The Justice Department had announced a new direction for the justice reinvestment program that encourages states to cut prison populations. The proposal has been withdrawn after advocates of reinvestment sought support from key members of Congress.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions targeted a 2015 Supreme Court ruling that he says allowed more than 1,400 violent criminals to be released. The ruling said the law’s definition of a violent felon was too vague.
Members of the Freedom Caucus filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for what they allege is his failure to hand over documents to Congress about the Russia investigation. Now the House goes on a five-week recess.
The report includes the first public description of how DOJ will respond to foreign influence operations like Russia’s 2016 election meddling. “That policy reflects an effort to articulate neutral principles so that when the issue that the government confronted in 2016 arises again — as it surely will — there will be a framework to address it,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Alan Hanson, the top Trump administration official at the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs, is moving to the Transportation Department. He’ll be replaced by Laura Rogers, a former San Diego prosecutor who now directs DOJ’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office).
David Muhlhausen, director of the Justice Department’s research agency, predicted at a Washington, D.C., meeting that research will play “an ever more important role in how the criminal justice field operates.” The National Institute of Justice gave $221 million in grants last year.
The Senate has confirmed 65 of the president’s U.S. Attorney nominees, eight more than the Obama administration at this point. They are key to supporting Attorney
General Jeff Sessions’ law-and-order platform.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asks 93 U.S. Attorneys for help in checking Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s paper trail. “It’s flat-out wrong to have career federal prosecutors engaged in a political process like the vetting of a Supreme Court nominee,” said Christopher Hunter, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor.
The Senate voted 51-48 to confirm Brian Benczkowski to head the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, ending an 18-month delay in his confirmation. Benczkowski, a Justice Department veteran who held top posts in the George W. Bush administration, was criticized for his legal work for a Russian bank.
The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till, the black teenager whose brutal killing in Mississippi helped inspire the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago. A book last year quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as acknowledging that she wasn’t truthful when she testified that Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a store in 1955.