Jeff Sessions

Opinion/Analysis: Jeff Sessions did many good things as attorney general and deserves our nation’s thanks

There is no question that Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who was fired Wednesday – had a rocky relationship with President Trump, tied to Session’s recusal from the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible collusion with Trump campaign. But Sessions’ firing on orders of President Trump should not diminish the fact that Sessions’ very commendable leadership over the past two years has helped restore the integrity of the Justice Department and get it back in the business of enforcing the law. As the 84th attorney general of the United States, Sessions renewed the Justice Department’s “emphasis on fighting violent crime, illegal immigration, and the drug epidemic,” according to former Attorney General Edwin Meese. The Obama administration had a very adversarial relationship with state and local law enforcement agencies, unfairly criticizing and taking actions against local police departments. It abused its authority far beyond the law in a way that hampered the ability of police officers to protect the public. Sessions stopped this abuse and restored the cooperative and productive relationship the Justice Department had long had with law enforcement. Sessions also put the power of the Justice Department behind the president’s promise to crack down on illegal immigration. In addition, Sessions went after sanctuary cities that try to obstruct federal immigration law and successfully defended (all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court) the power of the president to safeguard the country from illegal immigrants seeking entry from terrorist safe havens. On top of this, Sessions reinvigorated the Justice Department’s enforcement of our immigration laws. His particular emphasis on the dangers created by cities that provide sanctuaries for violent illegal immigrants was a change that should be welcomed by everyone – particularly the many American families that have been victimized by such violence. One of the biggest scams of the Obama administration involved the Justice Department entering into settlements and non-prosecution agreements that forced defendants to agree to make large payments not to actual victims or the U.S. Treasury, but to third parties that were not involved in the prosecution. Those third parties were often political allies of the Obama administration. The Justice Department was in essence abusing its law enforcement power to help create slush funds for left-wing advocacy organizations. With a Republican administration in control of the Justice Department, Sessions could have used the same corrupt practice to fund conservative advocacy organizations. Instead, he took the correct, ethical action – he ordered this practice stopped entirely. Sessions also stopped another practice the Obama administration used to avoid public (and legal) scrutiny of its policies. Federal law requires federal agencies that implement new regulations to go through an extensive public notice process. This is very important because it provides transparency in government decision-making and gives everyone who may be affected – from individuals to corporations –the ability to review and comment on proposed regulations. To evade this process, the Obama administration took to issuing so-called “guidance documents,” which it claimed were not regulations. Yet the administration would then go after anyone who did not abide by these guidance documents as if they were published regulations. At the direction of Attorney General Sessions, the Justice Department issued a memorandum forbidding its lawyers from treating agency guidance documents as authoritative law entitled to deference when the government brings a civil enforcement action in court against private parties. On Session’s watch, the Justice Department dropped several other questionable practices. For example, after years of opposing a commonsense voter ID law enacted by the Texas Legislature, the Justice Department reversed its position – and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the law was not discriminatory. The Justice Department under Sessions also opened investigations into schools like Harvard University accused of discriminating against Asian-American students. The Obama Justice Department essentially ignored the discrimination complaints it had received from students. Sessions also went after restrictive speech codes that violate college students’ First Amendment rights. President Trump has expressed anger over the seemingly endless Russia collusion investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Sessions recused himself from the investigation because of his involvement in the Trump election campaign. Whether Sessions needed to recuse himself is a debatable issue, with good legal arguments on both sides. Sessions took the safest route to ensure that there could be no question raised by anyone of undue or improper influence over the special counsel’s investigation. It is hard to fault him for that. It should also be pointed out that, to date, the special counsel has still not publicly revealed any evidence of any kind showing that collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia occurred. No wonder the president is frustrated. All in all, Sessions has done a good job as attorney general. And he did that despite the fact that, because of Senate Democrats obstructing the confirmation process, most of the Justice Department’s major divisions lack an appointed assistant attorney general to run them. In many ways, Sessions was operating with an inadequate staff and one hand tied behind his back. Jeff Sessions put the nation’s largest and most powerful law enforcement agency back on course, enforcing the law and administering justice in an impartial, objective and nonpartisan manner. For that, we should all be thankful.

Agreed 100%!!  Thanks to Hans A. von Spakovsky for that outstanding assessment of the Sessions Justice Department.  We announced AG Sessions’ resignation yesterday (scroll down 5 articles).  So, this is a proper follow and review.  As we noted, AG Sessions is a southern gentlemen who restored integrity and honor to a department which had been tarnished during the Obama years by AGs Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.  Hans is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.  He is the coauthor of “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” and “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.”

Jeff Sessions resigns as attorney general, at Trump’s ‘request’

Jeff Sessions, once one of President Trump’s most loyal and trusted advisers before infuriating Trump over his recusal from the Russia investigation, has resigned as attorney general at the request of the president. “At your request, I am submitting my resignation,” Sessions wrote in a Wednesday letter to Trump. The president tweeted that Matthew Whitaker, who currently serves as chief of staff to Sessions, will become the acting attorney general. “We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well,” he said. Trump added: “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.” Sources told Fox News that Trump did not call Sessions, but rather White House Chief of Staff John Kelly informed him of the president’s request for him to resign. Sessions is expected to leave the Justice Department by the end of the day and Whitaker is expected to take over immediately. In his resignation letter, Sessions said was “honored to serve” as attorney general and said his Justice Department “restored and upheld the rule of law – a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard.” Sessions’ departure from the Justice Department was not unexpected, as the president has signaled changes to his administration after the midterms.

Definitely not unexpected.  But, the President wasted no time once the midterm elections were over.  Former AG Jeff Sessions (R) is a stand-up, classy southern gentleman who exhibited the highest integrity.  AG Sessions was the Attorney General for the state of Alabama, and served in the Senate for 10 years before becoming our nation’s Attorney General. We wish him the very best wherever he lands.  To see his letter of resignation and read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Trump declares opioids from Mexico, China ‘almost a form of warfare,’ tells Sessions to sue drug makers

Calling opioids coming into the U.S. from China and Mexico “almost a form of warfare,” President Trump on Thursday urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate foreign sources of fentanyl that he said are “killing our people.” Speaking during a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Trump also took the unusual step of urging Sessions to file a “major” new lawsuit against opioid suppliers and manufacturers, rather than join existing lawsuits filed by states affected by the spread of the highly addictive, deadly drugs. “It’s almost a form of warfare,” Trump said, referring to the drugs he called “garbage” that are flowing into the country. “I’d be very firm on that. It’s a disgrace and we can stop it.” Trump added: “I’d also like to ask you to bring a major lawsuit against the drug companies on opiods. Some states have done it, but I’d like a lawsuit to be brought against these companies that are really sending opiods at a level that — it really shouldn’t be happening. … People go into a hospital with a broken arm, they come out, they’re a drug addict.” More than 1,000 lawsuits by more than a dozen states have already been filed nationwide against distributors and manufacturers in recent months amid the opioid epidemic. Earlier this week, New York sued the maker of the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin, saying Purdue Pharma has misled both patients and doctors about the dangers of their drug. In June, Massachusetts also sued Purdue and its executives, accusing the company of fueling the deadly drug abuse crisis by spinning a “web of illegal deceit” to boost profits. The lawsuit, which the state’s attorney general said was the first to call out the names of company executives in connection with opioid deaths, came as Purdue was already defending against lawsuits from several other states and local governments. Other companies involved in litigation with states include manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceuticals, as well as distributors. The suits generally involve claims that the drug makers have improperly downplayed the addictive qualities of their drugs, and that distributors have negligently handled their shipments. Sessions said he would comply with the president’s requests. “We absolutely will,” Sessions said Thursday. “We are returning indictments now against distributors from China; we’ve identified certain companies that are moving drugs from China, fentanyl in particular. We have confronted China about it … Most of it is going to Mexico and then crossing the border, unlawfully, from Mexico.” There were no signs of tension in the room, even though the attorney general has been a target of Trump’s ire in recent days.

Glad to hear..  Whatever people may think, or say, about AG Jeff Sessions, he has been a very loyal soldier in Trumps army.  For more on this article, click on the text above.

AG Sessions Deports Obama’s ‘Undocumented Immigrant’ Code

The incorrect and deceptive “undocumented immigrant” term is being deported to nowheresville by the Department of Justice, which henceforth will refer to unapproved migrants as “illegal aliens.” The misleading “undocumented” term was favored by President Barack Obama’s pro-migration deputies, but President Donald Trump’s agency officials instead will use the term set by federal law — “illegal alien.” The language shift policy will help journalists and voters quickly recognize when suspected criminals are foreigners, and will make it more difficult for media editors, progressives or business groups to hide the civic impact of cheap-labor migration. The policy is set out in an agency statement, which says that public information officers should follow definitions in 8 U.S. § 1101 to describe status. Specifically, when a defendant’s illegal presence in the U.S. is an established fact in the public record, or when it has been provided to the court to help it determine whether to detain a defendant, they should be referred to as an ‘illegal alien” … The word “undocumented” is not based in U.S. code, and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country. If an alien is legally present in the U.S., or that alien’s legal status in the U.S. is unknown, unclear, or absent from the public record at the time a press release is being issued, it is appropriate to describe their country of citizenship, such as “Canadian National Convicted of Human Trafficking.” They should be described according to their citizenship, not their city or state of residence. For instance, “a Honduran citizen residing in Toledo” is correct. “Toledo Man” doesn’t accurately describe his residency.

Exactly!!  Kudos to AG Jeff Sessions for rejecting the political correctness of the Obama era.  Excellent!!     🙂

Sessions’ reversals on four Obama positions validated by Supreme Court

It seems the Trump administration knows the law better than the Obama administration. The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed positions of the Obama administration in four cases decided by the Supreme Court this year — and won all four of them. They included constitutional technicalities, such as whether a certain set of appointments needed Senate confirmation, and politically charged cases over cutting names from voter lists and labor unions charging dues to unwilling workers. “In four cases, after careful review, we changed the department’s position in order to follow the law,” Mr. Sessions said Wednesday as the court closed out its term. “The favorable Supreme Court decisions in all four cases reflect that we took the proper course of action. The decisions speak for themselves.” Reversals of position at the department are a big deal and set tongues wagging in legal circles. That was the case last year when the Trump administration said it was backing an Illinois state employee who objected to being forced to pay dues to a labor union he didn’t belong to, and which took stances he disagreed with. The Obama administration sided with the unions — and a 1977 Supreme Court precedent — in saying the state could make the dues mandatory. The court overturned that precedent this week, sided with the administration and ruled 5-4 in favor of the employee. Yet another reversal came in the voter registration case out of Ohio, where the state has a policy of removing names of people who don’t vote in several consecutive elections and don’t respond to notices. During oral argument in the court this year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor chided Solicitor General Noel Francisco on the department’s new position, saying it contradicted decades of Justice Department stances under both Republican and Democratic administrations. “After that many presidents, that many solicitor generals, this many years … how did the solicitor general change its mind?” She demanded. Mr. Francisco said the law changed in 2002 and that his office was recognizing the new standard. The court agreed with him, ruling 5-4 in favor of Ohio. The justices also sided with the administration in a case over forced arbitration clauses in labor contracts, another 5-4 ruling, and in a case over appointments to the Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the Trump administration position prevailed 7-2. Lawyers said the Justice Department reversals amounted to a housecleaning. “It seems like wiping everything Obama did from the books,” Lucas A. Powe Jr., a law professor at the University of Texas, said…

It’s a beautiful thing!   For more, click on the text above.    🙂

Mueller’s investigation of Trump ‘needs to conclude,’ Sessions says

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that an ongoing probe into President Trump “needs to conclude” in order to let him focus on North Korea, the U.S.-Mexico border and other world negotiations. Mr. Sessions also said he expects the Justice Department inspector general to finish his investigation into the department’s and FBI’s handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election in a “few weeks,” saying that will provide more information for decisions on whether there was wrongdoing. Testifying to the House on Thursday, Mr. Sessions was pressed by a lawmaker who said he saw a “double standard” in comparing the ongoing special counsel probe into Mr. Trump, while Mr. Sessions has declined to name a second special counsel to review the way the department and the FBI handled Mrs. Clinton. “At the very root of this, I think my constituents are frustrated, are angry, they see a double standard historically. They want justice,” said Rep. Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Republican, ticking off a number of red flags he said deserved the heightened powers a special counsel should look at. Mr. Sessions said he didn’t want to appoint special counsels “willy-nilly” but said his department is taking deliberate steps. He’s named a U.S. attorney to oversee an investigation and coordinate with the inspector general whose probe has been ongoing for months. He also said they’re sharing an unprecedented amount of information with GOP-led congressional committees who are probing the same matters. “If there’s wrongdoing we’re going to take action about it,” he said. He said he knows the president is “concerned” about the ongoing special counsel investigation into figures surrounding Mr. Trump, and Mr. Sessions said it needs to end so the president can deal with the job of running the executive branch. “He’s dealing with France and North Korea and Syria and taxes and regulations and border and crime every day,” Mr. Sessions said. “This thing needs to conclude. So I understand his frustrations and I understand the American people’s frustrations.”

MS-13 spreading across US as AG Sessions vows to take down gang

Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week promised to deal with the brutal street gang MS-13 in the same way that “we took Al Capone off the streets.” Amid a series of gruesome, high-profile murders across the United States, MS-13 has become a major focus of President Trump’s Justice Department. But dismantling the gang, whose numbers are estimated to be around 10,000 nationwide, is no easy task: MS-13 has infiltrated communities across the country – and throughout Central America – since its formation in 1980s Southern California. “MS-13 functions like all immigrant organized crime groups. They start by targeting their own community,” Lou Gentile, a former officer at the Organized Crime Unit of the Pennsylvania State Police and founder of investigative firm CSI, told Fox News. “MS-13 preys on their own, they exploit their own.” Click here to see some of the states and regions hardest hit by MS-13 in recent years:

AG Sessions unleashes organized crime task force on MS-13

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that he’s designated the MS-13 street gang as a priority for the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces — enabling authorities to target the gang with a broader array of federal resources. “Now they will go after MS-13 with a renewed vigor and a sharpened focus,” Mr. Sessions said Monday as he addressed the International Association of Chiefs of police conference in Philadelphia. “Just like we took Al Capone off the streets with our tax laws, we will use whatever laws we have to get MS-13 off of our streets.” The priority designation will instruct federal agencies such as the IRS, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to target the El Salvador-based gang not just with drug laws but also tax, racketeering and firearms laws. Prior to this year, the task force was only able to get involved in cases when they involved the drug trade or money laundering. But changes to the task force’s authority in this year’s budget allow the Justice Department to directly name an organization as a priority. The change will mean that the task force can now get involved in a broad range of cases involving MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, including anything from murder prosecutions to firearms violations. Mr. Sessions has singled out MS-13’s involvement in the drug trade as a priority as his department has sought to combat both illegal immigration and an influx of drugs brought in the country from overseas. “Drugs are killing more Americans than ever before in large part thanks to powerful cartels and international gangs and deadly new synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” Mr. Sessions said.

Justice Department fights restrictions on freedom of thought and speech at public colleges

The Trump administration thrust itself into the midst of the battle over free speech on college campuses Tuesday, siding with activists in a case challenging a Georgia school’s strict limits on where and how students can express themselves. Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned that freedom of thought and speech are “under attack” on college campuses, and he called on university officials to “boldly and unequivocally” defend free expression rather than stifle it. “The American university was once the center of academic freedom — a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas,” Mr. Sessions said as he spoke to students at Georgetown Law School in Washington. “But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.” While the attorney general said the problems concern all sides of the political spectrum, the case in which the Justice Department sought to intervene involved a Christian student who challenged Georgia Gwinnett College’s “free speech zone” policy. Chike Uzuegbunam said the school violated his First Amendment rights when officials told him he could not distribute flyers about his Christian faith unless he did so in one of the school’s two “free speech expression areas,” and even then he would be required to get advance approval. The Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case, which allows government attorneys to weigh in on legal matters presented without being party to the lawsuit. The department said the college’s speech policies “were not content-neutral, established an impermissible heckler’s veto, and were not narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest.”

DOJ threatens to withhold crime-fighting funds from four sanctuary cities

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reinforcing threats to go after sanctuary cities, warning the administration may withhold federal crime-fighting funds for four places struggling with gun violence. It is the latest threat made by Sessions in his public campaign to force cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration officials. The Justice Department sent letters to police departments in Baltimore, Md., Albuquerque, N.M., Stockton and San Bernardino, Calif. telling them if they wanted federal help to root out drug trafficking and gang crime, they’d have to work with federal immigration authorities. Among other things, the Justice Department said they must give the authorities access to jails and provide advance notice before releasing someone in custody who is wanted on immigration violations. The four cities targeted had all expressed interest in the DOJ’s new Public Safety Partnership, which enlists federal agents, analysts and technology to help communities find solutions to crime. “Based on our review, we have concluded that your jurisdiction has levels of violence that exceed the national average, that your jurisdiction is ready to receive the intensive assistance the Department is prepared to provide, and that your jurisdiction is taking steps to reduce its violent crime,” the Aug. 3 letter said. The letter sent by the DOJ to the four prospective cities’ police departments also asks them for proof of their compliance to step up efforts to help detain and deport people in the United States illegally. The deadline is Aug. 18. Separately last week, Sessions told jurisdictions they need to meet the same conditions or lose out on millions of dollars from a separate program that aims to send grant money to support law enforcement. The attorney general rolled out the rules as part of his promised crackdown on sanctuary cities. His threat didn’t sit well with some – prompting a defiant pushback on the request. Under old rules, cities seeking grant money needed only to show that they weren’t prohibiting local law enforcement from communicating with immigration authorities. Police use the money for everything from bulletproof vests to body cameras.