For Central Americans at the U.S. border, gaining asylum often depends largely on the judge. Two judges in Los Angeles granted fewer than three percent of the hundreds of asylum claims that came before them in the past five years, while another judge granted 71 percent of them. In San Francisco, the judge’s rate of granting asylum ranged from three percent to 91 percent.
Current and former Justice Department officials are alarmed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. “To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former DOJ special counsel.
Richard Ross testified in federal court in connection with Philadelphia’s lawsuit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threat to withhold federal funding from cities that give sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.
The U.S. attorney general once again drum-thumped about lawlessness this week, telling a police convention in Nashville that “violent crime is back with a vengeance.” The Washington Post says he is being duplicitous–“stoking American’s fears about crime and safety to advance a political agenda of ‘law and order.’”
A national police union official says cops were beaten down by a “constant drumbeat of criticism” during the Obama administration. While police are newly emboldened, critics say Trump is blind to the potential abuse of law enforcement power.
The Obama policy limiting police procurement of federal military surplus prohibited only weapons of war, such as bayonets, grenade launchers and tank-like armored vehicles. No police agency “could reasonably defend the use of that equipment,” said one expert.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sanctioned the use of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement, despite bipartisan political opposition to the controversial practice. New Mexico and Nebraska have taken the lead by banning it. Will others follow?
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser has been meeting with key Republican lawmakers to discuss criminal justice reforms, including to mandatory minimum sentencing, that conflict with the U.S. Attorney General’s tough-on-crime agenda.
The attorney general says coveted federal grants will be withheld from cities unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released. Among the grants at stake: a popular program that provides police money to buy bulletproof vests and body cameras.
President Trump and his team continue to poke needles at the former Alabama senator, who at times during the presidential campaign was the rare politician of national standing willing to stand beside Trump. That history has not saved him from the petulant president’s ire.