Posts

31347215055_04e638df97_b

Sessions: We Will Seek to Put Leakers in Jail

Asked on Thursday if arresting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a Justice Department priority, Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated the answer is yes.

“We are going to step up our effort — and already are stepping up our efforts — on all leaks,” Sessions told a news conference in El Paso, Texas.

“This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks, and some of them are quite serious,” Sessions said.

“So, yes, it is a priority. We already have begun to step up our efforts, and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,” he added.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo last week described WikiLeaks as a “hostile non-state intelligence agency.” He accused Assange of making “common cause with dictators,” by giving repressive regimes a free pass, while exploiting “the legitimate secrets of democratic governments.” (Read more from “Sessions: We Will Seek to Put Leakers in Jail” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Jeff_Sessions_(28754197084)

5 Takeaways From Jeff Sessions’ Border Enforcement Trip

“We hear you and we have your back.”

That is the message Attorney General Jeff Sessions shared with Customs and Border Protection personnel in Nogales, Arizona, on the U.S. southern border Tuesday.

In a speech Tuesday, Sessions announced five changes to immigration prosecution and enforcement:

1. A crackdown on individuals who transport and harbor illegal immigrants. Sessions said, according to his prepared remarks, “We are going to shut down and jail those who have been profiting off this lawlessness—people smuggling gang members across the border, helping convicted criminals re-enter this country, and preying on those who don’t know how dangerous the journey can be.”

2. Aggressive punishments for individuals crossing the border. Sessions said, “Where an alien has unlawfully entered the country, which is a misdemeanor, that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter or attempt [to] enter a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present.”

3. Serial border crossers will face harsher charges. Sessions said, “Aliens that illegally re-enter the country after prior removal will be referred for felony prosecution,” with a priority given to those who show “indicators of gang affiliation, a risk to public safety, or criminal history.”

4. An inclusion of fraud and identity theft charges. Sessions said, “Where possible, prosecutors are directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identity theft—the latter carrying a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.”

5. Law enforcement officers will be protected. Sessions said, “I have directed that all 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer—that’s all of you—a top priority.”

In addition to these prosecution adjustments, Sessions announced several other changes to the Department of Justice and its nationwide offices.

Sessions said that “each U.S. attorney’s office, whether on the border or interior, will designate an assistant United States attorney as the border security coordinator for their district.”

In an effort to reduce the backlog of illegal immigration cases, Sessions said, “We will put 50 more immigration judges on the bench this year and 75 next year.”

Praising President Donald Trump’s efforts to make immigration enforcement a priority, Sessions cited that in March of this year “we saw a 72 percent drop [in illegal crossings] compared to the month before the president was inaugurated.” He added, “That’s the lowest monthly figure for at least 17 years.”

Sessions made it very clear that these policies will be strictly enforced, saying, “For those that continue to seek improper and illegal entry into this country, be forewarned: This is a new era. This is the Trump era.” (For more from the author of “5 Takeaways From Jeff Sessions’ Border Enforcement Trip” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

6235841005_2c1baba0b3_b (3)

How Jeff Sessions Plans to Fight Back Against Sanctuary Cities

The Justice Department will start enforcing federal immigration laws by discontinuing the funding of sanctuary cities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday while speaking at the White House.

If carried out, this new policy will result in the loss of federal money for cities that permit residents to be illegal immigrants, as Sessions stated that the Justice Department will avoid using its $4.1 billion in grant money to fund sanctuary cities. The attorney general added that the DOJ will even “claw back” funds from jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws.

“The Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for DOJ grants to certify compliance with [U.S. Code 1373] as a condition of receiving those awards,” Sessions said.

U.S. Code 1373 is a law stating that localities cannot prevent the federal government from enforcing the nation’s laws on immigration. The law also regulates communications between local agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Countless Americans would be alive today … if these policies of sanctuary cities were ended,” Sessions said.

Sessions said following this policy was simply enforcing policies put in place by the Obama White House a year ago, as the previous administration made similar threats to sanctuary cities but did not act on the threats in the way Sessions is proposing.

“I strongly urge our nation’s states and cities and counties to consider carefully the harm they are doing to our citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to rethink these policies,” Sessions said. “When cities and states refuse to enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe.”

“We have simply got to end this policy,” Sessions said.

The DOJ’s targeting of sanctuary cities follows a January executive order from President Donald Trump aimed at improving border security and enforcing immigration laws.

Hans von Spakovsky, an immigration law expert at The Heritage Foundation, views this sanctuary city policy as a step in the right direction.

“This is a long-needed move by the Justice Department. The federal government’s chief law enforcement agency should not be giving any funds to cities or states that are obstructing federal enforcement of our immigration laws through sanctuary policies,” von Spakovsky said. (For more from the author of “How Jeff Sessions Plans to Fight Back Against Sanctuary Cities” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Jeff_Sessions_by_Gage_Skidmore_3

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Jeff_Sessions_(28754197084)

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

6235841005_2c1baba0b3_b (2)

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Jeff_Sessions_(29090205550)

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

29299670541_edb4b11cb7_b

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Jeff_Sessions_(29090205550)

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

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)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.