Tag Archives: Department of Justice

DOJ Frees Federal Prosecutors to Take Steps That Could Interfere With Elections, Weakening Long-standing Policy

In an internal announcement, the Justice Department created an exception to a decadeslong policy meant to prevent prosecutors from taking overt investigative steps that might affect the outcome of the vote.

By Robert Faturechi and Justin Elliott  Published 10-7-2020 by ProPublica

Department of Justice
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

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The Department of Justice has weakened its long-standing prohibition against interfering in elections, according to two department officials.

Avoiding election interference is the overarching principle of DOJ policy on voting-related crimes. In place since at least 1980, the policy generally bars prosecutors not only from making any announcement about ongoing investigations close to an election but also from taking public steps — such as an arrest or a raid — before a vote is finalized because the publicity could tip the balance of a race. Continue reading

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‘That’s Not What Happened at All,’ Say Prosecutors After Barr Falsely Claims Man Cast 1,700 Fake Ballots in Texas

“Barr is a shameless liar and most importantly has been one for his entire career,” tweeted New York Times columist Jamelle Bouie.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-4-2020

Screenshot: CNN

As Attorney General William Barr faced renewed calls for his impeachment after claiming not to know whether it’s illegal for a U.S. voter to cast two ballots in a federal election, prosecutors and journalists have caught the nation’s top law enforcement officer in a “massive falsehood” about a mail-in ballot fraud case in Texas.

In his interview with CNN earlier this week, Barr told Wolf Blitzer that prosecutors had indicted a man who collected 1,700 blank ballots and used them to cast a specific vote. Continue reading

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Further Escalating Tensions, Trump Administration Seizes Alleged Iranian Fuel Bound for Venezuela

Iran’s ambassador to Venezuela, Hojad Soltani, said that neither the ships nor their owners are Iranian but did not address whether the gasoline came from his country.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-14-2020

The U.S. government seized the cargo of four ships, including the Bella, the U.S. Justice Department confirmed Friday. (Photo: DOJ)

In an escalation of President Donald Trump’s sanction regimes against Iran and Venezuela, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the U.S. has for the first time confiscated cargo from four ships that federal prosecutors allege were transporting 1.1 million barrels of Iranian gasoline to the South American country.

The seizure, confirmed Friday by the U.S. Justice Department, comes after federal prosecutors filed a civil-forfeiture complaint in July claiming that the sale was set up Mahmoud Madanipour, an Iranian businessman with supposed ties to his country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which last year the Trump administration designated a foreign terrorist organization. Continue reading

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Should the president pick the attorney general?

William Barr walks through Lafayette Park before demonstrators were cleared by federal police on June 1, 2020. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Joshua Holzer, Westminster College

Attorney General William Barr recently announced, late on a Friday, that Geoffrey Berman was “stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

This announcement was news to Berman, who later contradicted Barr by declaring that he had not resigned and indeed had no intention of resigning. Barr then contradicted himself by informing Berman that since he had refused to resign, he had instead been fired. Continue reading

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1,250 Former DOJ Officials Demand Investigation Into Barr’s Involvement in Violently Dispersing Demonstrators Near White House

“None of us would ever have considered directing or engaging in such actions to be consistent with our oaths to support and defend the Constitution.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2020

Screenshot: WUSA9

More than 1,250 former Department of Justice employees on Wednesday called on the department’s inspector general to open an investigation into reports that Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the tear-gassing of protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 1.

The former employees wrote that Inspector General Michael Horowitz must get to the bottom of Barr’s involvement in the dispersing of the crowd, which was part of the nationwide uprising against racial injustice following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Continue reading

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Attorney General Barr Blocks Release of 9/11 Documents Despite Promises to Victims’ Families

In a last minute court filing, U.S. officials demanded a federal judge block the release of files detailing Saudi connections to the 9/11 attacks.

By Derrick Broze   Published 4-18-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

Photo: Office of Public Affairs, Flickr

On Monday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell, and other senior officials called on a federal judge to prevent the disclosure of files related to the role of the government of Saudi Arabia in the September 11 attacks. The officials told the judge in the civil case that the release of the files would endanger national security.

The files are being sought by families of the 9/11 victims who have spent the last two decades attempting to uncover the truth about the attacks. The families filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New York in 2017 as part of their effort to uncover the role of the Saudi government. What is publicly known is that the alleged 9/11 hijackers had a relationship with Saudi government officials. As ProPublica reported, at the 2019 White House September 11 memorial, U.S. President Donald Trump promised the families he would help them uncover the truth about 9/11. He made similar promises while he was campaigning for president. Continue reading

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‘Oh Hell No’: DOJ Using Coronavirus Crisis to Push for Expansive Emergency Powers

“This is abhorrent (also: predictable).”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-21-2020

Department of Justice Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. Photo: Victoria Pickering/flickr/CC

The Department of Justice is using the coronavirus outbreak to ask Congress for sweeping emergency powers including suspending habeas corpus during an emergency, a power grab that was denounced by civil liberties advocates.

“Oh hell no,” tweeted Fletcher School professor Daniel Drezner. Continue reading

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‘Disturbing’: Study Shows DOJ Prosecutions of White-Collar Criminals Hit All-Time Low Under Trump

“Never has white-collar crime gone so ignored.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-6-2020

Rod Blagojevich. Screenshot: ABC7 Chicago

Prosecutions of white-collar criminals by the U.S. Justice Department plunged to an all-time low in January, according to a study published just days after President Donald Trump proclaimed his commitment to “safeguarding the American consumer” and “strengthening our efforts to prevent and prosecute fraud.”

The analysis released Tuesday by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that the Justice Department prosecuted just 359 white-collar criminals in January, a decline of 25% from five years ago. TRAC has been recording data on white-collar prosecutions since 1986. Continue reading

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‘This Is a Nightmare’: Trump Accused of Weaponizing DOJ With New Task Force Focused on Stripping US Citizenship

“Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit.”

By for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2020

Photo: ICE (Public domain)

Rights advocates expressed outrage and severe concerns after the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it is creating an official task force devoted to “denaturalization”—the process by which the government strips citizenship from foreign-born Americans, or naturalized citizens.

“Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit,” tweeted activist Joel Braunold. “Means immigrant Americans (such as myself) will always have a threat to displace us if we step out of line.” Continue reading

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With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new “pre-crime” program inspired by “War on Terror” tactics and is set to be implemented next year.

By Whitney Webb. Published 10-25-2019 by MintPress News

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public. Continue reading

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