Tag Archives: Department of Justice

‘Appalling’: Acting ICE Director Denounced for Threatening to Jail Elected Officials of Sanctuary Cities

The ACLU said Thomas Homan’s “outrageous threat” to charge local officials “for not carrying out Trump’s deportation agenda” should “disqualify” him from permanently filling the director post

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-3-2018

Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Jan. 2 that politicians who lead sanctuary cities should face federal charges. (Photo: Fox News/screenshot)

Immigrant rights advocates are denouncing an “appalling and disqualifying” proposal by the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to charge with federal crimes elected officials who lead sanctuary cities, which often refuse to turn over or identify undocumented residents to the government’s immigration agents.

The ACLU said Wednesday that acting director Thomas Homan’s “outrageous threat” to bring charges against local politicians who enact and carry out sanctuary city policies “should disqualify [him] from consideration for the permanent ICE director post.” Continue reading

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‘Horrifying Step Backwards’ as Sessions Retracts Guidance Designed to End Abuse of Poor by Courts

Attorney General abandons directive to protect the poor from needless fines

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-22-2017

Civil rights advocates accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “turning back the clock” on criminal justice reforms after the Department of Justice rescinded Obama-era guidance that protected low-income defendants from being forced to pay gratuitous fees to local courts.

“Profit-minded court policies targeting the most economically vulnerable Americans have resulted in a resurgence of unconstitutional but widespread practices penalizing the poor and people of color,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. “Attorney General Jeff Session’s decision to retract guidance from the Justice Department rooting out practices resulting in a perpetual cycle of fines, debt and jail of America’s poor is a horrifying step backwards in ongoing efforts to reform the criminal justice system.” Continue reading

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‘Corporate Mercenaries’: Trump-Allied Firm Slammed for $1 Billion Suit Against Water Protectors

“This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-2017

Greenpeace was one of the environmental groups that joined indigenous people in protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. (Photo: Amanda J. Mason/@Greenpeaceusa/Twitter)

In what environmental justice groups are characterizing as legal harassment by “corporate mercenaries,” the company that owns the contested Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace, Earth First!, BankTrack, and individuals who oppposed and protested the pipeline, claiming over $300 million in damages.

Greenpeace general counsel Tom Wetterer said the “meritless lawsuit” is “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation.” Continue reading

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Seeking ‘To Create a Police State,’ AG Sessions Threatens Sanctuary Cities

But “state and local governments and law enforcement have broad authority under the Constitution to not participate in federal immigration enforcement,” says New York’s attorney general

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-27-2017

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who on Monday said federal grants would be withheld from sanctuary cities. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday took aim at sanctuary cities, saying such communities must end and that his Department of Justice would deprive them of federal grants—a move that prompted the New York attorney general to vow his continued resolution in resisting the Trump administration’s “draconian policies.”

“Such policies cannot continue. They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on the streets,” he said during a White House press briefing.

“We intend to use all the lawful authorities we have to make sure our state and local officials … are in sync with the federal government,” Sessions said. Continue reading

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‘Beyond Irregular’: GOP Intel Chair Under Fire for Bizarre Trump Briefing

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) excoriated by colleagues and intelligence experts for skirting protocols and taking newly-obtained information straight to Trump

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-22-2017

Photo: Screenshot

The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said the “beyond irregular” behavior of the committee’s Republican chairman has “underscored the imperative of an independent investigation” into Russian interference in last year’s election—comments that capped off a series of explosive Capitol Hill developments surrounding a controversy that refuses to die.

Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, came under fire later by congressional colleagues after he went outside normal protocols by briefing President Donald Trump earlier in the day on classified materials that had yet to be vetted by his own committee. Continue reading

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The FBI’s New FOIA Policy Is a Big Step Backward

By Fiona Morgan. Published 2-26-2017 by Free Press

Dust off your fax machine. The FBI is planning to take a big step backward for government transparency.

As of March 1, the Bureau will no longer accept Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests via email. Anyone seeking public records from the FBI will have to use a new online portal — or send requests via fax or snail mail.

Online FOIA portals may seem like a good idea in theory, but government agencies make them difficult to use — with way too many burdensome requirements.

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Fears Grow that Rule of Trump Will Suppress Rule of Law Under Sessions

After Trump fires acting attorney general over refusal to enforce Muslim ban, Sessions described as “intellectual godfather…of Trump’s hard-line actions”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-31-2017

Jeff Sessions. Photo: Screenshot (CNN)

Updated 2pm EDT:

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee invoked a procedural move called the two-hour rule—which, according to The Hill, prevents “holding committee meetings beyond the first two hours of the Senate’s day”—to push the attorney general vote until Wednesday.

The move stalls the controversial confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions and came at the same time that Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted hearings for Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin and Rep. Tom Price’s nomination to be secretary of health and human services, forcing Republicans to reschedule both votes. Continue reading

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Starting Today, Feds Can Hack Millions of Devices with One Warrant

By Shaun Bradley. Published 11-30-2016 by The Anti-Media

On Thursday, December 1, a vital Supreme Court order is set to go into effect that dramatically expands the surveillance power of federal agents. The impending alteration to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure softens the legal requirements for obtaining search and seizure warrants that grant the government remote access to individual’s computers and phones.

In the past, law enforcement was required to obtain a warrant from a judge within the jurisdiction where the proposed search was going take place. Under this new system, however, if an individual is using technology to conceal their location, the warrant is considered valid regardless of jurisdiction. A single authorization will have the potential to validate millions of searches on private devices. Any journalist, activist, or whistleblower who values privacy and uses tools like Freenet or the Tor network will fall directly into the crosshairs. Continue reading

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DOJ to Spread Poll Monitors Thin Despite Widespread Concerns

2013 gutting of Voting Rights Act means fewer full-access election observers will be stationed at polling places

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2016

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice will send out 280 fewer election monitors than it did during the 2012 presidential election. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice will send out 280 fewer election monitors than it did during the 2012 presidential election. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)

The 2013 gutting of the Voting Rights Act means the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will deploy just 500 election monitors to polling places in 28 states on Tuesday—hundreds less than in 2012, and imbued with limited powers.

The DOJ made its announcement Monday amid escalated concerns about voter intimidation and discrimination.

“The bedrock of our democracy is the right to vote, and the Department of Justice works tirelessly to uphold that right not only on Election Day, but every day,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “The department is deeply committed to the fair and unbiased application of our voting rights laws and we will work tirelessly to ensure that every eligible person that wants to do so is able to cast a ballot.” Continue reading

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Senate Dems to DOJ: Don’t Let Wells Fargo Executives Off the Hook

Not doing so, they warned, could reinforce ‘the notion that the wealthy and powerful have purchased a higher class of justice for themselves’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-5-2016

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf testified on Capitol Hill last month. Photo: YouTube

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf testified on Capitol Hill last month. Photo: YouTube

In a blistering letter sent Wednesday, 14 U.S. senators demand the Department of Justice (DOJ) “thoroughly investigate the culpability of senior executives” at Wells Fargo as part of its probe into the financial giant’s recent fake-accounts scandal.

Not to do so, they warn, could reinforce “the notion that the wealthy and powerful have purchased a higher class of justice for themselves.”

The missive from senators including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Al Franken (D-Minn.) to Attorney General Loretta Lynch cites a 2015 memo in which the DOJ vowed to finally crack down on corporate criminals. Continue reading

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