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Tag: Justice Department

LA Times: AG Sessions Must Recuse Himself from Probes of Trump Ties to Russia

AG Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing.

AG Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing.

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

If Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with efforts by Russia to help him defeat Hillary Clinton — a nightmare scenario for which no evidence has been produced so far — it would be first and foremost a political and constitutional crisis. But it also likely would involve violations of federal law. And even if such collusion  didn’t take place, there could be other matters involving Russia and Trump associates that would require decisions by the Department of Justice.

That department is now headed by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, who as a senator from Alabama was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s candidacy. And President Trump, as he made clear at his stream-of-consciousness news conference last Thursday, rejects concerns about improper relationships between his campaign and Russia as a “ruse” and “fake news” fabricated  “to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats.”

Given these facts, Sessions must recuse himself from any decision pertaining to those relationships

Former DOJ Official Warns Europe of Russia Meddling in Elections

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Justice Department official warned European countries about the risks of Russia launching cyber attacks to meddle in their elections.

Former Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who served in the Obama administration, said the U.S. wasn’t aggressive enough to deter hacking and leaking of Democratic Party emails prior to the presidential election, Reuters reports. 

“What we did was too late,” Carlin said during a panel discussion on election hacking at the RSA cybersecurity conference. “We weren’t bringing deterrence at all to the table.”

U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia hacked the Democratic Paty nan effort to disrupt the election and swing it in favor of Trump.

“Pre-election, it’s vital that not just the United States but partners like Germany, like France make it clear what the red line is, that there’s going to be strong deterrence and that in terms of deterrence, our policy has got to be we are going to take action until the action stops,” Carlin said.

“So there is no ceiling on the level we will ratchet up the deterrence when you are undermining a core value.”

Detroit Free Press: What Did President Trump Know about Flynn’s Talks with Russia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Editorial Board
Detroit Free Press

What did the president know and when did he know it?

That’s the question reasonable people in the Justice Department, the national security bureaucracy, and the Congress are asking themselves in the wake of Michael Flynn’s abrupt ouster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

Flynn may have set a new indoor record for cabinet-level malfeasance when he was forced to resign scarcely three weeks into his tenure. His departure came after the U.S. Justice Department warned the White House that U.S. intelligence agencies had intercepted a Dec. 29 phone conversation in which Flynn hinted to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that Trump would revisit the punitive sanctions then-President Barack Obama had imposed on Kislyak’s government earlier that day.

Trump has criticized the sanctions, which the Obama administration ordered in retaliation for Russian interference in the U.S. election, and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his restrained reaction to them.

It is illegal for civilians to negotiate foreign policy on behalf of the U.S. government, and Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, vehemently denied discussing sanctions with Kislyak during the transition. Among the administration officials who rose to his defense was Vice President Mike Pence, who reiterated the national security adviser’s denials in a televised interview.

But Flynn began revising his account last weekend after reports surfaced that the Justice Department had reported the incriminating intercepts to the White House, and in his resignation letter he apologized for providing Pence with what he described as an “incomplete” summary of his telephone conversation with Kislyak.

To read more click here. 

DEA Removes Misleading Information about Marijuana from Its Website

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has removed from its website information deemed inaccurate about marijuana following months of public pressure.

Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to making cannabis legal, filed a legal request with the Justice Department last year in hopes of forcing the DEA to remove factually inaccurate information, the L.A. Daily Post reports. 

The nonprofit claimed there were more than 25 false statements on the DEA’s website, including inaccuracies about marijuana causing psychosis and irreversible cognitive declines.

“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses. The federal government now admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug, and doesn’t cause long-term brain damage, or psychosis. While the fight to end stigma around cannabis is far from over, this is a big first step.”

Justice Department Defends Trump’s Travel Restrictions in Appeals Court

Protest at Wayne State University in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest at Wayne State University in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is defending President Trump’s travel restrictions, saying the executive order was a “lawful exercise of the president’s authority” and did not amount to a ban on Muslims.

The Justice Department filed a 15-page brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is taking up the case today to determine whether a federal judge in Seattle made the right decision to lift the travel restrictions nationwide.

The federal judge said Trum’s executive order violates the constituent’s guarantee of due process and discriminates on the basis of religion.

“But even if some relief were appropriate, the court’s sweeping nationwide injunction is vastly overbroad,” the Justice Department argued in the brief.

Trump made an unprecedented attack on the independent judiciary, saying the Seattle judge was putting Americans in danger.

“If something happens blame him and court system,” Trump tweeted.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also is expected to determine whether the Seattle judge had the authority to lift the ban nationwide.

Marijuana Advocates Worried Trump Administration Will Crack Down on Legal Pot

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Marijuana advocates are bracing for what could be a harsh crackdown on pot in states where it’s legal for recreational and medicinal use.

The biggest concern is Trump’s choice for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who 10 months ago in a Senate hearing room said “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Eight states have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Under Obama’s administration, the federal policy was to let states set their own laws.

“There are people in this administration who will crush this industry if they see the opportunity,” Steve DeAngelo, a guru among pot entrepreneurs, told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t think people who don’t have firsthand experience with the irrationality of federal intervention understand what a threat we are facing.”  

White House Press Secretary Defends Firing of Acting Attorney General

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer defended President Trump’s decision to fire Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, saying she serves at the pleasure of the executive branch. 

President Trump Fires Acting AG Yates for Defying Executive Order on Immigration

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday after she refused to defend his executive order on immigration.

Yates served as deputy attorney general for the Obama administration and named the acting attorney general until Sen. Jeff Session is confirmed.

In the meantime, the Trump administration appointed Dana Boente, 63, to serve as acting attorney general. Boente served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, NBC News reports.

Yates had directed Justice Department lawyers not to defend the executive order, but Boente rescinded the directive.

Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” the White House said in a statement, adding: “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with [the Justice Department’s] responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Yates wrote. “For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”

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