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Tag: Justice Department

Federal Judge Mostly Rejects Justice Department’s Bid to Block California’s Sanctuary Laws

Sanctuary city concept and illegal immigration law government enforcement policies as a highway sign directing to welcoming immigrants with no legal status as a 3D illustration.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration has been continually fighting the concept of sanctuary cities. But the judiciary has not always been helpful in that battle.

The latest: A federal judge on Thursday mostly rejected a bid by the Justice Department to block California’s “sanctuary state” laws, which enact policies friendly to undocumented immigrants, the Washington Post reports, adding:

In a 60-page ruling, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez said most of the laws, which limit how state businesses and law enforcement agencies can work with federal immigration authorities, are “permissible exercises of California’s sovereign power.”

The judge said California was within its rights to allow state authorities to inspect immigrant detention facilities, and to bar state law enforcement agencies from providing release dates or other personal information to federal immigration authorities. He blocked portions of one law which imposed heavy fines on businesses that gave immigration authorities access to their facilities and records without a court order.

Mueller Taps Additional Justice Department Resources for His Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Where this all ends, and when it ends, is anyone’s guess.

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is tapping additional Justice Department resources for help with new legal battles as his year-old investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 election continues to expand, Bloomberg reports, adding:

As Mueller pursues his probe, he’s making more use of career prosecutors from the offices of U.S. attorneys and from Justice Department headquarters, as well as FBI agents — a sign that he may be laying the groundwork to hand off parts of his investigation eventually, several current and former U.S. officials said.

Mueller and his team of 17 federal prosecutors are coping with a higher-then-expected volume of court challenges that has added complexity in recent months, but there’s no political appetite at this time to increase the size of his staff, the officials said.

Ex-Sheriff Joe Claims Justice Department Meddled in His Failed 2016 Campaign

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If anything, ex-Maricopa County Sheriff and congressional candidate Joe Arpaio knows how to grab headlines.

The latest: He’s  asking the U.S. Justice Department to look into his claim that the agency meddled in his unsuccessful 2016 campaign for sheriff, KTAR News reports.

Arpaio alleges that the Justice Department tried to sway voters against him by pushing a criminal contempt of court case against Arpaio just weeks before the election.

 

Former Senate Staffer Charged With Lying to FBI Wants Trump To Shut Up About His Case

Jim Wolfe (Linkedin photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

James Wolfe, former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee charged with lying to FBI agents, wants President Donald Trump to shut up.

His lawyer filed a motion on Tuesday to prevent anyone involved with his case — up to and including President Donald Trump — from speaking publicly about the case, CNN reports.

Wolfe’s attorney writes that comments made by Trump and senior Justice Department officials “have threatened Mr. Wolfe’s right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment” with an impartial jury and the presumption of innocence, CNN reports.

Last week Trump told reporters that “It’s very interesting that they caught a leaker … it’s a very important leaker.”
Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement last week that the allegations were “doubly troubling as the false statements concern the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and confidential information.”

Wolfe’s attorney points out that his client has never been charged with leaking classified info.

National Review: Serious Problems at the FBI and Justice Department

By Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review 

It has become a refrain among defenders of the FBI and Justice Department that critics are trying to destroy these vital institutions. In point of fact, these agencies are doing yeoman’s work destroying themselves — much to the chagrin of those of us who spent much of our professional lives proudly carrying out their mission.

The problem is not the existence of miscreants; they are an inevitable part of the human condition, from which no institution of any size will ever be immune. The challenge today is the ethos of law-enforcement. You see it in texts expressing disdain for lawmakers; in the above-it-all contempt for legislative oversight; in arrogant flouting of the Gang of Eight disclosure process for sensitive intelligence (because the FBI’s top-tier unilaterally decides when Bureau activities are “too sensitive” to discuss); in rogue threats to turn the government’s law-enforcement powers against Congress; and in the imperious self-perception of a would-be fourth branch of government, insulated from and unaccountable to the others — including its actual executive-branch superiors.

To read the full column click here.

Washington Post Editorial: Reputation of Justice Department ‘Is Now More In Danger Than It Has Been Since Watergate’

President Donald Trump

By The Washington Post Editorial Board

THURSDAY BROUGHT a sad moment for the Justice Department. The department filed a brief in a frivolous legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But instead of following nearly all past practice, the department sided with the challengers. Defending major, duly passed federal statutes is a core Justice Department responsibility. If it defended only laws the president liked, uncertainty about the permanence of many laws would reign, particularly as the presidency changed hands.

There is some precedent for the Justice Department’s move. During the Obama presidency, the department declined to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that, though noxious, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed. Government lawyers should have defended it up to the point at which the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. By declining to do so, they inadvertently gave the department’s current leadership some cover to refuse to defend Obamacare.

Yet there are big differences. The Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to legally united same-sex couples, was so obviously rooted in prejudice that it posed a major threat to important constitutional principles. The challengers to that law had by leaps and bounds the better side of the argument. The latest challenge to Obamacare, by contrast, is harebrained.

The editorial concludes:

The nation’s premier law enforcement agency built a reputation for evenhandedness and independence over the course of decades. That reputation is now more in danger than it has been since Watergate. The threat derives not from self-serving accusations that Justice officials conspired against Mr. Trump but from Mr. Trump and his enablers politicizing the department.

To read the full editorial click here.

Former DOJ Press Spokesman: Trump Administration Doesn’t Respect Press’s Need to Do Job

Matthew Miller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Matthew Miller, the former director of public affairs for the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, takes a swipe at the Trump Administration, telling the New York Times:

“I don’t think people in this administration respect the press’s need to do its job at all. And they couldn’t care less about bad press coverage. So both of the checks on what is otherwise their unfettered ability to use the law to obtain journalist records are kind of gone right now.”

Miller is quoted in an article in the Times which talks about the Justice Department seizing years of phone and email records from Ali Watkins, a New York Times journalist, raising concerns that the Trump administration is adopting a highly aggressive approach, continuing a crackdown that ramped up in the Obama years.

To be fair, the Obama administration obtained private records from reporters at Fox News and The Associated Press, triggering strong objections from the media.

The #3 Spot in Justice Department Remains Open, and For Good Reason

Rachel Brand (Doj photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The number three position at the Justice Department remains vacant, and for good reason, writes New York Magazine:

The Trump administration can’t seem to fill it, probably because the president has made it clear there’s a good risk of becoming the next target of his ire.

As President Trump continues to denigrate Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter, and his allies in Congress lay the groundwork for him to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the number-three position at Justice Department has been vacant since Rachel Brand stepped down in February. The official reason given for her departure was that she could not pass up the top legal position at Walmart, but NBC News reported that she told friends she felt “overwhelmed and unsupported” in the job, and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration has put filling the associate attorney general position on the back burner after several candidates expressed similar concerns. Since Sessions has recused himself, if Rosenstein were to do the same oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe would fall to the associate AG. In a Saturday Night Massacre situation, the number-three official could easily wind up as acting attorney general.

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