Despite a public condemnation by Attorney General Bill Barr, President Donald Trump is back tweeting and attacking a wide range of Justice Department attorneys and investigations. That includes the …
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege over information related to his administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census as the House Oversight Committee prepared to hold two of his Cabinet members in contempt for defying its subpoenas on the issue.
Trump’s move, which the Justice Department announced in a letter to the committee’s chairman, Elijah Cummings, came as the panel began a meeting to vote on a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for withholding documents on the decision to add the question to the census.
The resolution would allow Democrats to pursue both civil and criminal contempt of both Cabinet officials for defying subpoenas issued by Cummings, D-Md., on April 2 to produce the documents. Democratic leadership would then decide which avenue to pursue.Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attends an event in Washington on June 6, 2019.Leah Millis / Reuters file
The planned committee vote comes a day after the House approved a resolution to authorize the House Judiciary Committee and other panels to go to court to enforce their subpoenas of the Trump administration.
U.S. President Donald Trump directed officials to toughen rules for asylum seekers on Monday, including by introducing a fee for their applications and barring those who entered the country illegally from working until their claims are approved.
The moves are the latest effort by the Trump administration to stem a growing number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border, many of whom then seek asylum in the United States. Many of the changes would be dramatic shifts in how asylum seekers are treated, but would also require time-intensive regulatory procedures before they go into effect, which will likely take months.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly blamed U.S. laws protecting asylum seekers for encouraging fraudulent or non-deserving claims.
But immigrant advocates say the Trump administration’s efforts to restrict asylum protections harms people legitimately seeking refuge from violence and persecution.
On Monday, Trump signed a presidential memorandum that directed the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to, within 90 days, introduce a slew of new regulations tightening asylum policy, including one setting a fee for asylum applications, which are currently free to file.
Source: Trump Directs Officials to Toughen Asylum Rules : Independent Journal Review
House Democrats are racing to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, and they’re not waiting until they assume the majority to do so.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) organized an emergency conference call on Thursday between rank-and-file Democrats and the top members on investigative committees to discuss President Trump’s decision to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replace him with an official who has repeatedly criticized the Mueller probe.
On the call, Democrats contemplated their next steps, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) warned members they are facing a “crisis moment.”
After the call, Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, announced on CNN that Democrats may insist on including protections for the Russia probe in the next government funding bill, though such a demand could trigger a shutdown fight if they follow through.
“We can urge — and we will — that the bill I introduced that would protect the independence of the special counsel, saying he can only be dismissed for [due] cause … We can insist that that be a condition of passage of the remaining legislation to fund the government,” Nadler said.
Calls for the GOP to hold emergency hearings and demands for the acting attorney general to recuse himself have so far gone unanswered, underscoring a harsh reality for Democrats: they are still in the minority for another two months and have little power.
Still, their efforts send a clear signal that Democrats are gearing up to make the issue a top investigative priority starting in January.
In an interview with The Hill, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the Democrat likely to lead the House Intelligence Committee during the next Congress, is already signaling an interest in interviewing Sessions about his firing.
“On this particular question of what led up to his firing or what information he may have in terms of obstruction to justice, I think that will be of interest to not only our committee but the Judiciary Committee and others as well,” Schiff said.
Democrats are vowing to conduct rigorous oversight and hold the administration accountable, something they say the GOP failed to do.
“We have watched the Republican Majority abdicate it’s role of providing a check to abuses of power, and we must start holding people accountable for their actions,” a Judiciary Committee spokesman told The Hill in a statement when asked about Trump’s firing of Sessions.
Trump has repeatedly bashed Mueller’s probe as a “witch hunt,” and his appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general has renewed fears that he wants to quash the investigation.
Trump has denied this, and called a question Friday about whether he wanted to rein in the probe a “stupid question.”
Surely, unless this website is committing some form of criminal acts, the information regarding who is visiting should not be disclosed, especially to any source under the influence of Trump. It it is disclosed then these visitors will be targeted. This would be a destroyer of freedoms.
The Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
The appointment came amid a growing Democratic outcry for someone outside the Justice Department to handle the politically charged investigation.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch, citing a “serious erosion of public trust,” announced Friday that the Justice Department would investigate whether the Baltimore police had engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations.
She said the investigation would look into whether the department had used excessive force, carried out unlawful searches and seizures or engaged in discrimination.
The announcement came 11 days after rioting broke out in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a spinal cord injury in police custody. Baltimore’s chief prosecutor later said that the arrest was illegal and charged six police officers with crimes.
“We have watched as Baltimore has struggled with issues that face cities across our country today,” Lynch told reporters.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake asked for the probe, known as a pattern-or-practice investigation, on Wednesday. The Justice Department rarely declines such a request from a mayor or police chief.
The Justice Department wrapped up a similar investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police in March. That investigation found that the department routinely violated the Constitution, engaged in racial bias and focused on making money over public safety.
And last year, the Justice Department concluded that police in Cleveland had engaged in a pattern of “unreasonable and in some cases unnecessary force,” including shootings, blows to the head and excessive force against the mentally ill.
In Baltimore, the riots erupted on Lynch’s first day as attorney general. She said that she had watched them on television and felt “profound sadness.”
“It was profound sadness for the loss of life, for the erosion of trust, for the sadness and despair that the community was feeling, for the frustration that I know the police officers were feeling also.”
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