Attorney General Seeks Resignations of 46 US Attorneys

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is seeking the resignations of 46 United States attorneys who were appointed during the prior presidential administration, the Justice Department said Friday.

Many of the federal prosecutors who were nominated by former President Barack Obama have already left their positions, but the nearly four dozen who stayed on in the first weeks of the Trump administration have been asked to leave “in order to ensure a uniform transition,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

“Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney’s offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting and deterring the most violent offenders,” she said in a statement. (Read more from “Attorney General Seeks Resignations of 46 US Attorneys” HERE)

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Russia and Corruption: Jeff Sessions Versus the Clintons

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked, during his Senate confirmation hearing, if he had had contact with Russian officials during the late campaign on behalf of then-candidate Donald Trump. He quickly and candidly said no.

Turns out he did meet with the Russian Ambassador twice last year. Were I a bettor, I would place a healthy amount on the belief that the AG did not mention these meetings because they were so far removed from anything to relating to the Trump campaign that they did not even occur to him.

Then-Senator Sessions was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. Has it occurred to anyone that in that capacity, he might have wanted to speak to the ambassador of America’s leading challenger in the realm of nuclear weapons about its resurgent and deliberate nuclear re-armament?

Regardless, one thing is sure: President Trump’s chief rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, as well as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have deep ties to Russia, including ties that involve, potentially, Russia’s nuclear weapons capacity.

Bill & Hillary’s Excellent Uranium Payoff

In 2010, according to the New York Times, “leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who (had) been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family” sought access to uranium production facilities in the U.S. “Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Funny thing: Soon after, the Times reports, things got quite interesting for the Clintons. The president of Uranium One, as the company came to be known, “used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million” to the Clinton Foundation.

And that was just a fraction of what came pouring in: The Clinton Foundation received no less than $145 million from nine of Uranium One’s shareholders. As noted by Peter Schweizer, who exhaustively tracks the extensive corruption of the former first couple, “the deal allowed Rosatom, the Russian State Nuclear Agency, to buy assets that amounted to 20 percent of American uranium. Rosatom, by the way controls the Russian nuclear arsenal.”

Back to the Times: “Shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.”

$500,000 — yikes. As the former chief speechwriter for the Secretary of our country’s largest Cabinet department, I can only say that must have been one epic speech.

Skolkovo: Russian for “More Clinton Cash”

Then there’s the case of Skolkovo Innovation Center “Russia’s Silicon Valley.” Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pulled together a number of American high tech firms to underwrite Skolkovo. A number of these firms had already given to the Clinton Foundation and, soon, 17 of their Russian counterparts in Skolkovo also contributed to the Foundation. As Peter Schweizer notes, these “financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation (were in the) tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton.”

Sleazy enough, but only the first peel of a rancid onion: As explained by journalist Rudy Takala, “Government documents suggest Skolkovo’s work conflicted at least in part with U.S. military interests. The U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program described it in 2012 as a ‘vehicle for worldwide technology transfer to Russia in the areas of information technology, biomedicine, energy, satellite and space technology, and nuclear technology.’”

FBI Assistant Special Agent Lucia Ziobro, in a recent op-ed, affirmed these concerns: “The FBI recently released a notification to technology companies and research facilities … warning them of the possible perils of entering into joint partnerships with foreign venture capital firms from Russia … The FBI believes the true motives of the Russian partners, who are often funded by their government, is to gain access to classified, sensitive and emerging technology from the companies.”

Former presidents have access to pretty much whatever information they want. Certainly sitting Secretaries of State do. Yet Bill and Hillary Clinton, fully aware of the intimately close connections between Russian “private” industries, the Russian military, and the Putin regime, went forward with their Skolkovo initiative.

And one more: At one time, “Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta sat on the executive board of an energy company, Joule Unlimited, which received millions from a Putin-connected Russian government fund,” writes journalist Jerome Hudson. In addition, Podesta held 75,000 common shares in Joule which he later put in a “holding company.”

The Sad Circus

I have highlighted only the Clintons’ connections with Russia and its dangerous government. There is so much more in the vast archive of their multiple relationships with foreign governments, many of which have policies inimical to the interests of the United States. And still they continue to wander the globe selling influence and accruing massive wealth.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions is being assailed and unctuously belittled by the giants of the American Left, even today, for forgetting to mention a couple of meetings with the Russian Ambassador. This circus is a sad commentary on the character of our times. (For more from the author of “Russia and Corruption: Jeff Sessions Versus the Clintons” please click HERE)

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Government Watchdog Questions Sessions’ Need for Recusal From Russian Probe

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Thursday he would recuse himself from any Justice Department investigation that relates to the 2016 presidential campaign.

“My staff recommended recusal. They said since I had involvement in this campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign investigation,” Sessions said at a press conference Thursday.

“I have studied the rules and considered the comments and evaluations,” Sessions said. “I believe those recommendations are right and just. Therefore, I have recused myself in the matters that deal with the [Donald] Trump campaign.”

Sessions said he did not meet with Russian operatives about the election.

Some government ethics experts contend the recusal wasn’t necessary—at least not from a probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

He should only recuse himself from an illegal leak investigation that he was a victim of, said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group.

“He should only recuse himself from the investigation of illegal leaks because it relates to him, he was a victim,” Fitton told The Daily Signal.

Fitton said a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee meeting with a Russian ambassador seems rather routine. He said this is why he thinks it’s puzzling that even some Republican lawmakers are calling for Sessions to recuse himself in regard to investigating the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee communications.

“The real Russian scandal is that President Barack Obama’s team used the pretext of Russian interference in the election to justify wiretaps and illegal leaks of the Trump team, including a U.S. senator, now attorney general,” Fitton added. “The Russians’ interference in the elections is chasing unicorns, with these smoky allegations of collusion between the campaign and the Russian operatives, without evidence.”

Federal investigators reportedly examined communications between Sessions and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak from last year.

The conversations between the then-Alabama senator and the Russian ambassador cast doubt about Sessions’ testimony during the Senate Judiciary confirmation hearings, when he said he didn’t talk to Russians as a Trump campaign surrogate. The FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, and the Treasury Department are reportedly involved in the investigation.

Sessions said he would send a written explanation of his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

During the press conference, Sessions said he was “taken aback” by the question at the Senate hearing about campaign surrogate discussions with Russians.

“In retrospect, I should have slowed down and said I did meet with one Russian official a couple of times,” Sessions said.

Sessions said the conversation with the official became testy, and that he turned down a lunch invitation. Sessions noted they disagreed on the issue of Ukraine.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats have called for Sessions to resign from office for what he told the committee.

Republican lawmakers such as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as well as GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rob Portman of Ohio called for Sessions to recuse himself from the Russian investigation.

Fitton, of Judicial Watch, said Sessions would clearly have to recuse himself in a potential perjury investigation, but based on the questions and answers in the Judiciary hearing, it’s unlikely he could face a credible allegation.

Concurring with Fitton, it seems likely that Obama holdovers might be pushing these leaks to undermine the current administration, said Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department attorney in the George W. Bush administration, now a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“As president, Obama was 100 percent political during his administration and hasn’t stopped,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “The Sessions meetings are much ado about nothing if you look at the questions and answer from the hearing.”

During the confirmation hearing, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., asked Sessions: “If there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?”

Sessions responded, “I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have—did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

Separately, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Sessions in a questionnaire: “Several of the president-elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day?”

Sessions responded: “No.”

Sessions talked to Kislyak once in his office, in a meeting that Sessions spokesman Sarah Flores told The Wall Street Journal was about diplomatic matters. Sessions also spoke to Kislyak at a Heritage Foundation event held in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention, where Sessions was the keynote speaker at luncheon that was part of the forum.

A statement from The Heritage Foundation explained that in coordination with the State Department and other groups, it held a forum titled “Global Partners in Diplomacy” in Cleveland in July 2016, which was an educational program for ambassadors invited by the State Department to observe the Republican National Convention.

Topics at the conference included various regional issues, national security and trade, among numerous others, with State Department officials present at all program events. About 100 individuals attended the luncheon event where Sessions spoke, according to The Heritage Foundation.

The State Department handled coordination for ambassadors and did not provide The Heritage Foundation with a list of ambassadors that attended.

Flores told The Wall Street Journal that Sessions, as a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, had more than 25 conversations with ambassadors last year, including those from Britain, South Korea, Japan, Poland, India, China, Canada, Australia, and Russia.

During his tour of the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier on Thursday, reporters asked President Donald Trump if he still had confidence in Sessions, he answered, “Total.”

When asked if Sessions should recuse himself, Trump responded, “I don’t think so.”

Trump also said that he wasn’t aware of Sessions speaking with a Russian ambassador, and when asked if Sessions testified truthfully to the Senate, Sessions said, “I think he probably did.” (For more from the author of “Government Watchdog Questions Sessions’ Need for Recusal From Russian Probe” please click HERE)

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Senate Confirms Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

The Senate voted 52-47 Wednesday night to confirm Jeff Sessions, a longtime U.S. senator and former federal prosecutor, as the nation’s 84th attorney general.

Only one Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, joined Republicans in confirming Sessions, who voted “present.”

Sessions, a Republican representing Alabama in the Senate since 1997, will take over a Justice Department that conservatives see as tainted by political corruption during the Obama administration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., lauded President Donald Trump’s choice:

Senate Democrats who opposed their colleague’s nomination succeeded in delaying a Judiciary Committee vote while continuing to attack his character. Their tactics ultimately failed to deter Sessions’ confirmation by the full Senate, where Republicans have 52 seats.

During debate Tuesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., accused Sessions, 70, of trying to “chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens” when he was a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

The Senate subsequently voted to prohibit Warren from speaking for the remainder of the debate because she had broken a rule against “impugning” a fellow member of the Senate. Among her tweets after the vote:

During his legal career, supporters said, Sessions actually worked to desegregate schools in Alabama and brought criminal charges against Ku Klux Klan members. Blacks who worked with and for Sessions rallied to his defense and disputed 30-year-old allegations.

Before representing Alabama in the Senate, Sessions served as the state’s attorney general for two years and as a federal prosecutor there for 12 years. In 1986, the Senate rejected President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Sessions to a federal judgeship after liberal opponents such as the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., accused him of racism.

Trump announced Sessions as his choice to lead the Department of Justice in November, stating: “It is an honor to nominate U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general of the United States. … He is a world-class legal mind and considered a truly great attorney general and U.S. attorney in the state of Alabama.”

Christian Adams, a former Justice Department lawyer who is president and general counsel of Public Interest Legal Foundation, a nonprofit law firm that works to protect the integrity of elections, told The Daily Signal that Sessions will fight for equal justice under the law.

“Finally, the United States will again have an attorney general that stands for all of the law—not just what he agrees with,” Adams said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal, adding:

Sessions has an immense task before him. He will inherit a department filled with employees that have dedicated their careers to prioritizing ideological advancement over equal enforcement of law. Despite this, I am wholly confident that Jeff Sessions is the right man for the job.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal and legislative organization, said he is excited about the fresh perspective Sessions will bring to the job. In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Sekulow said:

After eight years of a Justice Department that was deeply politicized and incapable of doing its job, I am truly delighted that Attorney General Sessions will be at the helm of one of the most critical departments in our government.

In contrast to the one Senate Democrat who voted for Sessions, 10 Republicans voted to confirm his immediate predecessor, Loretta Lynch, and 19 voted to confirm President Barack Obama’s first attorney general, Eric Holder, in 2009.

Sessions long has supported enforcing and reforming immigration law, and he backed Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the border with Mexico.

During the Republican presidential primary, Sessions was the first senator and one of the only members of Congress to endorse Trump.

He was a member of major Senate committees, including Judiciary, Budget, and Armed Services.

(For more from the author of “Senate Confirms Jeff Sessions as Attorney General” please click HERE)

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Limbaugh: Liberals Are Putting Conservatism, Not Just Sen. Sessions, on Trial

The Senate confirmation hearings for Sen. Jeff Sessions’ attorney general nomination show that the liberal establishment learned nothing from the 2016 elections and will continue to wage war on conservatives as if they were enemies of the republic — and humanity.

Democratic attacks on Sessions are not grounded in any concern that he is a racist or has something terrible in his ancient history. They know that Sessions is not a racist and that he is an honorable man. His disqualifying sin, in their eyes, is that he is a conservative — and a Southern one at that, which makes it even easier to demonize him as a bigot.

For if you watched the hearings, you saw that it was not Sessions particularly who was on trial but conservatism and all subscribing to it.

Nor is the rule of law a genuine concern to Democrats, despite their gnashing of teeth over faux fears that Sessions would refuse to enforce certain progressive laws already on the books. They only care about the rule of law when invoking it benefits them politically. In fact, one of the main reasons they oppose Sessions is that he indeed is committed to the rule of law and the impartial administration of justice. They are agenda-oriented above all and willfully trample the rule of law when it interferes with their progressive ends.

When Republicans grill liberal nominees for judicial and executive positions, which is rare, they don’t badger them over their political views. They don’t shame them for the crime of being liberal. They press them on whether they would honor the Constitution and the rule of law and whether they would act within the legal constraints of their positions. But Democratic interrogation of Republican nominees invariably descends into a shaming of the nominee for his political beliefs — or for his votes on measures they disagree with, even when the votes are for measures that are unarguably constitutional.

The liberal establishment in the Democratic Party and in the liberal media (and Hollywood and academia) simply cannot grasp that half the country is conservative. In fact, 11 percent more Americans identify as conservatives than as liberals.

It never occurs to most of these leftist movers and shakers that conservatives have noble and justifiable reasons for their views. They oppose Obamacare not because they have no compassion for the poor and downtrodden but because it is destroying everything in its path — because it raises rates and reduces quality of care and medical choices. They don’t oppose radical, reckless and economically smothering environmental policies because they don’t care about clean air and water, because they place their selfish financial interests above the health and welfare of Americans or because they are science deniers. They reject the presumptuous, dishonest and extreme conclusions of a make-believe, highly politicized scientific consensus, and they know that the left’s proposed draconian measures wouldn’t materially alleviate the problems even if they exist and are man-made as the left speciously contends. They oppose the flooding of our borders with immigrants who aren’t coming legally and the admission of insufficiently vetted potential terrorists not because they are bigoted toward Muslims or uncompassionate for people but because they believe in preserving the American idea and in protecting American citizens. They oppose confiscatory taxes and continued escalations of the national debt not because they are sinister engineers of ever greater income inequality (which liberal policies actually exacerbate) but because these things cripple the nation’s economic engines and reduce prosperity across the board. They are not opponents but champions of voting rights because they demand that people who vote be actually legally entitled to vote. They oppose abortion not because they disrespect and undervalue women but because they value all human life, especially the most innocent. They support a strong military not because they are imperialists and want to impose American will throughout the planet but because they believe American strength is conducive to peace. The same analysis applies to almost any political issue. Conservatives’ views are prudential and morally sound.

But listen to Meryl Streep — both the content of her patronizing remarks and her condescending tone. Listen to Sen. Pat Leahy, Sen. Cory Booker and their fellow Democrats castigating Sessions for his reasonable votes on issues that happen to interfere with the sacred liberal agenda.

Americans — at least half of us — are tired of being maligned by the left as evil, stupid and bigoted because we won’t fall in lockstep with this agenda.

One might think that after eight years of failed liberal policies, Democrats would be more inclined to eat crow than to lecture the rest of America for rejecting their manifestly destructive policy prescriptions. If so, one would be wrong and wholly ignorant of the liberal worldview and mindset.

It’s bad enough that liberals can never accept accountability for their failures, but it is really unbearable to listen to their highhanded, misguided lectures. They lost for a reason, but they’ll never stop fighting and trying to shame the rest of us, so kudos to President-elect Donald Trump for giving it back to them even better than they are dishing it out. How refreshing. Finally! (For more from the author of “Limbaugh: Liberals Are Putting Conservatism, Not Just Sen. Sessions, on Trial” please click HERE)

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How a Jeff Sessions Justice Department Can Change Course on Crime

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ two-day marathon confirmation hearing left Americans with many takeaways—some on his many qualifications for the office of United States attorney general to which President-elect Donald Trump has nominated him, and others on the merit, or lack thereof, of his opposition.

In the weeks leading up to this hearing, opponents in Congress and the media grossly misrepresented Sessions’ record on several issues, including crime and criminal justice.

There were consistent themes throughout the testimonies at Sessions’ hearing that touch upon criminal justice issues and how the next attorney general might approach these matters differently from the current administration. These include support for law enforcement, respect for the rule of law, enforcement of immigrations laws, and punishing bad actors, not innocent third-parties, for white-collar crime.

Support for Law Enforcement

Sessions captured in his opening remarks the reality for law enforcement under President Barack Obama’s leadership:

[I]n the last several years, law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable actions of a few bad actors. They believe the political leadership of this country abandoned them.

Sessions showed concern for police deaths and a commitment to reducing them, noting that “last year, while under intense public criticism, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty increased 10 percent” from 2015. He said that “this must not continue.

Sessions’ supportive stance toward police is bolstered by the words of Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, who called Sessions “a true partner to law enforcement” whose record demonstrates his commitment to “officer safety.”

In particular, Sessions remarks on the importance of community policing, the building of trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, and the need for law enforcement officers to protect all communities could signal a strong approach for addressing increased crime rates in certain cities, including Chicago.

Respect for the Rule of Law

Sessions also testified, as Heritage Foundation scholars have long observed, that “we have eroded respect for law and the whole constitutional structure where Congress makes the laws, not the executive branch.”

The Obama administration consistently took unilateral action to change the law—from refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act or enforce federal drug laws, to enforcing agency guidance documents (e.g. on private employment practices, or the sale of non-Affordable Care Act compliant health policies)—rather than the law as passed by Congress.

In a positive break from the Obama administration, Sessions noted that a guidance document is not an “amendment of the law” and that “department and agency attorneys don’t have the ability to rewrite the law to make it say what they would like it to say.”

Sessions consistently professed reverence for the Constitution and separation of powers, stating that regardless of whether he supported legislation as a senator, once he becomes attorney general he will ensure that the laws as passed by Congress are “properly and fairly enforced.”

As part of his pledge to “never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute,” Sessions vowed to recuse himself in any future investigations involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Such clear respect for the rule of law would greatly reduce the partisan culture that has built up within the Justice Department under Obama.

Enforcing Immigration Laws

The topic of immigration also loomed large throughout the hearing, and here Sessions also showed dedication to the separation of powers and the rule of law. Heritage scholars have noted how the Obama administration wrongly claimed “that its authority to set priorities and exercise prosecutorial discretion allowed it to institute an amnesty scheme without congressional action, despite the laws against illegal immigration.”

Sessions was spot on when he stated that “this country has every right to deport persons who are here unlawfully; who violate our criminal laws … and they should indeed be promptly deported.”

“If you continue to go through a cycle of amnesty,” he went on, “you undermine respect for the law and you encourage more illegal immigration into America.” Sessions’ statements indicate that as attorney general, he will leave immigration and deportation policy as a matter for Congress to decide rather than trying to set immigration policy through the back door.

Cracking Down on White-Collar Crime

Sessions’ testimony indicated disagreement with the Obama Justice Department on the issue of white-collar crime, another area where the current Justice Department has occasionally pursued dubious enforcement policies.

Although Obama’s Justice Department promised to hold individual wrongdoers criminally accountable for white-collar crime, it would far more often hold the corporate entity accountable.

Heritage legal scholar Paul Larkin has explained how corporate criminal liability can be problematic. For starters, it is less efficient than tort liability to redress corporate wrongdoing, writes Larkin, and it is “unfair to innocent employees, retirees, and stockholders.” Imposing heavy fines and penalties on the corporate entity, after all, punishes those individuals for someone else’s misconduct.

At Sessions’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii., asked Sessions whether he would continue investigations into white-collar crime and corporate wrongdoing and hold “individual corporate office holders” accountable for violating the law.

Sessions answered that “corporations are subject as an entity to fines and punishment for violating the law, and so are the corporate officers. And sometimes it seems to me … that the corporate officers who caused a problem should be subjected to more severe punishment than stockholders of the company who didn’t know anything about it.”

As Heritage scholars have written elsewhere, Sessions’ view is correct: “Just as ‘a corporation can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people,’ a criminal punishment, if it is to serve any special purpose not already accomplished by a civil fine, must inflict pain on one or more corporate directors, officers, or employees” who violated the law.

Sessions also pledged to seek transparency in the department’s distribution of settlement funds—funds the Obama administration occasionally abused in handouts to politically favored third-party organizations.

Despite opposition from some Democratic senators, it seems clear that Sessions will be confirmed. His hearing also made clear that on issues from civil rights to criminal sentencing, as Heritage legal scholar Hans A. von Spakovsky writes, “[e]xpect Jeff Sessions to ensure that the department is once again run on a professional, ethical, objective, and nonpolitical basis—one that respects the Constitution, the rule of law, and the best interests of justice.” (For more from the author of “How a Jeff Sessions Justice Department Can Change Course on Crime” please click HERE)

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Official portrait Jonathan McElhaney

Some Constructive Criticism for Jeff Sessions

The confirmation hearing of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (C, 78%) earlier this week is the perfect occasion to discuss something we conservatives must be better at.

We almost always set aside the level of self-assessment and introspection necessary to achieve political victory, if the opportunity to rip on progressives distracts us like a cat infatuated with a spool of yarn. Sure, go ahead and have a little fun at their expense every now and then. I’ve been known to indulge myself a time or two, so who am I to judge? But if we’re not careful, we’ll descend into self-deception that amounts to little more than “four legs good, two legs bad” trolling.

Like when Sessions was hazed during his hearings by Code Pink protestors dressed up as members of the Ku Klux Klan, it was right and just to point out the Left’s undying penchant for Trump-electing self-destruction.

Or when MTV News writer Ira Madison III mocked Sessions’ Asian-American grandchildren by calling them “props,” and telling Sessions to “return this Asian baby to the Toys ‘R’ Us you stole her from.” You bet it was a moral imperative to demonstrate how modern-day progressives are Sith-level bigots.

However, when in the midst of defending your guy he wets the bed a bit, it requires a clean-up of your own mess. Otherwise, you will come to learn the hard way that it ain’t no fun when the rabbit’s got the gun.

While there was no end to our hot pursuit of Sessions’ enemies both during and after the confirmation hearing, I saw almost no discussion of merit about his own need to heal thyself on a matter of moral certainty. When confronted during his confirmation hearing on the merits of Roe v. Wade, Sessions went a wee bit wobbly. And that might actually be giving the prospective attorney general — who is also one of the best cabinet appointments Donald Trump has made for conservatives — the benefit of the doubt.

Sessions said that while he believed Roe v. Wade violated the Constitution, he went on to say that “it is the law of the land…and I would respect it and follow it.”

Now, I am on record as saying that Sessions was a strong pick to undo the damage done to our rule of law by the Holder/Lynch cabal. Yet in this instance the best case scenario is he missed a grand opportunity here. At worst, he has forsaken the very rule of law he’s long been known to champion.

For how on earth can the actual law of the land — the Constitution — be violated and yet the violation itself can somehow still be raised to the level of holy writ? To point out the fallacy here is not pedantic nor a distinction without a difference. If the Constitution is indeed the law of the land, then that which violates it by very definition illegal.

As in “forbidden by law or statute” according to the dictionary definition of the term. And since judges neither have the power to make laws or sign statutes into law, their opinions cannot unto themselves have the force of law. Let alone the power to become an unelected and permanent constitutional convention. Able to amend the Constitution on a whim outside the will of the people, whenever the new tolerance which tolerates no dissent demands.

This is the very progressive scam which the Holders and Lynches of the world have foisted upon us, so that they may impose their Leftists fantasies by fiat rather than risk rejection by the voters at the ballot box. In other words, this is anathema to the very rule of law we’re expecting Sessions to protect and defend as attorney general.

Now, maybe Sessions was just rope-a-doping or doing his best Rahab-the-harlot impression. As in smile and wave during the dog and pony show. Or living to fight another day by simply telling the lynch mob what it wants to hear at the time. All the while you’ve already aligned yourself with the righteous side, which will be revealed at the opportune time.

I could be convinced of that on some level. But clearly there must be some middle ground somewhere between taking a bullet to the face, and regurgitating our opponent’s statist talking points on the world’s biggest stage? If there is no clever rhetorical sleight of hand for such an occasion, then that is yet another failure of our movement to prepare our champions for such a time as this.

Besides, hasn’t Trump himself shown there is an audience for throwing out red meat to drive progressives and the media (but I repeat myself) bonkers by destroying their most cherished flawed premises?

Here’s hoping that going forward Attorney General Sessions will prove respecting and following that which violates the Constitution, like he says of Roe v. Wade, doesn’t mean what the Left thinks it means. (For more from the author of “Some Constructive Criticism for Jeff Sessions” please click HERE)

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Al Sharpton Makes Some Serious Charges Against Jeff Sessions. Here Are the Facts.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is organizing a resistance movement comprised of black civil rights leaders to protest the presidency of Donald Trump.

He showed up Tuesday at Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general. In an interview with The Daily Signal, Sharpton rehashed allegations of racism against the Alabama senator, claiming they were “found to be substantial.”

Here’s what Sharpton had to say—and The Daily Signal’s examination of the facts.

(For more from the author of “Al Sharpton Makes Some Serious Charges Against Jeff Sessions. Here Are the Facts.” please click HERE)

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8 Takeaways From the First Day of Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Hearings

It got rowdy at times during the hearing Tuesday on Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to become attorney general, but not so much because of fellow senators who questioned the Alabama Republican.

Protesters interrupted the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing multiple times, some dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfits, others wearing the familiar Code Pink attire. They shouted “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” and other slogans.

The hearing itself wasn’t as contentious as some expected, as even some Democrats noted their friendship with Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to run the Justice Department as attorney general.

Until Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., challenged Sessions on the precise number of civil rights cases he was involved in as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, there was little talk about the allegations of racism that helped sink Sessions’ 1986 nomination as a federal judge.

Here are eight takeaways from the first day of the Sessions confirmation hearings:

1. Racism Allegations ‘Damnably False’

During his opening remarks, Sessions confronted head-on allegations lodged 30 years ago by other Justice Department lawyers that he was hostile to civil rights.

“I was accused in 1986 of failing to protect the voting rights of African-Americans by presenting the Perry County case, the voter fraud case, and of condemning civil rights organizations and even harboring—amazingly—sympathies for the KKK,” Sessions told his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee. “These are damnably false charges.”

He explained that he brought a 1982 voter fraud case in Perry County, Alabama, against civil rights advocate Albert Turner at the urging of local prosecutors and a grand jury foreman.

“The voter fraud case my office prosecuted was in response to pleas from African-Americans, incumbent elected officials who claim that the absentee ballot process involved a situation in which the ballots cast for them were stolen, altered, and cast for their opponents,” Sessions said. “The prosecution sought to protect the integrity of the ballot, not to block voting. It was a voting rights case.”

Turner and others were acquitted.

Sessions noted his role as both a U.S. attorney and later as Alabama’s attorney general in the prosecution and execution of Klansman Henry Hays.

“As to the KKK, I invited civil rights attorneys from Washington, D.C., to help us solve a very difficult investigation into the unconscionable, horrendous death of a young African-American,” Sessions told the committee, adding:

There was no federal death penalty at the time and I felt the death penalty was appropriate in this case. I pushed to have it tried in state court, which was done. That defendant was indeed convicted and sentenced to death and 10 years later—ironically—as Alabama’s attorney general, my staff participated in a defense of that verdict. That murdering Klansman was indeed executed. I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology.

Sessions said he “never declared the NAACP was un-American nor that a civil rights attorney was a disgrace to his race,” as he had been accused of in 1986.

2. He’ll Recuse Himself on Clinton

Sessions said as attorney general he would recuse himself from any federal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation, because he publicly criticized the Democratic nominee during the 2016 presidential race.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, asserted her concerns during opening remarks.

“The president-elect said to his opponent during a debate, ‘If I win, I’m going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look at your situation,’” Feinstein said. “Mr. Chairman, that’s not what an attorney general does. An attorney general does not investigate and prosecute at the behest of a president.”

Later, Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, raised the question.

“In light of the comments that you made, some have pressed concern about whether you can approach the Clinton matter impartially in both fact and appearance. How do you plan to address those concerns?” Grassley asked.

Sessions said it was a highly contentious campaign.

“I, like a lot of people, made comments about the issues in that campaign with regard to Secretary Clinton and some of the comments I made I do believe could place my objectivity in question,” Sessions said. “I’ve given that thought. I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any kind of investigations involving Secretary Clinton and matters raised during the campaign.”

Later in the hearing, in response to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Sessions said he never joined the chants of “lock her up” during the presidential campaign.

3. Russian Espionage

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked whether Sessions would recuse himself and appoint a special prosecutor for an investigation of any Trump campaign officials that might have worked with Russian intelligence. Durbin said it was “a hypothetical.”

His decision to recuse himself from any Clinton probe was “because I’ve made public comments that could be construed as having an impact on the final judgment that would be rendered,” Sessions said, adding:

I don’t think I made any comments on this issue that would go to that. But I would review it and try to do the right thing as to whether or not it should stay within the jurisdiction of the attorney general or not.

Early in the hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked about the alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee and of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s email.

“How do you feel about a foreign entity trying to interfere in our election? I’m not saying they changed the outcome, but it is clear they did it. How do you feel about it and what should we do?” Graham asked.

Sessions called it a “a significant event.”

“We have penetration apparently throughout our government by foreign entities. We know the Chinese revealed background information on millions of people in the United States,” Sessions said, adding:

These I suppose ultimately are part of international big power politics. But when a nation uses their improperly gained or intelligence-wise gained information to take policy positions and impact other nation’s democracy or approach to any issue, then that raises real serious matters. Really I suppose it goes in many ways to our State Department and our Defense Department in how we as a nation have to react to that.

4. ‘Access Hollywood’ Video

In a line of questioning that seemed to catch Sessions off guard, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., brought up the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video, in which Trump is heard making lewd comments about groping women.

“If a sitting president or any other high federal official is accused of committing what the president-elect described in a context in which it could be federally prosecuted, would you be able to prosecute it and investigate it?” Leahy asked.

Sessions, who also agreed any such behavior would be sexual assault, said the president could be prosecuted.

“The president is subject to certain lawful restrictions and they would be required to be applied by the appropriate law enforcement official if appropriate, yes,” Sessions said.

5. Saying ‘No’ to President Trump

Sessions talked about how he would move from making law and voting on policy to enforcing laws—even laws he voted against—as a matter of duty. Stressing independence, he also said the attorney general is not a political office.

“He or she must be committed to following the law,” he said. “He or she must be willing to tell the president ‘no’ if he overreaches. He or she cannot be a mere rubber stamp to any idea the president has.”

He added:

He or she also must set the example for the employees in the department to do the right thing and ensure that they know the attorney general will back them up, no matter what politician might call, or what powerful special interest, influential contributor, or friend might try to intervene.

6. Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage

Feinstein pressed Sessions on two major social issues, abortion and same-sex marriage. Sessions said he would enforce the law on both.

“You have referred to Roe v. Wade as ‘one of the worst, colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time.’ Is that still your view?” Feinstein asked.

Sessions responded:

It is. I believe it violated the Constitution and really attempted to set policy and not follow law. It is the law of the land. It is established and has been so for a long time. It deserves respect, and I will respect it and follow it.

Asked later whether his Justice Department would argue before the Supreme Court in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the nation, Sessions said the question was too hypothetical.

Feinstein referred to a November interview that Trump gave on “60 Minutes” in which the president-elect said same-sex marriage was settled law. She asked whether Sessions agreed.

“It was 5-4 and five justices on the Supreme Court, the majority of the court has established the definition of marriage for the entire United States of America, and I will follow that decision,” Sessions said.

7. Illegal Immigration

On one of Trump’s signature issues, curbing illegal immigration, Sessions said the U.S. must enforce its laws. He also said Congress has a role in fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.

“Colleagues, it has not been working right,” Sessions said. “We’ve entered more and more millions of people illegally into the country. Each one of them produces some sort of humanitarian concern. But it is particularly true for children. We’ve been placed in a particularly bad situation.”

When the matter came up later, Sessions talked about the economic impact of illegal immigration.

“Immigration has been a high priority for the United States. We’ve been a leading country in the world in accepting immigration,” Sessions said, adding:

I don’t think the American people want to end immigration. I do think if you bring in a larger flow of labor than we have jobs for, it does impact adversely the wage prospects, the job prospects of American citizens. As a nation, we should evaluate immigration on whether or not it serves and advances the national interest and not the corporate interest. It has to be in the people’s interest first.

8. Operation Choke Point

Sessions briefly addressed Operation Choke Point, a secretive Justice Department program that works with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other agencies to target legal businesses—such as payday lenders, tobacco sellers, and gun dealers—that the Obama administration opposes.

Choke Point refers to the aim of discouraging banks and other lenders from doing business with these industries, thus choking off financing.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, later asked Sessions whether it is proper to target legal businesses for political reasons, and whether he would stop it if confirmed.

“At least as you framed this issue, as I understand the issue, from what little I know about it, fundamentally, a lawful business should not be attacked by having other lawful businesses pressured not to do business with the first business. For me that would be hard to justify,” Sessions said.

(For more from the author of “8 Takeaways From the First Day of Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Hearings” please click HERE)

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Official portrait Jonathan McElhaney

How Black Democrats Stole Votes in Alabama… And Jeff Sessions Tried to Stop It

The Left has lobbed many false charges at Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (C, 78%), Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general. But perhaps the most outrageous claim is that he tried to suppress African-American voters in 1985 by pursuing a voter fraud prosecution in Perry County, Alabama.

The bogus accusation would be laughable, were it not such a familiar tactic. But this is just another instance of so-called “progressives” going all out to protect their own — even when the victims are black voters.

Perry County is a rural county of about 10,000 residents in west-central Alabama in an area known as the Black Belt for its dark, rich soil. Its population is majority black (68.7 percent, according to the 2010 census) and overwhelmingly Democratic (Barack Obama received 73 percent of the vote in 2008). The key to winning any local office in Perry County is to win the Democratic primary.

Perry County has long been plagued by accusations of voter fraud in local elections. As former Alabama Democratic congressman Artur Davis said, “The most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community” that he saw in Alabama was “the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.”

On April 20, 1983, a local county grand jury (with a majority of black members and a black foreperson) issued a report concerning problems in the balloting process that targeted the “aged, infirmed, or disabled.” The grand jury called for the “vigorous prosecution of all violations of the voting laws” and requested “the presence and assistance of an outside agency, preferably federal, to monitor our elections and to ensure fairness and impartiality for all.”

But Sessions, the U.S. Attorney in the region, did not open a federal investigation into the 1982 election. In his Senate Questionnaire for the attorney general nomination, he explains that he was hoping it wouldn’t be necessary, that the county grand jury report would cause local activists to “conform to the law.” Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Instead, as LaVon Phillips, a black legal assistant in the Perry County district attorney’s office, later testified, her office received numerous complaints during the 1984 election cycle. Black voters and incumbent black officials reported that voters were receiving absentee ballots they had never requested. Moreover, she testified that local candidate Albert Turner was illegally picking up absentee ballots from voters.

A handwriting expert concluded that Turner had written in his own name on some of the absentee ballots. Other black voters had gone to the polls only to be told that someone had already voted in their names by absentee ballot.

What was happening? Perry County was embroiled in an intense political fight pitting one set of black Democratic candidates against another. But one side was apparently willing to do anything to win.

All of this culminated in the 1984 Democratic primary in which key county commission seats, as well as the tax assessor’s post and other local offices, were on the line. With one exception, all the serious candidates were black.

A week before the primary, Sessions said he received a call from District Attorney Roy Johnson informing him that two black Democratic candidates opposed by Turner — Reese Billingslea and Warren Kinard — “were convinced that fraud was occurring in the election.” Turner and others were collecting large numbers of absentee ballots that “were being taken to a central headquarters where the ballots were altered to ensure that they were marked for candidates endorsed by Turner.”

Billingslea and Kinard had information that the altered ballots would be taken to the county post office the night before the election to be mailed. They were “extremely concerned about the election and believed it was being stolen from them.” And sure enough, the night before the election, Turner and his wife Evelyn showed up at the post office with more than 300 ballots, while their co-conspirator Spencer Hogue, showed up with 170. All told, Turner and his minions mailed 504 of the 729 absentee ballots cast in the election.

According to Sessions, FBI analysis showed that at least 75 of the ballots had been altered, and 25 voters said they had not given their ballots to the Turners or Hogue for mailing. One African-American family of six voters (the Sheltons) testified that they had not given permission to change their votes — particularly since the candidate they had originally voted for was their cousin! Ultimately, Turner admitted changing the Sheltons’ absentee votes.

A 34-page federal grand jury indictment filed on Jan. 25, 1985 lays out in great detail the actions of the Turners and Hogue in the voter fraud case. The object of the conspiracy was to elect the candidates they had “supported and endorsed.” According to the indictment, they used Evelyn Turner’s position as a notary public to witness absentee ballots falsely in furtherance of the conspiracy.

The indictment also gives the lie to the spurious claim recently made by former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a member of the Turner/Hogue defense team. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick claims that Sessions based the case on the legal theory that it was a federal crime “for someone to help someone else to vote or to advise them how they should vote — even if and when they ask for such help.” As the indictment makes clear, that was not the theory of the case.

Neither the Turners nor Hogue were prosecuted for assisting voters. The indictment charges them with picking up absentee ballots to “open and fraudulently change those ballots that had not been marked for candidates supported and endorsed” by the defendants. They were prosecuted for allegedly casting “false, fictitious, spurious and fraudulently altered absentee ballots.”

Yet somehow, the Left would have us believe that this was a racist prosecution.

It’s a totally fabricated claim, spun from thin air by Sen. Ted Kennedy and his allies to block the 1986 appointment of Sessions to the federal bench and now resurrected by the NAACP and Democrats.

A Dec. 28, 2016 interview with Craig Donsanto confirms the deception. Now retired, Donsanto was the long-time head of the Election Crimes Unit inside the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Donsanto, who is now retired, was well-known in the U.S. election community and was a nationally recognized expert on election crimes.

Donsanto wrote the Justice Department’s manual on “Federal Prosecution of Election Offenses,” which is distributed to the 93 U.S. attorney’s offices across the country. During his more than 40 years as a prosecutor, Donsanto was the go-to authority inside the Justice Department for all election crime prosecutions — including the Perry County case. No one could file such a case without getting his OK.

Donsanto remembers the Perry County case well. Indeed, he was in Alabama at the federal courthouse when the grand jury voted to return the indictment, thereby initiating the formal charges.

“No federal prosecutor faced with the evidence seen by the grand jury would have failed to take the case and go forward with the prosecution,” Donsanto told me. “The evidence in the case was overwhelming. I was there with the other assistant U.S. attorneys and not one dissented — everyone thought it was a solid case. I told Jeff Sessions to go forward with the case.”

Donsanto did more than that. He helped prepare the indictment.

Donsanto is highly offended by any claims that the prosecution was racist. The federal prosecutors were “trying to protect black voters who were having their votes stolen,” he notes. Moreover, the investigation was initiated only after local black voters and candidates complained to the Justice Department. When asked about the fact that a jury found the defendants not guilty, Donsanto says that as a former federal prosecutor, he respects the jury system.

But there is no question in Donsanto’s mind that, given the overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing, this was an example of “jury nullification.” The defendants, he notes, “were local civil rights activists, and the jury was not going to find them guilty no matter what they did.”

How otherwise could one account for the jury, for example, discounting the testimony of all six members of the Shelton family that Turner had changed their ballots without their permission or knowledge?

The false claim of racism to cover up wrongdoing and the power struggle between black Democrats in Perry County, as well as the methods used to steal absentee ballots, is eerily similar to another voter fraud prosecution conducted by the Justice Department in nearby Greene County, Ala., 10 years later. Craig Donsanto was also intimately involved in that prosecution.

Greene County has almost the same size population as Perry County and is 80 percent black. Just like in the Perry County case, the Justice Department received calls from black Democratic candidates who said their election was being stolen through absentee ballot fraud by other black candidates and activists.

Suitcases full of absentee ballots were brought to the county post office the day before the 1994 election. The result of the federal investigation showed that the defendants submitted hundreds of fraudulent absentee ballots created through an assembly line process that forged signatures, altered ballots, and convinced some voters to sign blank ballots.

Fortunately, jury nullification did not happen in Greene County. Eleven local officials and activists were eventually convicted. But just as in Perry County, the Greene County defendants and civil rights organizations like the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (whose treasurer was convicted in this case) falsely alleged that the prosecution was a racist conspiracy intended to suppress black voters through “Gestapo” tactics. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund even defended some of the vote stealers, and NAACP officials met with Attorney General Janet Reno to try to convince her to drop the prosecution.

John Kennard, the first black official ever elected in Greene County, was one of the candidates who first contacted the FBI. He was outraged by the accusations made against the prosecutors and by the intercession of civil rights organizations on the side of the voter fraud conspirators instead of on behalf of the black candidates whose votes had been stolen.

In an angry letter to Julian Bond, then chairman of the NAACP, Kennard wrote that helping the vote stealers was “tantamount to … defending the policemen that used the fire hoses and dogs, and Eugene ‘Bull’ Conner in Birmingham, in the early 1960s.” According to Kennard, the defendants “knew they had a fail-safe way out, when all else fails … cry racism, intimidation and pretend they are victims when they were the perpetrators of this crime.”

In Perry County, Jeff Sessions and the other Justice Department lawyers were trying to protect black voters from having their right to vote stolen — a precious right that those voters had fought very hard to obtain during the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s. Unfortunately, a jury let the defendants off despite the evidence in the case, including testimony from black residents of the county about how their ballots had been altered and changed without their permission. And that is the real tragedy of this case.

As Craig Donsanto says, this was a prosecution intended to preserve and protect the right to vote, something to which he dedicated his entire professional career. Anyone who claims this was a racist prosecution by Jeff Sessions is, according to Donsanto, “a liar and a political opportunist of the worst kind.” (For more from the author of “How Black Democrats Stole Votes in Alabama… And Jeff Sessions Tried to Stop It” please click HERE)

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