Justice Department

U.S. seizes North Korean ship suspected of violating U.N. sanctions

The U.S. has seized a North Korean freighter that was caught shipping coal in violation of U.N. sanctions, the Justice Department revealed Thursday. The 17,000-ton cargo ship, called the Wise Honest, was stopped in Indonesia last year after it was found to be carrying coal. The ship’s captain was charged with violating Indonesian law, and last July, the U.S. filed an action to seize the ship, according to court papers. Federal prosecutors said the seizure marks the first time the U.S. has taken possession of a North Korean ship for violating international sanctions. “This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service,” said John Demers, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The Wise Honest, North Korea’s second-largest ship for carrying bulk cargo, was on its way to American Samoa, U.S. officials said. On Thursday, the Justice Department asked a federal judge to give the U.S. ownership of the vessel through a civil forfeiture action — the same thing prosecutors do when they seek to take ownership of planes or boats used by drug smugglers. The Justice Department says the U.S. is entitled to take this action because payments to maintain and equip the vessel were made through American banks. “Our office uncovered North Korea’s scheme to export tons of high-grade coal to foreign buyers by concealing the origin of their ship, the Wise Honest,” said Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “This scheme not only allowed North Korea to evade sanctions, but the Wise Honest was also used to import heavy machinery to North Korea, helping expand North Korea’s capabilities and continuing the cycle of sanctions evasion.” The announcement of the seizure came just hours after North Korea launched suspected short-range missiles — the second such weapons test in a week. But Berman said the effort to take control of the Wise Honest had been in the works for some time and was not spurred by North Korea’s overnight actions. The Justice Department said the Korea Songi Shipping Company used the Wise Honest from at least November 2016 through April 2018 — and broke American law by paying U.S. dollars to “unwitting” banks for several improvements, equipment purchases and service expenditures for the vessel. The March 2018 cargo shipment yielded payments totaling more than $750,000, the Justice Department said.

This story is developing…

William Barr confirms expanded Justice Department probe of Russia-Clinton links

Attorney General William P. Barr revealed Wednesday that the Justice Department is looking into the possibility that Russian operatives fed disinformation to the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 presidential election season. Mr. Barr told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the expanded scope of a review into “the activities over the summer of 2016,” which included vehemently anti-Trump FBI senior officials making key decisions on the investigations of Mrs. Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump. One key question is how much the FBI relied on the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, using information gleaned from Russian sources, which helped spur the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. The dossier was funded by payments from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee that were hidden in campaign finance reports behind payments to a law firm. Republican senators said it’s possible that Mr. Steele’s Russian sources were intentionally feeding him disinformation, which then made it to the highest levels of the FBI. Indeed, former FBI Director James B. Comey’s first personal interaction with Mr. Trump was to brief him on the Steele dossier shortly before his inauguration in January 2017. “That’s the definition of collusion,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chamber’s senior Republican. Mr. Barr said he doesn’t know the answer — yet. “That is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

One word…karma.  What goes around, comes around.  Now the shoe is on the other foot, and AG Barr is rightfully assembling a team to look into how this whole nonsense actually started.  The whole things was based on lies and a brazen abuse of power by the Obama DOJ.  Pop some popcorn and get ready to sit back and watch the fireworks as the heads of Dems explode over this.  They fed America the lie that their duly-elected President was a traitor and a Russian plant.  Now, we know the whole Russian collusion narrative was a hoax; a hoax perpetrated by Dems and their willing accomplices in the dominantly liberal mainstream media.  AG Barr is gonna investigate how it started, and follow the trail wherever it leads.  And corrupt Dems are nervous as heck, which is why they’re disingenuously crying foul.  This is gonna be fun!  For more, click on the text above.   🙂

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.”

Kavanaugh accuser referred to DOJ for false statements, Grassley’s office announces

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday referred a woman who’d accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of raping her “several times” in the backseat of a car to the Justice Department for “materially false statements” and “obstruction.” Kavanaugh, confirmed to the high court on Oct. 6, was infamously accused by multiple women of sexual assault and misconduct before the confirmation. Judy Munro-Leighton, according to Grassley’s office, “alleged that Justice Kavanaugh and a friend had raped her ‘several times each’ in the backseat of a car.” Those accusations were made via a “Jane Doe” letter provided to Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and committee member, Grassley’s office wrote. Upon further investigation, however, inconsistencies in the story emerged. “Given her relatively unique name, Committee investigators were able to use open-source research to locate Ms. Munro-Leighton and determine that she: (1) is a left-wing activist; (2) is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh; and (3) lives in neither the Washington DC area nor California, but in Kentucky,” Grassley’s office wrote. “Under questioning by Committee investigators, Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by … Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original ‘Jane Doe’ letter,” Grassley’s office wrote in a Friday referral to the DOJ. “When directly asked by Committee investigators if she was, as she had claimed, the ‘Jane Doe’ from Oceanside California who had sent the letter to Senator Harris, she admitted: ‘No, no, no. I did that as a way to grab attention. I am not Jane Doe . . . but I did read Jane Doe’s letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee. . . . I saw it online. It was news.” “In short, during the Committee’s time-sensitive investigation of allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, Ms. Munro-Leighton submitted a fabricated allegation, which diverted Committee resources. When questioned by Committee investigators she admitted it was false, a ‘ploy,’ and a ‘tactic,’” Grassley’s office wrote. “She was opposed to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation.” Friday’s referral to the DOJ was not the first time Grassley has asked for an investigation into Kavanaugh’s accusers. Last week, Grassley referred attorney Michael Avenatti and client Julie Swetnick — who’d accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct — for criminal investigation regarding a potential “conspiracy” to provide false statements to Congress and obstruct its investigation.

As more evidence comes to light, we realize that the whole effort to derail (now Justice) Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court was a coordinated effort by Democrats in the Senate based on lies and false statements.  Keep this in mind tomorrow as you cast your vote.

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.”

Hillary Rakes in Nearly $75,000 From Justice Department Employees – Calls continue for appointment of a special counsel

Hillary Clinton has received nearly $75,000 in political contributions from employees at the Department of Justice, the agency that would decide whether or not to act if the FBI recommended charges against Clinton or her aides following its investigation into her private email server. Justice Department employees have given Clinton far more money than her rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Donald Trump, according to a review of federal campaign contributions for the 2016 presidential cycle. Clinton collected $73,437 from individuals who listed the “Department of Justice” as their employer. Twelve of the 228 contributions were for $2,700, the maximum individual amount allowed by law. The fundraising haul marks a dramatic increase over Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential run in 2008, when she took in 23 contributions totaling $15,930 from employees at the agency, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Trump, by comparison, has received little help from Justice Department employees, recording just two contributions for a total of $381. Sanders has taken 51 donations totaling $8,900 from Justice Department employees. David Bossie, president of the watchdog group Citizens United, told the Washington Free Beacon he is not surprised by the donations, and renewed his call for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to handle Clinton’s case. “I’m not surprised in the least to see more evidence that shows the politicization of the Justice Department,” Bossie said in a statement to the Free Beacon. “How can Democrat political appointees fairly investigate someone who is about to become their nominee for president? That’s why last July I called on Attorney General Lynch to appoint an impartial special counsel to investigate the private Clinton email server.” “Today, I renew my call that Attorney General Lynch must appoint a special counsel to determine if Hillary Clinton or her agents broke the law and compromised our national security,” he continued. “This investigation needs to be conducted free of political influence once and for all.” Bossie has questioned whether Lynch could remain impartial due to her past political donations. Lynch gave $10,700 in contributions to Democratic candidates between 2004 and 2008. Howard Krongard, who was inspector general for the State Department from 2005 to 2008, predicted earlier this year that even if the FBI referred Clinton’s case to the Justice Department for prosecution it would “never get to an indictment.” Krongard said the case would have to go through “four loyal Democratic women,” including Lynch, top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who heads the department’s criminal division. The FBI is expected to interview Clinton in the coming weeks about her email practices. Clinton maintains that she has not been contacted by the FBI about an interview. However, the FBI has interviewed Clinton’s aides, including top adviser Huma Abedin. The Justice Department did not return a request for comment. Update 05/10/16: After publication, former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker, who directs the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, called for a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. “The report out today that Hillary Clinton received almost $75,000 in political contributions from Justice Department employees is yet another reason why the Justice Department cannot and should not decide whether to bring a case against Hillary Clinton for her reckless handling of classified information while Secretary of State,” Whitaker said in a statement. “The decision of whether or not to bring a case against Clinton will be a difficult one for Attorney General Loretta Lynch, as I don’t believe she has the fortitude to oppose President Obama, who has publicly said Clinton’s behavior didn’t put our national security at risk. Since this Administration has shown no ability to be impartial, looking the other way at every turn of this investigation, I’m renewing an urgent call for the appointment of a special counsel in this case.”

More Hillary corruption.. Drip, drip, drip…

AG Lynch Testifies: Justice Dept. Has ‘Discussed’ Civil Legal Action Against Climate Change Deniers

Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified Wednesday that the Justice Department has “discussed” taking civil legal action against the fossil fuel industry for “denying” the “threat of carbon emissions” when it comes to climate change. During Lynch’s testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said that he believes there are similarities between the tobacco industry denying scientific studies showing the dangers of using tobacco and companies within the fossil fuel industry denying studies allegedly showing the threat of carbon emissions. He went on to point out that under President Bill Clinton, the Justice Department brought and won a civil case against the tobacco industry, while the Obama administration has “done nothing” so far with regard to the fossil fuel industry. Whitehouse concluded his comments by posing a question to the country’s top law enforcement officer. “My question to you is, other than civil forfeitures and matters attendant to a criminal case, are there other circumstances in which a civil matter under the authority of the Department of Justice has been referred to the FBI?” he asked. “This matter has been discussed. We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on,” Lynch answered. “I’m not aware of a civil referral at this time.”

Holy crap!  Consider the implications of this..  The Obama’s DOJ has seriously had “conversations” about whether or not to go after gas and oil companies in court for having the nerve to suggest that so-called “global warming,” or it’s current euphemism “climate change” is bs (which, by the way, it is).  When we talk about the pc police and speech nazis, that’s one thing.  This takes it to a whole new level.  Thank God for our First Amendment.  And, this idiot Democrat Congressman trying to make comparisons between this and the tobacco industry is fatuous and absurd.  This is what happens when you have fascist Democrats in positions of power.  Unreal..