Jeff Sessions’ Task Force On Marijuana Tells Him to Back Off

Anyone remotely familiar with the appeal to men with low self-esteem of religion as a means to control other humans should recognize what drives a nasty lying piece of work like Trump’s “beleaguered” attorney general J. Beauregard Sessions. It seems that except for the criminals and perjury-prone cretins in the Trump administration, Sessions has been desperate to send people to jail. But instead of pursuing the easy targets like the Trump’s, Kushner, Pence, and himself, Sessions wants to prosecute and imprison journalists for doing their jobs, protestors exercising their Constitutional rights, and Americans who legally use marijuana; whether for the weed’s well-documented medicinal properties or recreational enjoyment.

For a person who has invested a fair amount of time researching the benefits of cannabis as an alternative to enriching the pharmaceutical industry, it is beyond comprehension that any half-intelligent human being wants to imprison marijuana users, no matter their reason for partaking. Sessions has been on a crusade since he lied to the Senate to earn confirmation as attorney general to find some connection between a non-existent rise in extreme violent crime and marijuana use, whether for medicine or recreation.

Sessions, a perjurer who has zero comprehension of what he’s talking about, has assailed marijuana as dangerous as heroin and regularly blames its use for spikes in extreme violence. Those patently false assertions are what he’s used in promising to change existing pot policy to throw a lot of innocent people in prison since he took office six months ago. This is a curious departure from “state’s rights” Sessions who has bristled at the idea of federal courts striking down Republican state’s laws that violate various Constitutional amendments guaranteeing equality to all Americans. State’s rights are only valid, in Sessions’ mind, if they foster discrimination or subvert Americans’ right to vote.

Early in his tenure at the Department of Justice, Session hand-picked a task force consisting of law enforcement, prosecutors, and religious conservatives to develop a reason to attack legal marijuana use and throw some Americans in prison and stomp on the 10th Amendment in the process. The big problem for Sessions was revealed accidentally late this week when the Associated Press got access to portions of a recommendation report from his “Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.” In February when he convened the public safety task force, Sessions lied and said “We’re seeing real violence around that [decriminalization]. Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana decriminalization than anyone knows.”

Sessions didn’t want the report released for public consumption and he didn’t have any comment when the non-recommendation report was revealed, and there is a damn good reason. Beauregard “bible” Sessions didn’t want the results of the “task force” released because the cops and prosecutors fundamentally said there are no recommendations; or reasons to follow through on any of Sessions’ anti-pot plans.  The short conclusion was the cops and prosecutors “don’t think anything should change.”

According to the task force’s report, the cops and prosecutors believe that the federal government’s Justice Department has more important work to do than hunt down pot-users and throw them in jail. They argued that Sessions should leave the Obama-era “hands-off” approach to states with legalized weed in place whether legalization is for recreational or medicinal use.  Of course Sessions doesn’t have to heed the task force’s recommendation, but at least now he can’t lie and claim his “hand-picked” task force pushed him to pursue pot to stop violent crime; a claim that is absurd on its face and not factual whatsoever.

As noted in the AP report, the nature of the “wait and see” of the task force’s recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on decriminalized marijuana. Although there are some in law enforcement that might support a tougher approach, in March there was a bipartisan group of senators who “urged” Sessions to uphold the existing marijuana policy and leave the states alone. There is also a group of congressional representatives and senators who are actively seeking ways to not only protect legalized marijuana use, but to help promote the industry and help it succeed and prosper.

According to a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force, the “vague recommendations were likely intentional to reflect the understanding that shutting down the entire pot industry is neither palatable nor possible.”  John Hudak said:

If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails.”

Sessions’ threats to embark on a federal crackdown crusade have united liberals and conservatives to oppose his plan to attack pot use and legalization. Humanitarians oppose the Sessions’ war on pot because of the “human costs of a failed war on drugs,” and conservatives see it as a states’ rights issue and none of the federal government’s business. In fact, many members of Congress and decriminalization advocates were fearful that the task force would give Sessions the green light to dismantle what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar industry that is helping fund schools, healthcare, educational programs and particularly law enforcement.

The director of conservative outreach at the Marijuana Policy Project, Don Murphy, joined decriminalization advocates in celebrating the task force’s recommendation to “butt out.” Mr. Murphy said in a statement:

The task force’s recommendations reflect the fact that the Dept. of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses. In states that have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, these businesses are creating jobs, generating revenue, protecting consumers, and making their communities safer. The vast majority of Americans want the federal government to let states determine their own marijuana policies. We hope the attorney general is paying attention and maintains the current policy of non-interference.

It remains to be seen if Sessions is paying attention, but if that is a problem he has, there was just a long-term study released that revealed that cannabis use is a means of controlling people’s problems paying attention if they suffer from ADHD or HDD. And, since Sessions has a severe memory problem and couldn’t remember how many secret meetings he had with Russian agents helping Trump’s campaign, a different study revealed that chronic pot use does, in fact, help people with memory loss issues. Beauregard should smoke a couple of bowls a day, lose that stupid bible, regain his memory and increase his attention span; America would be better served and he might stop being such a monumental evangelical dick.

Sessions Expands the Trump Administration’s Theocratic War on Gays

 

Many Americans familiar with Attorney General Jeff Sessions were befuddled at claims by other Republicans that the religious right sycophant was an acclaimed civil rights champion when he was tapped to lead the Justice Department. Those same Americans were well aware that Sessions is a harsh critic of civil or equal rights and complained that since it is the DOJ that is tasked with guaranteeing that all Americans enjoy the same rights, Sessions was not qualified to lead the department or protect Americans’ civil rights.

Late Wednesday, Sessions proved those skeptics right and waded into a private employment dispute litigation on the side of a bigot who believes it is legal to discriminate based on an employees’ sexual orientation. The bigot employer fired a worker on the grounds that he was gay.

The evangelical bigot Sessions used his position at the the Justice Department to file official federal government  court papers arguing that a major 53 year-old federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation. As Scotusblog reported; the evangelical running the DOJ butted in on a case now being considered by a New York appeals court in what is regarded as “a rare example of top Washington officials weighing in on gay rights in a private dispute.” It is a portent of things to come with an administration rife with theocrats that demand god is given a supreme voice in public policy.

That is precisely what Sessions didn’t say, and something the media is woefully missing in reporting; Sessions’ official DOJ amicus brief in defense of discrimination is founded on a nasty archaic religious edict, and nothing else. Of course Sessions is attacking LGBT people’s civil rights, it is a hard and fast rule among the religious right that non-heterosexual Americans are not entitled to the same rights or protections as white evangelicals.

The case the theocrats running the federal government are interfering with involves a private labor dispute regarding a homophobic employer who summarily fired an employee simply because he is gay. That is contrary to the meaning of civil rights and “contradicts a federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which says that the 1965 Civil Rights Act does indeed protect gay and bisexual workers” from bigots in the evangelical movement. That position was upheld just three months ago in a major ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that supported the concept that LGBTQ Americans, as American citizens, are entitled to civil rights and employment discrimination protections.

In April, US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made a very important ruling in an 8-3 decision concluding that federal civil rights law — specifically, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — does protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court ruled that it is illegal in the United States for any employer to discriminate against gay workers because it offends their evangelical religion. It was the first federal court to conclude that gay people are real American citizens and therefore entitled to employment protections under existing civil rights law. The Trump administration, run by a theocratic cabal including Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions, disagrees and says gays are not real (white Christian) Americans and therefore not worthy of federal civil rights or employment discrimination protections.

The American Civil Liberties Union called the DOJ’s brief a “gratuitous and extraordinary attack on L.G.B.T. people’s civil rights.” The director of the organization’s L.G.B.T. and H.I.V. Project, James Esseks, issued a statement adding, “The Sessions-led Justice Department and the Trump administration are actively working to expose people to discrimination.” Although that is the case, it would be beneficial if the ACLU cited the real source of the administration’s push to legalize discrimination – the evangelical theocrats running the government.

It is noteworthy to remind Americans that less than two weeks ago Sessions gave a speech to an acknowledged evangelical hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which claims “being gay is as sinful as bestiality.” That speech prompted U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to be elected to the Senate, to warn that Sessions’ speech  “sends a very troubling message that our Attorney General, America’s top law enforcement official, is not committed to standing up to anti-LGBT hate,”  

Based on Sessions’ interference in a private employment discrimination case on the side of the bigoted employer, Ms. Baldwin’s comment about Sessions’ lack of commitment to doing his job was prophetic. Not that any sane American expected anything different from an evangelical fanatic in charge of a powerful federal agency.

This latest attempt to “rule” according to theocracy was not unexpected and in great part it is down to the media, Democrats, and all manner of equal, civil, and human rights organizations gross failure to identify the source of every affront to humanity and American citizens’ freedoms – establishment of the evangelical religion as the rule of law. No doubt if these attacks on American citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights to equality were reported as unconstitutional imposition of religion, it is highly likely that people like Sessions, and preacher Pence would never be in a position of authority. Sadly, now the theocrats are the authority and just as sadly LGBTQ people are not going to be the only victims because as history proves, religious regimes will get around to attacking everyone sooner or later.

 

 

 

Republicans Block Effort to Revoke Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance

 

It has become increasingly obvious that Republicans are about as interested in national security as they are raising taxes 90 percent on their wealthy donors. Oh sure they feigned interest in security when a Democrat was Secretary of State and used a private email server, but they pretended to be interested in a rash of issues because they weren’t in power. However, when a most senior advisor to a Republican in the White House deliberately lied and omitted over 100 contacts with foreign agents on a national security clearance form, including agents that waged cyber warfare against America, even questioning the perjury is a “political stunt.

By now most Americans have at least heard that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, lied on the first two Standard Form 86 (SF-86) security clearance documents he submitted to earn a high-level security clearance to work in a place he doesn’t belong – the White House.

Kushner was even “inclined” to “revise” a third SF-86 to add over a hundred additional contacts with foreign agents he “forgot” to mention the second time he “revised” his SF-86 clearance. Of course just meeting with foreigners isn’t an issue, but Kushner met with Russian agents actively waging “cyber warfare” against an American institution, and he lied about those meetings at least twice and still has a high security clearance; something House Republicans do not have a problem with.

However, Democrats in the House do take a dim view of committing perjury on a security clearance document and although they are virtually impotent to do anything about it, they made an effort to get a risk to national security out of the Trump administration’s decision making chain.

One amendment introduced by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill that banned any funds from being used “to issue, renew, or maintain a security clearance for any individual in a position in the Executive Office of the President who is under a criminal investigation by a Federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government.”  Jared Kushner meets that standard of “being under criminal investigation” by a Federal law enforcement agency but Republicans don’t care; that Amendment failed along a party line vote 22-30.

The second amendment sought to revoke the security clearance of any White House staffers who deliberately fail to disclose (lie about) meetings with foreign nationals (agents) or foreign nations (Russia) on the SF-86 questionnaire for national security positions. That amendment, like the first one, was defeated along a party line vote and it is telling that all Republicans are protecting yet another Trump administration actor regardless the threat they pose to national security.

Ms. Wasserman Schulz argued that both amendments were crucial to “safeguard the country’s most sensitive national security information.” Most Americans would agree and likely add that it is just as crucial to safeguard the nation from an administration that knowingly employs several national security risks; and it is a security risk by Trump Sr. to bring in corrupt actors who lie to conceal their contacts with foreign agents.

While the Democrats were attempting to protect national security, Republicans said the amendments were political maneuvers and unnecessary. Texas Republican John Culbertson said both amendments were just political stunts because national security decisions should be left up to the security professionals appointed by Donald Trump. Culbertson said:

The use of funding prohibitions to deny or remove security clearances is just simply a political stunt and unnecessary, because security clearances can already be denied or revoked because criminal conduct.”

No matter what Culbertson says, the national security “professionals” Trump appointed have already revealed they definitely are not “denying or revoking” security clearances for anyone in Trump’s administration despite that there is powerful evidence that there was “criminal conduct.”

According to SF-86 under the heading Penalties for Inaccurate or False Statements, it plainly states:

The U.S. Criminal Code (title 18, section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five (5) years imprisonment. In addition, Federal agencies generally fire, do not grant a security clearance, or disqualify individuals who have materially and deliberately falsified these forms, and this remains a part of the permanent record for future placements. Your prospects of placement or security clearance are better if you answer all questions truthfully and completely. You will have adequate opportunity to explain any information you provide on this form and to make your comment.” (author bold)

It is noteworthy that under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 a fair number of “notable Americans” have been convicted for “making false statements” including Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Scooter Libby, Bernie Madoff, and Jeffrey Skilling to name a few.  Republicans or anyone in the Trump administration can never claim that the law is archaic or obscure, or has never been enforced. It has, and it probably would be enforced today if the entire Trump administration wasn’t run by criminals like Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is not going to prosecute Kushner or make any attempt to deny his security clearance because he also “knowingly falsified and concealed a material fact” on his SF 86 and during sworn testimony before the United States Senate.

These amendments by Democrats are a continuing effort to clear out known national security risks, and felonious “advisors” from the Trump White House and it is crystal clear Republicans are now, and have been, obstructing efforts to protect critical national security secrets. No small number of Democrats have been calling for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked, or at least suspended. This is particularly true since the revelation that he was in attendance with Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort when they met with the Russian lawyer in a clandestine meeting at Trump Tower that Kushner failed to report on his security clearance form.

That latest “revelation” is in addition to Kushner’s meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the CEO of a Russian state-run bank during the transition.  If, as Republicans claim, criminal conduct is justification for denying or revoking security clearances, and Trump’s national security team or his attorney general refuse to do their jobs, then it is left to Congress to step in – something Democrats did attempt with the two separate amendments that only failed because like Trump, Sessions, Kushner, Trump Jr., and likely the majority of the Trump administration, Republicans are criminals for covering up a federal crime. It makes them co-conspirators in criminal conduct that should send the entire lot of them to a federal penitentiary for up to five (5) years.

Image: Credo

 

The United States Is Run By A Criminal Organization

Once upon a time America was renowned as “a nation of laws.”  Most Americans comprehend that no matter if they like or dislike certain laws, they are in place to protect the general population and the security of the federal government. Republicans generally cannot comport laws because they prevent their wealthy donors from fleecing the population and destroying the environment, among many other atrocities. But over the past year or so, Republicans have not only violated laws regularly, they have broken other laws to cover their criminality with no expectation of ever being brought to justice, with good reason.

A couple of days ago Howard Dean said what a few Americans already know after six months of the Trump administration; “A criminal enterprise is running the country now.” Mr. Dean said the people will never get the truth out of Trump and he is spot on; pathological liars never tell the truth. However, it is not just Trump who is a criminal liar, it is the entire Republican Party and they are just as culpable as Trump for violating an increasing number of laws; the least of which is collusion to conceal crimes against the people and the United States.

Mr. Dean said of Trump:

He doesn’t tell the truth. Everybody knows he doesn’t tell the truth. Even his supporters know he doesn’t tell the truth. But they like him anyway. I think at this point, Trump is Trump. He’s going to lie. He’s going to do all these things he does. And the real savior for democracy is going to be Robert Mueller. He’s going to find out what the truth is.

Whether or not Special Counsel Robert Mueller can “save democracy” and prosecute the criminals is highly doubtful, although he likely will find out what the truth is. The hurdle for Mueller is the criminal posing as the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the Republicans in Congress that are going to great lengths to protect their powerful criminal organization.

It is a depressing prospect, but Americans have to face facts that with a Justice Department under sway of a criminal, and a criminal Congress complicit in covering up the administration and its own criminal activities, the chances of holding any of the felons to account is slim to none. It is just what happens when criminals have total control over every part of America’s government and criminal justice system.

It is getting to the point that Americans have to come to grips with the reality that everyone in the Trump administration is corrupt, and that the GOP is fine with a criminal administration running the country as long as they are entrenched in the organization. The latest sign that Republicans support their crime boss and his lieutenants was no outrage over a slew of revelations that most, if not all, of Trump’s cabinet and inner circle committed felony perjury on federal national security forms. Yesterday, the nation’s top law enforcement official, bible-thumper Jeff Sessions, finally acquiesced to a federal court order and handed over documents that were fully redacted.

Sessions, like Trump’s son, his son-in-law, and several insiders deliberately omitted meeting with foreign players on their Standard Form 86 (SF86); the federal document required to obtain a national security clearance. Reports are that Kushner omitted over 100 meetings with foreigners leading him to revise the original SF86 three times. Sessions had resisted a freedom of information act request (FOIAR) to hand over a copy of his SF86 that he lied on and prompted a federal judge to order him to produce the document. Session did finally release the form a day after the Judge’s deadline, but he may as well have not turned over any document  at all; the form he did release was completely redacted.

Of course Sessions handed over a veritable blank document; the FOIR was to determine if he lied on the SF 86 about “all communications Sessions has had with any official of the Russian government.” Remember, then-attorney general designee Sessions committed felony perjury in front of the United States Senate during his confirmation hearing to be the nation’s top law enforcement official. A crime the Republican Congress pretended never happened; but why should they make an exception for just one of Trump’s criminal lieutenants. In total there were five of Trump’s cabinet nominees who committed perjury under oath. And even after their crimes were exposed Republicans in Congress pretended perjury wasn’t really a crime; just an inconvenient and persistent memory lapse.

As Heather ‘Digby’ Parton explained in a Salon article, Republicans were well aware of Russia’s hacking and criminal aid to Trump beginning in late 2015. According to Reuters, the Republican leaders in Congress, the so-called Gang of Eight, not only benefitted from Russian interference in the election like Trump, they never said a word about a foreign adversary committing cyber warfare against the United States and there is a sick reason why. Congressional Republicans used information gleaned from that “Russian cyber warfare attack” in some Republicans’ 2016 campaigns for Congress. Any common American caught receiving stolen property would be summarily arrested and tried in a court of law, but in Trump’s criminal enterprise Republicans are above the law.

Ms. Parton also noted that during a conversation between Republican congressional leaders, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told a “roomful of Republican leaders” that he knew Trump and another Republican was being paid by Vladimir Putin; a story confirmed by the Washington Post. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan quickly shepherded the assembled Republicans away from the media’s prying ears and pretended nothing was wrong; making him as much a criminal as any other Trump administration culprit.

As Howard Dean said, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will get to the truth in due time, but there is a monumental issue over whether he has any prosecutorial power whatsoever. That task normally falls to the Department of Justice and the nation’s top law enforcement official; in this instance it is bible-toting criminal liar Jeff Sessions. And the Republican Congress is not going to do anything because they are just as guilty for covering up certain cases of felony perjury and being aware and beneficiaries of Russia’s attack on America’s democracy.

America is still a nation of laws, but with a criminal enterprise (entire Republican movement) running the country, those laws only apply to regular Americans. The people shouldn’t get too excited at the weekly revelations that yet another Trump administration criminal was exposed, or think that there is any law enforcement or prosecutorial agency willing to stop the criminals. Because although America is a nation of laws with a robust criminal justice system, the criminals are running more than the government, they run the criminal justice system like they run Congress and the White House.

h/t HeatherDigbyParton/Salon

Civil Rights Watchdog Launches Two-year Probe of Trump Administration

 

At this juncture in American politics it is safe to say that there are a great majority of the population that considers Donald Trump, his closest associates, and his family as the epitome of corruption. It would be impossible for all but the Trump family or the Donald himself to dispute that the television celebrity in the Oval Office “acts dishonestly in return for personal or financial gain” as a natural inclination. It is that corruption that has the Trump at the center of a veritable plethora of special counsel, F.B.I., and federal watchdog agency investigations. Now that the Trump has finally admitted he is under investigation for obstruction of justice by a special counsel, among other things, he can add a two-year investigation into “federal civil rights enforcement,” or lack thereof, within the Trump administration.

Trump likely learned of the bipartisan United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) investigation at about the same time he took to Twitter to admit that he is the subject of a special counsel internal investigation. The Commission on Civil Rights operates under the authority of Congress and as a bipartisan agency it is charged with advising the White House and Congress on civil rights matters.

On Friday the Commission announced it had “unanimously approved a comprehensive two-year probe” into the “degree to which current budgets and staffing levels allow civil rights offices to perform” their important functions; especially in an administration that is openly hostile towards the civil rights of an ever-growing number of Americans in nearly every demographic save the filthy rich and white evangelicals.

What prompted the USCCR, a “federal watchdog agency” to launch an investigation into the entire Trump administration was several agencies that oversee civil rights gleefully announcing severe budget and personnel cuts to critical departments tasked with enforcing civil rights. According to a statement justifying a “two-year probe” into the Trump:

The proposed cuts would result in a dangerous reduction of civil rights enforcement across the country, leaving communities of color, LGBT people, older people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups exposed to greater risk of discrimination.”

The commission, created under the Civil Rights Act and funded by Congress, expressed specific worry about seven federal agencies under Trump’s oversight. Of course the Department of Education and Department of Justice are going to get a very special investigation over the next two years; Betsy DeVos and Jeff Sessions are notoriously hostile to civil rights of every demographic save white evangelical Christians. The “Commission” will also take a long, hard look into the departments of Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency and the Legal Services Corporation. They are all agencies Trump promises to slash funding from because they closely monitor civil rights and Republicans want that funding sent to the wealthy in the form of tax cuts.

Although the Commission’s statement cited several agencies and departments for a close investigation, it was particularly interested in the Department of Justice under anti-civil rights crusader Jeff Sessions; an agency the Commission said has “completely changed its priorities.” The Commission said in its statement:

Actions by the Department [of Justice] indicate it is minimizing its civil rights efforts. For example, a majority of the Commission criticized DOJ’s decision to site [install] Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers in courthouses as a dangerous impediment to access to justice for all Americans.”

The Commission also singled out Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who has “repeatedly refused” to commit to enforcing federal civil rights. The Commission also  found that, coupled with DeVos’ apparent intent to blow off civil rights for various demographics, the deep budget cuts within the Education Department’s ‘Office of Civil Rights’ is “particularly troubling.”

The statement announcing the two-year probe in the Trump administration actually cited DeVos’ Senate subcommittee  testimony earlier this month where she refused to answer a query whether discrimination against LGBTQ students in private schools would be allowed on her watch. It is highly likely that members of the Commission are acutely aware that DeVos is no more a friend to the gay community than she is the disabled or minority communities.

It is really unfortunate that the Commission on Civil Rights lacks the the ability or authority to enforce its investigation’s findings, but it will at least get to present the results in a “final report to Congress at the end of 2019.” Once the report is presented to Congress, the Commission’s task is completed and it will be left to legislators to take action. The current chairwoman of the Commission, Catherine E. Lhamon, said:

For 60 years, Congress has charged the Commission to monitor Federal civil rights enforcement and recommend necessary change. We take this charge seriously, and we look forward to reporting our findings to Congress, the President, and the American people.”

It is unlikely that regardless how damning the Commission on Civil Rights report is in the final analysis, a Republican controlled Congress and Trump will not take any corrective action any more than they regard civil rights for all Americans as a serious issue. Trump will declare it “fake news,” a “witch hunt,” and then summarily fire or disband the Commission. And Republicans in Congress will claim it was a partisan attack on white evangelical Christians and the Sessions-led Department of Justice will declare civil rights, like the Separation Clause, is unhistorical and unconstitutional overreach.

It is getting to be a chore to keep abreast of all the investigations into Trump, his family, and his administration, but at least with a two-year long investigation into seven different federal agencies in the Trump administration, there will be nothing to report on or opine about until the end of 2019.

Top House Democrats Want Sessions Punished For Breaking Federal Law

In spite of the current administration’s endemic corruption, and congressional Republicans complicit involvement in covering up, or at least ignoring, blatant corruption and criminal acts, it was surprising there was little outrage after it was revealed the Attorney General committed perjury before the Senate. Even for corrupt Republicans, it seemed impossible they would do or say nothing about the nation’s top lawman committing a federal felony with impunity, but apparently there really is a perverted sense of honor among Republican criminals. Now, because Jeff Sessions was able to commit a federal felony and then get rewarded with a cabinet level position, he broke the law again. But Democrats are finally taking the criminal Sessions’ actions seriously and calling for his discipline at the least, and by rights summary termination.

The day following Trump’s obstruction of justice in firing James Comey, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) labeled Sessions’ role in the criminal obstruction of justice endeavor a “blatant disregard for the pledge he made in his recusal letter.” Remember, proud evangelical Sessions had to recuse himself from “any investigations” related to the Russian interference in the 2016 election because he violated the Ninth Commandment (he lied) about his contacts with Russians during the campaign. Wyden’s point, and it is beyond refute, is that Sessions violated that “public recusal” when, as attorney general, he played an integral role in firing the FBI Director overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the election; thus Senator Wyden’s remark that Sessions displayed “blatant disregard for the pledge he made in his recusal letter.

On Friday, two House Democrats went farther than just talking about Sessions’ violations and rightly asserted that indeed, in violating two very public recusal pledges, the Attorney General broke the law. The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was joined by the highest ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) in issuing a letter to the Department of Justice demanding disciplinary action for Sessions’ federal violations.

In their letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, senior House Democrats Conyers and Cummings not only informed Rosenstein that Sessions broke another federal law, they demanded to know what kind of discipline the Deputy Attorney General was going to impose on the nation’s top law enforcement official. They wrote in part:

We are writing to request your assistance in addressing the crisis of confidence created by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he participated directly in the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey despite the fact that he previously recused himself from any actions involving the investigations of the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns.

It appears that the Attorney General’s actions recommending that Trump fire Director Comey may have contradicted his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, breached the public recusal he made before the American people, and violated the law enacted by Congress to prevent conflicts of interest at the Department of Justice.

Federal law sets forth as a penalty for recusal violations removal from office, and the Attorney General’s violation in this case appears to be particularly grave. Since you are the acting Attorney General in this particular matter, we call on you to explain the measures that now may be required to mete out appropriate discipline in this case.” (author bold)

The issues leading to Sessions committing another federal crime are his blatant violation of two separate recusal promises related to the 2016 presidential campaign. First, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions promised to recuse himself from any investigation involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because of the several derogatory statements he made about her while he was actively campaigning for the Trump.

Second, Sessions succumbed to public and Democratic pressure on March 2 after it was revealed he committed perjury under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when he could no longer conceal that he lied that he had no contacts with Russia’s ambassador. But instead of resigning from Trump’s Cabinet, or being charged with perjury, removed from office, and prosecuted, Sessions simply recused himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.

The two House Democrats’ letter to Rosenstein, also complicit in aiding Trump’s obstruction of justice in Mr. Comey’s dismissal, asserted that Sessions broke the law by violating his recusal promises in several ways.

First, the Democrats point out that in his May 9 letter to Trump recommending Comey’s immediate termination, Sessions specifically agreed with the assessment by Rosenstein that Comey mishandled the “investigation into Clinton’s emails.”

That was a direct contradiction to Sessions’ first recusal promise and it is a contradiction widely publicized and in writing. And, in Representative Conyers and Cummings’ letter they particularly cited a report in Reuters that Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Trump met with and asked the then-FBI Director Comey to give them a preview of his testimony into the “Clinton email investigation” when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3; another violation of Sessions’ stated recusal.

As far as Jeff Sessions’ very public recusal regarding the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election on Trump’s behalf, the House Democrats specifically made note of “multiple press reports that stated that Mr. Comey’s dismissal in which Sessions was a direct participant was directly related to the FBI’s ongoing Russia investigation.” That particular contention, that Comey was fired because of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference, was confirmed by Trump himself in a nationally-televised interview with NBC’s Lester Holt; an interview in which Trump all but admitted to obstructing justice.

According to Representatives Conyers and Cummings, Jeff Sessions’ actions merit some serious disciplinary action, including termination. As the Democrats proffered, Sessions certainly broke a federal law “barring Justice Department officials from participating in any investigation that presents a conflict of interest.” And, as if to punctuate their assertion that Sessions is guilty, Conyers and Cummings demanded that Rosenstein answer questions about Sessions’ conduct leading up to his violating two recusal promises.

Those questions include whether Sessions took the time or proper step of consulting with ethics officials regarding his involvement in matters relating to Comey’s firing, and whether Sessions had taken part in any discussions about the Clinton email or Russia investigations; something his meeting with, and letter to, Trump would inform that he certainly did.

The chance that the Deputy Attorney General will be any more law abiding or honest than Sessions or Trump seems slim to non-existent. This is especially true if he joined Trump and Sessions in asking the FBI Director to reveal in advance what his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee would entail. In fact, once one realizes that this entire affair is being run by corrupt and criminal Republicans from the Oval Office to the House to the Senate to the Department of Justice, there is little hope whatsoever that justice will ever be served. If Jeff Sessions was able to blatantly commit perjury under oath before the Senate with impunity and then be rewarded with a cabinet position, no Republican alive is going to hold him accountable for breaking another federal law.

America Is In a Constitutional Crisis And Its Democracy Is In Jeopardy

 

If Americans are paying attention, and they certainly should be, to the state of their government it is jarringly apparent that in Trump’s administration the criminals are running the justice system. It only makes sense because a pack of criminals are running the White House and there is every reason to believe a fair number of criminals are running both houses of Congress. No matter how one appraises the current and rapidly developing decline of American democracy, Trump is responsible for throwing the nation into a constructional crisis.

Were that not the case, that America’s government is compromised on various accounts, Trump would not have terminated Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey to stop the investigation into the Trump-Russian attack on America’s democracy. As noted in a New York Times opinion piece:

It’s now clear that Trump’s Justice Department has no independence. Both Sessions, and Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, are acting like Trump enforcers. And now the F.B.I. is compromised [or is going to be compromised] as well.”

A conservative columnist at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, explained why Trump firing Mr. Comey is not only a reason for a very robust and thorough independent investigation, but why Trump can be impeached. Ms. Rubin wrote:

Using one law enforcement body (or set of individuals) to stop another from investigating presidential wrongdoing was the nub of Watergate and the ensuing impeachment proceedings. We do not know whether that is what is at issue here, but Congress has no alternative but to determine why the president acted and why he acted now. That should entail questioning under oath of any persons aware of or involved in the firing process and ultimately an accounting by the president of his own actions.”

It is important to recall that Trump praised Comey just prior to the election and has kept him at his post without issue for nearly four months since his inauguration. According to several reports, what appeared to set Trump off first was Comey’s Senate testimony that he was “mildly nauseous” at the thought of swaying the election to Trump. There are also plenty of credible reports that Mr. Comey was fired for requesting more funding from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to more effectively conduct the investigation into collusion between the Trump cabal and Russia.

It is noteworthy that Rosenstein is in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation at the DOJ because Jeff Sessions was “pressured” to recuse himself over his own undisclosed contact with the Russians during Trump’s campaign; a fact he lied about under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. That act of perjury is the reason he should be prosecuted and sent to federal prison for five years instead of colluding with Trump to stop the FBI’s investigation.

The question, then, is why did Sessions as Attorney General appeal to Trump to fire Comey for investigating Russian collusion when he is out of the loop on Russian grounds? The White House public statement announcing Comey’s termination plainly puts Sessions in the center of the criminal endeavor. It said, in part:

President Trump acted on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Any sane person can’t possibly believe that Comey’s termination had anything whatsoever to do with the FBI’s handling of the bogus Clinton email affair. One cannot possibly believe it was anything other than Trump’s despotic attempt to put a criminal conspirator in charge of the FBI’s investigation who will join the thugs in the Justice Department, obey Trump’s dictates, and halt the investigation.

As no small number of pundits and commenters have opined, Trump’s action is “a premeditated and terrifying attack on the American system of government” and “ushers in a constitutional crisis.”

Here’s the thing, Trump, Sessions and Rosenstein can claim whatever lie they think the public will believe, but their claims are still lies. Yes, it’s true Americans can be incredibly dense and painfully so, but no-one is as stupid as Trump believes they are. Remember, as late as Monday, Trump took to his press outlet, Twitter, to call for the end of the FBI’s investigation into his administrations collusion with Russia. Trump tweeted:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Within a day, Trump did what a criminal tyrant would do and attempted to put an end to the Trump-Russia collusion story unilaterally, with a little aid from the criminals leading the DOJ. Mr. Comey’s firing was not about emails, or that he wasn’t doing his job. He was terminated because he was doing his job without Trump’s direction and wanted to go deeper; that likely sealed his fate and prompted Trump to do what a tyrannical dictator would do – fire the man investigating him.

Trump was already livid that Comey publicly humiliated him when he summarily dismissed Trump’s paranoid claim that President Obama wire tapped him as “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.” Then Trump seethed that Comey told the Senate he “mildly” felt like throwing up at the idea his actions swayed the general election results. But what likely frightened the life out of Trump was Comey’s request for more funding for the Trump-Russia collusion investigation; a request that certainly means the investigation is not only widening but producing an abundance of evidence.

Now that it looks like Trump will find a sympathetic sycophant to do his bidding at the FBI and deliver the predetermined outcome Trump wants and close the investigation, Congress’ duty to democracy is to reassure the people that Trump is not above the law. That necessitates a robust independent investigation “completely free of Trump’s oversight” and without interference from Trump’s criminal conspirators at the Department of Justice. America’s democracy is in jeopardy and it is in a constitutional crisis, and save a few brave members of Congress it is increasingly apparent that Republicans have little interest in saving the Union from their hero in the White House or themselves.