Sessions Department of Justice

Trump administration won’t defend Obamacare in key case

Featured image The constitutionality of Obamacare is under challenge once again. Six years ago, the Supreme Court held that the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance, but does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance. The ruling saved Obamacare. However, the tax bill Congress passed last year eliminates the tax penalty contained in Obamacare. Thus, Texas now argues that »

How the Democrats will try to get recess back

Featured image Earlier this week, Majority Leader McConnell cancelled most of the Senate’s August recess. He did so in response to the unprecedented obstruction of Senate Democrats in blocking floor votes on President Trump’s nominees. The cancellation hurts Democrats, and not just because it’s a blow against their obstruction. There are more vulnerable Democrats than vulnerable Republicans up for reelection this year. The lack of a month-long recess will keep them off »

Recess is canceled!

Featured image Canceling recess was a common punishment for bad behavior when I was in elementary school. I’m happy to report that Majority Leader McConnell says he’ll punish the bad behavior of Democrats by canceling most of the Senate’s August recess. Here is McConnell’s statement: Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, »

Rod Rosenstein’s non-recusal

Featured image Scott has already linked to the New York Times’ story on the Andrew McCabe memos. As he suggests these memos add to the evidence that Rosenstein should recuse himself from the Mueller investigation. Even without the McCabe memos, there seemed to be a solid case for recusal. By all accounts, Mueller is investigating the firing of his good friend James Comey to determine whether, somehow, it is obstruction of justice »

Grounds for optimism on the confirmation front? I’m not convinced

Featured image Some of us have been clamoring for Mitch McConnell to take special measures to break the logjam on Senate confirmation of Trump nominees for the judiciary and key sub-cabinet positions. One such measure would be to limit the number of hours nominees can be debated on the Senate floor, as the Senate agreed to do when Obama nominees were waiting their turn. Another would be to have the Senate work »

Put up or shut up on the Trump threatens democracy claims, Part Two

Featured image In my first post on this subject, I argued that 15 months into the Trump presidency, those who claim he’s a threat to democracy should have to point to actions he’s taken that support this assertion. I then submitted that Trump’s actions do not support claims that he threatens free speech, flouts the rule of law, assaults minority rights, or colludes with foreign adversaries. In this post, I’ll argue that »

Confirm Jeff Clark

Featured image For conservatives, the rolling back of oppressive, costly, and unnecessary federal regulations is probably the signature achievement of the Trump administration so far. This rolling back, if it continues and if it survives challenge, will deliver a major blow to the administrative state and provide the equivalent of a large national tax cut. EPA is the federal agency at the center of the rollback. Indeed, most of the “tax cut” »

Trump pacifies Cory Gardner on marijuana issue

Featured image For months, Sen. Cory Gardner has been blocking the Trump administration from staffing key positions at the DOJ. Among these position are Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division; Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division; Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division; and, until Gardner was finally shamed into relenting, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division. In all, around 20 positions reportedly were affected. You might think that Gardner’s obstruction leaves these key divisions »

Sessions is moving shrewdly on the FISA abuse investigation

Featured image Early this month, President Trump tweeted: Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL! Trump’s tweet was foolish at several levels, as I argued here. For one thing, folks who know what they’re talking about »

The Wheels of Justice Grind Slowly

Featured image The Inspector General of the Department of Justice announced yesterday that he will investigate potential abuse of the FISA process by the FBI in connection with its surveillance of Carter Page, and perhaps more broadly of the Trump presidential campaign: Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General »

Fear & loathing at the DoJ , cont’d

Featured image In the memoir Cardiac Arrest: Five Heart-Stopping Years as a CEO on the Feds’ Hit List (written with Stephen Saltarelli), Howard Root tells the story of his experience as chief executive officer of Vascular Solutions caught in the crosshairs of the federal government when prosecutors sought to put his company out of business and to send him to the big house. Howard touched on one aspect of his story in »

Is Jeff Sessions’ job safe?

Featured image Probably not. I doubt that anyone’s job is safe in the Trump administration. However, the Washington Examiner reports that the attorney general has received assurances from the White House that his job is safe. That’s the good news. The bad news is that John Kelly, who gave Sessions the assurances, may not be safe for long in his job of chief-of-staff. There are good reasons why Sessions may not be »

Influential Dem operative “stands with McCabe” even if he’s guilty

Featured image Ron Klain is a longtime Democratic operative. Among other important posts, he served as chief of staff to two vice presidents, Al Gore and Joe Biden. Klain is a personable guy. He was liked and respected by conservatives I know who dealt with him during the Clinton years. These days, though, Klain is so committed to the anti-Trump resistance that guilt and innocence don’t matter to him anymore, at least »

Sessions sacks Andrew McCabe

Featured image This evening, Attorney Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe. Until recently, McCabe was the deputy director of the FBI. He stepped down from that position, but remained a Justice Department employee pending his retirement, which was set to take place this weekend. The firing took place 26 hours before the retirement. It means McCabe will lose a significant portion of his pension. McCabe promptly issued an angry statement. He claimed, among »

Who can investigate whom?

Featured image Pressure is mounting for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate how the FBI and the Justice Department handled interactions with the Trump campaign and the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Sens. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham say that although the inspector general is doing a good job with his investigation, he faces constraints. Thus, they want a special counsel. To the extent the inspector general »

Scott Pruitt for Attorney General? Let’s hope not

Featured image Within limits, personnel churn in an administration has advantages. Removing poor performers or folks who resist the president’s agenda seems like a no-brainer. And when an outsider assumes the presidency with a shallow bench of supporters, we shouldn’t be surprised to see turnover early on. Churn doesn’t necessarily entail chaos, but it fosters uncertainty and intrigue. Accordingly to this story in the Washington Post by four — count them, four »

DOJ sues California over sanctuary state measures

Featured image The Justice Department has filed suit against the state of California over its policies that protect illegal immigrants from U.S. immigration authorities. The lawsuit challenges the legality of three separate California laws. First, the California Values Act (SB 54) strictly limits state and local agencies from sharing information with federal officers about criminals or suspects unless they have been convicted of serious crimes. Second, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB »