Sessions Early on Revered Obama Directive to End Private Prison Contracts
Reverses Obama-Era Guidance on Non-Violent Crime
First-Time Offenders Should Not Expect Leniency
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed U.S. Attorneys to pursue the harshest possible charges against all criminal defendants, a move that’s guaranteed to vastly increase the U.S. prison population. As it is, the United States has more people in prison than any other nation, both in total number and per capita, and by large margins. The Attorney General now wants to increase those numbers.
â€œIt is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense,â€ Sessions wrote in a memorandum dated Wednesday to U.S. Attorneys. “This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency.”
Any attempts to seek less than the maximum charge or sentence “require supervisory approval, and the reasoning must be documented in the file,”Â the Sessions memo states.
It’s believed Sessions is seeking to use this new directive as a tool to in the Trump administration’s war on drugs, a throwback to failed decades of U.S. policy that has not only not worked but destroyed the lives of millions of Americans.
Before the memo was published, The New York Times on Tuesday reported “Sessionsâ€™s directives toÂ United States attorneysÂ would replace guidance issued by [former Attorney General Eric] Holder in 2010, when he told prosecutors not to feel compelled to seek the most serious viable charges in every case.”
â€œEqual justice depends on individualized justice,â€ Mr. Holder wrote, wiping clean [former Attorney General John] Ashcroftâ€™s 2003 orders to pursue â€œthe most serious, readily provable offense in all federal prosecutionsâ€ and emphasize consistency in drug cases.
VoxÂ reportsÂ that in 2015, “TrumpÂ outright told MSNBCÂ that heâ€™s ‘tough on crime.’ HeÂ praisedÂ Vice President Mike Pence for increasing mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes as governor of Indiana. HeÂ falsely claimedÂ that the murder rate is at a 45-year high when itâ€™s actually near a historical low. And he said police should be more aggressive than they are today, particularly by using the controversial ‘stop and frisk’ strategy that a courtÂ struck downÂ in New York City because it was used to target minority Americans.”
Sessions, a former federal prosecutor, has similarly taken a hardline view on crime and drugs. In his last year in the Senate, he wasÂ key in killingÂ a criminal justice reform bill that would have relaxed prison sentences for low-level drug offenders. HeÂ criticizedÂ police reforms led by the Obama administration during a November 2015 Senate hearing calledÂ â€œThe War on Police.â€Â And heÂ saidÂ that â€œgood people donâ€™t smoke marijuanaâ€ while advocating against pot legalization.
Bottom line: The Trump campaign’s rally line of “lock her up!” is now the Trump administration’s policy of “lock them up.”
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McCarthy Blocks Bipartisan Bill Approved by 77 Senators to Avoid Shutdown as He Moves to Pin the Blame on Democrats
Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy is saying he will not allow the House to take up a compromise bill supported by a large and bipartisan majority of Senators that would allow the federal government to continue operating past the midnight Saturday deadline.
“I don’t see the support in the House,” for the Senate’s proposed continuing resolution, McCarthy said on Wednesday, according to Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman. He also reports that “this is the most explicit he’s been” in saying “he won’t take it up and pass it as is.”
Chad Pergram, the Senior Congressional Correspondent for Fox News reports, “McCarthy says he won’t allow the House to consider the Senate’s stopgap spending bill to avert a gov’t shutdown for 45 days. 77 bipartisan senators supported the package on a test vote last night.”
Earlier Wednesday, inside the House Republican Conference’s meeting, Sherman reported that Speaker McCarthy “said he told” Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “that he cannot take up a bill that funds Ukraine and doesn’t fix the border.”
“In other words,” Sherman adds, “if it wasn’t clear, the CR [continuing resolution] the Senate is taking up is dead on arrival in the House.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans, and especially Speaker McCarthy, are attempting to blame the likely shutdown on Democrats. House Democrats, Senate Democrats and most Senate Republicans have been working to avert a shutdown but Speaker McCarthy’s most extreme members have been pushing to shut down the federal government. Political observers say he could keep the government running by putting together a majority of House Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans to pass a continuing resolution, but would likely lose his Speakership as a result.
“A shutdown would furlough millions of federal employees, leave the military without pay, disrupt air travel and cut off vital safety net services, and it would be politically punishing to lawmakers whose job it is to fund government,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday. “The Republican McCarthy, pushed by a hard-right flank that rejects the deal he made with Biden and is demanding steep spending cuts, showed no interest in the Senate’s bipartisan effort — or the additional money for Ukraine.”
“’I think their priorities are bad,’ he said about the Senate effort.”
Political pundit and journalist Bill Kristol, a Republican who became a Democrat in 2020, Wednesday afternoon pinned the expected, coming shutdown on Speaker McCarthy.
“One man, Kevin McCarthy, is responsible for the looming government shutdown, because he won’t bring to the House floor a funding bill supported by a majority of senators from both parties, the administration, and a majority of House members. It’s the Speaker’s Shutdown.”
Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported, “Facing a potential government shutdown in four days triggered by House Republicans’ inability to unite to pass spending bills, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is trying out a new strategy: shifting the blame.”
“McCarthy is starting to point fingers at Democrats in a bid to pin a shutdown on disagreements over border security. It’s an attempt to rewrite the record of the past several weeks, during which House Republicans have been unable to pass a short-term bill to prevent a shutdown — even one that includes the border security policies his conference overwhelmingly supports.”
Image via Shutterstock
‘Fire Sale Prices’: Biographer Predicts Trump ‘May Soon Be Personally Bankrupt’ and Could See His Assets ‘Liquidated’
Donald Trump, the one-term, twice-impeached ex-president who is running for the White House while facing four criminal indictments that include 91 felony counts across three jurisdictions, “may soon be personally bankrupt,” according to a journalist who has written two books on the man he calls a “self-proclaimed multibillionaire.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, author of “The Making of Donald Trump,” and “The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family,” reported on Tuesday’s decision by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron. The judge ruled Trump had committed fraud for years, by massively inflating the value of his assets. He ordered Trump’s business certificates revoked and his assets dissolved.
“Donald Trump is no longer in business,” Johnston writes at DC Report. “Worse, the self-proclaimed multibillionaire may soon be personally bankrupt as a result, stripped of just about everything because for years he engaged in calculated bank fraud and insurance fraud by inflating the value of his properties, a judge ruled Tuesday.”
The ex-president’s “gaudy Trump Tower apartment, his golf courses, his Boeing 757 jet and even Mar-a-Lago could all be disposed of by a court-appointed monitor, leaving Trump with not much more than his pensions as a one term president and a television performer,” Johnston wrote.
Trump will likely appeal any ruling, but Johnston, who has chronicled Trump for years, says it’s “highly unlikely” an appeals court will reverse Justice Engoron’s decision.
“Barring a highly unlikely reversal by an appeals court, Trump’s business assets eventually will be liquidated since he cannot operate them without a business license. Retired Judge Barbara Jones was appointed to monitor the assets, an arrangement not unlike the court-supervised liquidation of a bankrupt company or the assets of a drug lord,” Johnston writes. “The various properties are likely to be sold at fire sale prices and certainly not for top dollar when liquidation begins, probably after all appeals are exhausted.”
Johnston last year said “that the former president ‘knowingly’ committed dozens of tax crimes over the past several years,” according to Newsweek. Johnston’s comments in December came “shortly after Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee held a vote to publicly release Trump’s tax return documents,” and “published a report showing that Trump was not properly audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) while he was president. The IRS has a policy requiring that a sitting president is audited each year while in office.”
Trump Goes on Wild Rant Targeting Judge and Attorney General After Being Found Liable for Fraud
Donald Trump unleashed a wild rant Wednesday morning, targeting the New York attorney general and the Manhattan Supreme Court judge in the State of New York’s $250 million civil case against him. The judge on Tuesday declared the ex-president had committed fraud for years in building his real estate empire and ordered his business certificates revoked and holdings dissolved.
Trump has been warned to not make public attacks against or attempts to intimidate witnesses or officers of the court, or prejudice jurors in one of the criminal cases he is currently facing. Two weeks ago, after appearing to not heed those warnings, the Special Counsel prosecuting the ex-president for his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election asked the judge presiding over that case to limit his speech.
Wednesday morning, Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James “Racist.” He called Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron “Deranged,” and “Trump Hating,” alleging he had “made up this crazy ‘KILL TRUMP’ decision, assigning insanely low values to properties.” Trump wrote the judge valued his Mar-a-Lago resort and residence at $18 million, and claimed (in all-caps) “it is worth possibly 100 times that amount.”
The judge, however, according to The Hill, “found Trump consistently overvalued Mar-a-Lago, inflating its value on one financial statement by at least 2,300 percent. The ruling pointed to a Palm Beach County Assessor’s appraisal from 2011-2021, which estimated Mar-a-Lago’s value between $18 million and $27.6 million.”
“In his order,” The New York Times reported Tuesday, “Justice Engoron wrote scathingly about Mr. Trump’s defenses, saying that the former president and the other defendants, including his two adult sons and his company, ignored reality when it suited their business needs. ‘In defendants’ world,’ he wrote, ‘rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air.'”
“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” the judge concluded.
At the end of his diatribe Wednesday, Trump declared: “There is also an IRONCLAD DISCLAIMER CLAUSE!”
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