Connect with us


Jeff Sessions’ DOJ Deletes ‘Need for Free Press’ Section in Key Manual for Federal Prosecutors



The Dept. of Justice has revamped a key and critical manual for federal prosecutors, remaking it to reflect the vision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ priorities and goals.

“In: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime policies. Out: A section titled ‘Need for Free Press and Public Trial.’ References to the department’s work on racial gerrymandering are gone. Language about limits on prosecutorial power has been edited down,” Buzzfeed reports.

“The changes include new sections that underscore Sessions’ focus on religious liberty and the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on government leaks — there is new language admonishing prosecutors not to share classified information and directing them to report contacts with the media.”

Buzzfeed notes that the manual, technically titled the United States Attorneys Manual, is actually used by federal prosecutors and throughout the Justice Dept.

Part of the section of freedom of the press that was deleted said that “careful weight must be given in each case to the constitutional requirements of a free press and public trials as well as the right of the people in a constitutional democracy to have access to information about the conduct of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts, consistent with the individual rights of the accused.”

In short, Sessions is opting to change the DOJ’s First Amendment focus to preserving and expanding “religious liberty,” and gutting freedom of the press protections.

The racial gerrymandering section, in part, had read:

“The Voting Section defends from unjustified attack redistricting plans designed to provide minority voters fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choice and endeavors to achieve racially fair results where courts find…that redistricting plans constitute unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.”

Under Attorney General Eric Holder the manual was changed to advocate for charging decisions that “fairly reflect the defendant’s criminal conduct.”

It now reflects Attorney General Sessions’ memo that orders federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offenses. By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.


Old-School Republican on GOP: ‘A Complete Break from Reality’ Concerning Pelosi



President-elect Donald J. Trump and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi smile for a photo during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017. More than 5,000 military members from across all branches of the armed forces of the United States, including reserve and National Guard components, provided ceremonial support and Defense Support of Civil Authorities during the inaugural period. (DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

Kurt Bardella, a former press secretary for Republican Olympia Snowe, told MSNBC on Friday that when it came to Nancy Pelosi, the Republican Party had had “a complete break from reality.”

“The GOP talking point this morning is that Nancy Pelosi is peacocking for her colleagues, blocking negotiations to look strong, shore up support for her speakership,” said Ayman Mohyeldin, noting that Republicans have historically strongly disliked the incoming House Speaker. “Is that a smart strategic move to say that the left, or the Democrats have a left wing within their party that is making Nancy Pelosi take this hardened position?”

“They can try to say that, but it’s a complete break from what’s actually happening in reality, and I just don’t think anybody’s going to buy that anyway,” replied Bardella. “Nancy Pelosi’s position since the election has been strong. There is not a real severe legitimate challenger to her speakership.”

He added that the Republicans were deluding themselves about her position on the budget as well.

“The reality is that something that the Republicans can not escape from: they had a deal. The Senate passed it unanimously,” he pointed out. “This is all on the House Republicans.” He slammed Speaker Paul Ryan by name for refusing to bring the Senate bill to the floor, and said the party’s refusal to work with Pelosi put the president in an even more precarious position.

“When the Democrats take back the majority in six days, they’re going to put up a bill, they’re going to pass it, and once again Donald Trump is going to be in a position wheres he’s going have to veto a bill that could end the shutdown. He’ll own it twice,” Bardella said, scoffing at his own party. “It’s not going to work. the American people are not going to buy that it is some how all Nancy Pelosi’s fight, because the reality is this started before she was speaker.

Watch the video here.

Continue Reading


Exposed: New GOP Nominee Ron DeSantis Manages Hate-Filled Facebook Group That Promotes Racism: Report



Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis is an administrator of a Facebook group that promotes racist and “deep state” conspiracy theories.

American Ledger — a corruption watchdog news site — reported Wednesday that DeSantis is one of 52 administrators and moderators for the “Tea Party” Facebook group that is also co-run by failed Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward.

The GOP candidate’s participation in the large administrator pool was first revealed on Tuesday by Media Matters extremism researcher Natalie Martinez, who posted screenshots of a string of DeSantis campaign posts in the group. She later learned that another administrator named the candidate as one of the group’s admins.

The “Tea Party” group has nearly 95,000 members, the Ledger reported. In the past, group members have posted about the “ghetto scum” that is Black Lives Matter and made fun of the Parkland massacre survivors.

“One member believed the violent far-right rally of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 was a hoax,” the report noted, “writing in a post liked by 1,600 users that the rally was ‘orchestrated by the left’ to ‘destroy America.’”

Ward and her husband Michael were revealed to be administrators of the group in early July by Media Matters. Michael Ward was known to share posts from the candidate’s (verified) Facebook page and once called John McCain a “strong supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

After winning the GOP gubernatorial primary a day prior, DeSantis made headlines Wednesday after saying people who voted for his Democratic opponent — Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum — would “monkey up” the state.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading


House Republicans Overwhelmingly Vote to Eliminate Billions in Funding for Children’s Health Insurance



House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to eliminate funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, after approving a White House budget plan.

Representatives voted 210-206 — with 187 Democrats and 19 Republicans against — to rescind nearly $15 billion in unspent funding that had previously been approved, including $7 billion for CHIP, reported the New York Times.

Lawmakers had voted in January to reauthorize CHIP for another six years as part of a spending bill to reopen the government, after letting the program’s funding lapse for 114 days.

The Congressional Budget Office insisted the canceled funding would not change what the government spends on CHIP or affect the number of children with coverage.

The bill approved by House Republicans would reduce actual spending by a total of $1.1 billion from 2018 to 2028, according to the CBO.

Congress approved $1.5 trillion in tax cuts in December, and then a $1.3 trillion spending plan in March, as annual deficits reach nearly $1 trillion.

The rescissions package, which would pull back almost $15 billion in unspent funding, was pushed by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is considered a leading contender as the next House Speaker.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.