department has not allowed the DEA to move forward with proposals to grow more marijuana for research, the Washington Post reports. 

“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.”

Consequently, one senior DEA official said, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.’’

The standoff pits the DEA and Justice Department against each other on the value of researching marijuana to determine if it has medicinal benefits. Although more than two dozen states have approved the use of medicinal marijuana, the federal government still considers pot a schedule 1 drug.

Times of Trenton: Trump’s Justice Department Erodes Constitutional Rights

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Editorial Board
Times of Trenton

“It tears at the fabric of our great nation and does not move us forward; it takes us backwards.”

With these terse words, more than 60 members of Congress – including half a dozen from New Jersey – summed up their dismay over a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice that does an enormous injustice to members of the LGBTQ community.

In a no-holds-barred letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the lawmakers expressed deep disappointment concerning a friend-of-the-court brief the department filed late last month in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express.

In the brief, the nation’s top law-enforcement body claims that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect lesbians, gays or bisexual people from discrimination.

Not so fast, the letter writers argue. Not only is the Justice Department’s action contrary to existing law, they say forcefully, but it also violates the country’s basic ideals of liberty and justice for all.

The original lawsuit under review stems from 2010, when a skydiving instructor named Donald Zarda charged that a former employer, Altitude Express, Inc., violated the Civil Rights Act by discriminating against him because of his sexual orientation.

FBI, Justice Department Investigate Violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Suspect James Fields

Suspect James Fields

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have opened a civil rights investigation into a deadly car crash caused by a white nationalist who plunged into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va.

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” said Attorney General Jeff Session, who has involved the DOJ’s civil rights division, Politico reports

The violence broke out late Saturday morning after hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and neo-Confederates converged on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of a Confederate general. They cashed with counter-protesters.

Shortly after the governor declared a state of emergency, a car driven by a 20-year-old Ohio resident who idolized Hitler drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

James Fields, of the Toledo area, was charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and hit-and-run.

The FBI has interviewed Fields’ mother, according to the Toledo Blade.

“When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated,” Sessions said. “I have talked with FBI Director Chris Wray, FBI agents on the scene, and law enforcement officials for the state of Virginia. The FBI has been supporting state and local authorities throughout the day. U.S. Attorney Rick Mountcastle has commenced a federal investigation and will have the full support of the Department of Justice. Justice will prevail.”

AG Sessions: Car Attack in Charlottesville ‘Does Meet the Definition of Domestic Terrorism’

Suspect James Alex Fields

Suspect James Alex Fields

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said this morning that an Ohio driver who plunged into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., “does meet the definition of domestic terrorism.”

The driver, 20-year-old James Fields, killed one person and injured 19 others.

“It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute,” Sessions said on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” today. “We are pursuing it in the (Justice Department) in every way that we can make a case.”

Sessions said the driver could be charged with more serious, federal charges.

“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” he said. “Terrorism investigators from the FBI are working on the case as well as civil rights division FBI agents.”

The car slammed into a group of people protesting white supremacists who turned up in droves to protest the planned removal of a statue of a Confederate general.

AG Sessions’ Extreme Position on Marijuana Worries States That Legalized It

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said earlier this year that marijuana “is only slightly less awful” than heroin, has prompted concerns among states that have legalized marijuana use.

Despite a federal law banning marijuana use, eight states have approved marijuana for recreational use. Nearly 30 states have legalized medical marijuana.

In letters released last week, Sessions warned four governors that he had “serious concerns” about legalizing marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reports

The letters were vague enough that states aren’t sure whether Sessions plans to crack down on legalization. Sessions said he wanted to talk with governors about his concerns.

“The letters did appear to be a bit off base, and in several instances referred to the way things were but are no longer. But more importantly, the letters did not tell the states they lack the authority to sell marijuana,” Mason Tvert, a co-director of Colorado’s 2012 legal marijuana initiative, said.

Chicago to File Suit Over Threat to Withhold Federal Funds to ‘Sanctuary’ Cities

Chicago cityscape, via Allen McGregor on Wikipedia.

Chicago cityscape, via Allen McGregor on Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The city of Chicago plans to sue the Justice Department today over threats to punish municipalities that don’t assist federal immigration officials.

The decision comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said so-called sanctuary cities will lose federal grants if they don’t turn over names of undocumented immigrants to the feds.

“Chicago will not let our police officers become political pawns in a debate,” Chicago Mayor Ram Emanuel told the Chicago Tribune. “Chicago will not let our residents have their fundamental rights isolated and violated. And Chicago will never relinquish our status as a welcoming city.”

The city plans to file suit “first thing on Monday morning,” officials told the Tribune.

Rosenstein: Leak Investigations Won’t Target Journalists

typewriter-reporterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s escalation of probes into government leaks will not target journalists, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Sunday.

“We don’t prosecute journalists for doing their jobs,” Rosenstein said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s not our goal here.”

The Justice Department announced last week that it was stepping up investigation into government leaks. Under the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said leak investigations have tripled.

“We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country any longer,” Sessions said at a news conference Friday.

Rosenstein clarified Sessions’ position on Sunday.

“The attorney general has been very clear that we’re after the leakers, not the journalist,”  Rosenstein said. “We’re after the people who are committing crimes.”

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade: ‘Trump Sees The Position of Attorney General as His Personal Lawyer’

Barbara McQuade was  the first woman to serve as the U.S. Attorney in Detroit.  She was appointed by President Barack Obama and was sworn in Jan. 4, 2010. In March, she was among the remaining 46 U.S. Attorneys in the country from the Obama administration who were forced to resign. She is currently a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.

U.S. Attorney McQuade

U.S. Attorney McQuade

By Barbara McQuade

The President’s comments disparaging the attorney general are damaging to the Department of Justice and the American public.  Regardless of whether you agree with the policies of Jeff Sessions, Trump’s efforts to insult, marginalize or push him out should be deeply concerning.

Trump’s comments that Sessions should not have recused himself from the Russia investigation suggests that Trump sees the position of attorney general as his personal lawyer.  In fact, the attorney general takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

By complying with DOJ ethics rules, Sessions was doing his job properly.  Trump would rather have Sessions ignore ethics rules so that he could maintain control of the Russia investigation, rather than allow that duty to fall to his deputy from Baltimore, where, as Trump says, there are not a lot of Republicans. This statement wrongly suggests that DOJ makes decisions based on politics, and undermines public confidence in its decisions.

Trump’s comments about investigating Hillary Clinton are also deeply troubling.  The case was declined last summer.  To suggest reopening it now creates the impression that Trump is seeking to use the Department of Justice to punish his political enemies.  It is critically important that the Department of Justice act with independence in bringing criminal cases, and that it not become the machinery of partisan politics.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

I also think that Trump’s comments about the attorney general are demoralizing to the rank and file employees of the Department of Justice. They need a leader who is advocating for them and their priorities in the President’s cabinet. To see their leader disparaged by the President diminishes the stature of the office of attorney general and the Department of Justice.  The men and women who have dedicated their talents in careers to seeking justice and serving the public deserve much better.

It may be that the President is trying to coerce sessions into resigning.  If Sessions resigns rather than is fired, Trump has more options available to replacing him, including appointing an acting attorney general from among any of his already confirmed appointees, without any additional Senate confirmation.