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Tag: jeff sessions

Trump Blasts Own AG Sessions over Failure to Probe Obama’s Role in Russian Meddling

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling

President Trump once again blasted his own attorney general in a tweet Wednesday, blaming Jeff Sessions for failing to investigate the Obama administration’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation? Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Session!,” the president urged his 48 million followers, originally misspelling his AG’s name.

The tweet was just the latest attack on the social media platform blaming everyone but the Russians for election interference, which led to the indictment last week of 13 Russians accused of waging a disinformation campaign to help Trump get elected.

Trump also berated Sessions over four days on Twitter, calling his AG “beleaguered” and claiming Sessions was “very weak” on “Hillary Clinton’s crimes.”

Trump has attacked Sessions since he recused himself from the Russia investigation, allowing the deputy attorney general to appoint a special counsel to probe election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

AG Sessions to Form Task Force to Combat Election Interference by Russians

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

By Steve Neavling

While President Trump remains defiant in his refusal to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, his attorney general Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday the formation of task force to combat global cyber threats, including those used to undermine elections.

The move comes a week after leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies warned Congress that Russians, emboldened by their success during the presidential election, are planning to interfere in the 2018 mid-term elections in November.

A memo signed by Sessions gives the Justice Department until the end of June to report on its findings, according to Reuters.

“The internet has given us amazing new tools that help us work, communicate, and participate in our economy, but these tools can also be exploited by criminals, terrorists, and enemy governments,” Sessions said in a statement.

The task force, which will include representatives from the Justice Department and FBI, has been criticized for its lack of a clear vision.

“This step basically takes a number of really complicated parallel issues in ‘hard’ cybersecurity and ‘soft’ information security and throws them into the same amorphous task force,” said Graham Brookie, a cyber security aide in the Obama administration who now works at the Digital Forensic Research Lab at the Atlantic Council think tank.

Senate Confirms John Demers to Head DOJ’s National Security Division

By Steve Neavling

The Senate on Thursday confirmed John Demers to head the Justice Department’s national security division after a Republican senator lifted a hold on his confirmation over a dispute on marijuana.

Demers, an attorney for Boeing and former member of the Justice Department’s national security division team, is set to become assistant attorney general for national security.

“John Demers was on the leadership team at the creation of the National Security Division, which today plays a crucial role in protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

“I am grateful to the Senate for confirming John and I look forward to his return to the department, where his significant experience in both the private sector and public service will most certainly benefit the American people.”

The confirmation was made possible after Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado lifted a hold on the nomination over a dispute with Sessions’ zealous crackdown on marijuana, even in states that legalized pot.

“I have decided to lift my holds on the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, United States Attorneys, and United States Marshals as an act of good faith,” Gardner said in a statement. “My holds on all other DOJ nominees will remain in place as discussions continue.”

Other Stories of Interest

Sessions Lashes Out at GOP Senator Over Marijuana Policy Dispute

AG Jeff Sessions testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

By Steve Neavling

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has compared marijuana to heroin, blamed pot for spikes in violence and declared that “good people don’t smoke it,” lashed out at a senator from Colorado over a controversial pot policy.

“Too often, we’ve seen bad judgements, even politics enter into the work that we do,” Sessions said in a speech at a National Sheriffs’ Association meeting, according to Forbes. “We’re trying to confirm a number of important component heads at the Department of Justice.  It’s just getting to be frustrating, I’ve gotta tell you. Our nominee to the National Security Division — the anti-terrorism division — was approved unanimously in the committee. But because right now one senator’s concerns over unrelated issues — like reversing federal law against marijuana — we can’t even get a vote.”

Sessions was referring to Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican who has prevented the attorney general’s Justice Department nominees from being confirmed as part of a protest over Sessions’ decision to revoke an Obama-era policy that encouraged federal prosecutors to respect state laws on marijuana. Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level because the government stopped funding research to determine whether cannabis has medicinal benefits. 

Gardner said he voted to confirm Sessions’ nomination as attorney general because the former senator pledged not to make marijuana a major issue for the Justice Department.

“I have not changed my decision to hold these nominations until we have a commitment that lives up to what I believe was given to me prior to the confirmation,” Gardner said.

Other Stories of Interest

Trump Reportedly Considering Asking Sessions to Prosecute Special Counsel Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller.

By Steve Neavling

Donald Trump has considered asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the president, his former aides and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

NBC reports that Trump told friends that prosecuting Mueller is a better alternative to firing him because a termination “would not only create a firestorm, it would play right into Mueller’s hands,” according an unidentified Trump companion. 

Here’s how it would work: ‘We’re sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won’t be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury,'” said one Trump adviser.

It’s unclear what charges Mueller would face since he was appointed by Trump’s Justice Department.

Numerous news reports last week revealed that Trump told the White House counsel that he wanted to fire Mueller, but the attorney threatened to resign if the president pushed forward with that plan. Even some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, said firing Mueller would likely end in impeachment

Trump and his allies in Congress have chosen a third option – discrediting the investigation as an anti-Trump crusade.

The White House didn’t respond to questions about the possibility of prosecuting Mueller, whose investigation so far has produced indictments against four former Trump associates.

DOJ Turns Over Documents about AG Sessions’ Proposed Resignation

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing in January.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department tuned over documents to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team revealing Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ proposed resignation last year.

ABC News reports that the documents were handed over to the DOJ before Sessions was interviewed by Mueller as part of the investigation that now includes allegations that the president obstructed justice by interfering with the probe. 

Trump was furious with Sessions when he recused himself in the Russia probe, which enabled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Mueller in May to investigate possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions offered to resign last year because he “needed the freedom to do his job,” but the New York Times reported at the time the Trump didn’t accept the idea. 

Special Counsel Probe Reaches Trump’s Inner Circle with AG Sessions Interview

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling

The special counsel investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has officially penetrated the president’s inner circle.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of legal experts dive deeper into allegations against President Trump and his former and current associates, the New York Times reported. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what questions were posed to Sessions, but he is a key witness in several targets of the probe: During the campaign, Sessions met with several Russian officials and was involved in developing Trump’s positions on Russia.

The attorney general also may have information about the firing of then-FBI director James Comey.

The president’s relationship with Sessions has been rocky since he recused himself in any future investigations involving Trump’s campaign since the former Alabama senator had close ties  of his close ties to the campaign.

So far, Mueller’s investigation has produced indictments against four former Trump campaign.

Trump’s FBI Director Threatened to Quit After Sessions Pressured Him to Fire Deputy Direct

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray was preparing to resign after he said he came under relentless pressure from the Trump administration to fire his deputy director, who triggered the special counsel investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Wray, who took the helm at the FBI after the Senate confirmed him in August, responded that he would resign if his deputy, Andrew McCabe, was forced out, according three sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Axios reported

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was leading the charge to fire McCabe, urging Wray to make a “fresh start” and fire his deputy, who had come under repeated attacks by Trump.

McCabe recently announced he plans to retire by March.

Wray was appointed by Trump after the president fired then-FBI Director James Comey, allegedly for refusing to stop investigating Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security advisor who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents in December 2016.

Some legal experts have said Trump committed obstruction of justice when he fired Comey.