Attorney General Jeff Sessions is Democrats' Worst Nightmare

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is Democrats' Worst Nightmare

By Byron York (@ByronYork)

President-elect Trump's transition team knew that nominating Jeff Sessions for Attorney General would set off controversy. Democrats and their allies in the press have at key times in the past called Sessions a racist ? they're now using the Alabama senator's full name, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, to heighten the Old South effect ? and now, as they oppose Trump at nearly every turn, they've turned to race again.

Here's why the effort to stop Sessions is likely to intensify as his confirmation hearings near. Sessions is the Senate's highest-profile, most determined, and most knowledgeable opponent of comprehensive immigration reform. Democrats are particularly anxious about immigration because of the unusually tenuous nature of President Obama's policies on the issue. Those policies can be undone unilaterally, by the new president in some cases, and by the attorney general and head of homeland security in other cases. There's no need for congressional action ? and no way for House or Senate Democrats to slow or stop it.

There are extensive, and in some cases, strict immigration laws on the books, passed by bipartisan majorities of Congress. Obama wanted Congress to change those laws. Congress declined. So Obama stopped enforcing provisions of the law that he did not like. A new administration could simply resume enforcement of the law ? a move that by itself would bring a huge change to immigration practices in the United States. No congressional approval needed.

There are laws providing for the deportation of people who entered the U.S. illegally. Laws providing for the deportation of people who entered the U.S. illegally and later committed crimes. Laws for enforcing immigrationration compliance at the worksite. Laws for immigrants who have illegally overstayed their visas for coming to the United States. Laws requiring local governments to comply with federal immigration law. And more.

Many of those laws have been loosened or, in some cases, completely ignored by the Obama administration. A Trump administration would not need to ask Congress to pass any new laws to deal with illegal immigrationration. If there was a presidential order involved in Obama's non-enforcement, Trump could undo it, and if there were Justice Department directives involved, Sessions could undo them, and if there are Department of Homeland Security directives involved, the still-to-be-nominated secretary could undo them.

"It will be possible for the Trump administration to dramatically increase enforcement of immigrationration laws by using what is now on the books," notes Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates reducing immigration into the U.S.

One of the immediate changes would be to get rid of Obama's Priority Enforcement Program, instituted in 2014. Known as PEP, the program made it almost impossible for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to even begin deportation proceedings until an illegal immigrant has been convicted of an aggravated felony or multiple misdemeanors. Obama's policy "forced local ICE offices to release thousands of deportable criminals," Vaughan has noted, "including Eswin Mejia, an illegal alien with prior arrests who killed 21-year old Sarah Root in Omaha, Neb., while drag-racing drunk in January of this year. Like many of the 86,000 convicted criminals released by ICE since 2013, Mejia is now a fugitive but considered a 'non-criminal,' because he has yet to be tried and convicted for Root's death."

President Trump could throw PEP out the window. And that would be just a start. The Center for Immigration Studies has published a list of 79 Obama policies the new administration could change without any action by Congress. (The list was compiled in April 2016, before anyone could know who the next president would be.) Among them:

1) End the embargo on worksite enforcement. "Experience has shown that employers respond very quickly and voluntarily implement compliance measures when there is an uptick in enforcement," Vaughan notes, "because they see the potential damage to their operations and public image for being caught and prosecuted."

2) Restore ICE's authority to make expedited removals of illegal immigrants who are felons or who have recently crossed into the United States.

3) Tighten requirements for H-1B visas, including banning such visas for low-salary, low-skill jobs, revoking visas that are followed by layoffs of American workers, and other measures.

4) Stop suing states that take action to support immigration enforcement, and instead support such enforcement. After Arizona's famous SB 1070 law, Obama cracked down, arguing that the federal government has the sole authority to enforce immigration law, and also to not enforce immigration law. President Trump could choose to enforce the law.

5) Force sanctuary cities to observe the law. Trump campaigned extensively on the subject of sanctuary cities, mentioning San Francisco murder victim Kate Steinle in many speeches. Attorney General Sessions could enforce an existing law, 8 USC 1373, which prohibits local communities from banning their officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

The Justice Department, among other federal agencies, hands out billions of dollars in federal grants. In instructing grant recipients to comply with federal law, the Obama administration ignored 8 USC 1373; in September, the Justice Department inspector general told a House committee that, "we found that the Department had not provided grant recipients with clear guidance as to whether Section 1373 was an applicable federal law with which recipients were expected to comply."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions could change that, and, as a result, many cities would find it harder to defy federal law. "For the diehards who do not respond to incentives or changed policies (like Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, etc.)," writes Vaughan, "he could look at prosecution under 8 USC 1324, which prohibits shielding illegal aliens from detection."

Those are just a few of the things a Trump administration, and an Attorney General Sessions, could do using executive authority. It's not hard to see why Democrats want to stop them.

Of course, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will handle the Sessions nomination, cannot very well say to the nominee: "I will not support you because you might actually enforce the law." So they need another basis on which to oppose Sessions. That's where 30-plus year-old allegations come in.

Republicans, with a narrow majority in the Senate, should be able confirm their colleague, especially since soon-to-be-former Sen. Harry Reid nuked the minority's ability to filibuster executive branch nominations. But before that happens, look for the noise and the anger over the Sessions nomination to increase. There's too much at stake for Democrats to go along.

The left is going to make attacking Jeff Sessions the cornerstone of its early resistance to Donald Trump.

The left is going to make attacking Jeff Sessions the cornerstone of its early resistance to Donald Trump.

The left is going to make attacking Jeff Sessions the cornerstone of its early resistance to Donald Trump. Elizabeth Warren, a possible presidential contender in 2020, sounded the call almost immediately, asserting a moral imperative to block Sessions? confirmation.

The alleged moral imperative is based on stale and, in some cases, disputed claims of mildly racist comments that were alleged 30 years ago when Sessions was denied confirmation for a federal judgeship. Warren stated:

Thirty years ago, a different Republican Senate rejected Senator Sessions? nomination to a federal judgeship. In doing so, that Senate affirmed that there can be no compromise with racism; no negotiation with hate. Today, a new Republican Senate must decide whether self-interest and political cowardice will prevent them from once again doing what is right.

But did the Senate get it right 30 years ago? Arlen Specter, who cast the deciding vote against Sessions, later concluded it did not. Specter, who was never big on confessing error, called his vote a ?mistake? that ?remains one of my biggest regrets.?

Specter was right. Let?s look beyond disputed allegations about stray remarks to Sessions? record.

Mark Hemingway points out:

As a U.S. Attorney, [Sessions] filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama. And he also prosecuted the head of the state Klan, Henry Francis Hays, for abducting and killing Michael Donald, a black teenager selected at random. Sessions insisted on the death penalty for Hays.

When he was later elected the state Attorney General, Sessions followed through and made sure Hays was executed. The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan, effectively breaking the back of the KKK in Alabama.

In Warren?s terms, Sessions refused to compromise with racism and negotiate with hate.

Sessions also voted across party lines to confirm Eric Holder as the first African-American U.S. Attorney General. If he were a racist, it would have been easy for Sessions to join the 21 of his conservative Republican colleagues who voted ?no? on Holder?s confirmation.

At the time Sessions said he was sure Holder would be ?a responsible legal officer and not a politician.? Even the best Senators make mistakes.

Opposition to Jeff Sessions isn?t a protest against racism. Even Sen. Warren must know that Sessions isn?t a racist.

The attack on this good man is in part an attempt to lash out at Donald Trump and in part an effort to rile up African-American voters who, collectively, weren?t sufficiently riled to deliver the votes Hillary Clinton needed in cities like Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Detroit.

In Warren?s case, this probably is also an attempt to boost her credentials with civil rights leaders in case she runs for president. (Ironically, Sessions and Warren have something in common; both were elected to the Senate after failing to be confirmed by that body.)

The Democrats don?t have the votes to block Sessions? confirmation. Thanks to rules changes pushed through by Harry Reid, it no longer requires 60 votes to confirm presidential appointees.

The filibuster is dead when it comes to such confirmations. Posturing is alive and well.

TODAY'S FEATURE ARTICLE

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Attorneys General Ready to Prosecute Global Warming Deniers

Just last month I wrote an article about how Obama's Department of Justice - an oxymoron if I ever heard one - was considering the possibility of filing lawsuits against the so-called fossil fuel industry. Not for actual damages done to the environment, but for denying the hoax known as global warming... I mean climate change... No, wait! I think they are calling it climate disruption now.

Good thing the science is settled. Right?

Anyway, while it looks like the plans by Loretta Lynch's office appear to be on hold - probably because she's so busy investigating covering up Hillary's email scandal - sixteen attorneys general have formed "AGs United for Clean Power."

According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: since climate change is real, this group of left-wing extremists will pursue any company "to the fullest extent of the law" who commit the crime of "lying" about their unproven scientific theory.

Of course by lying, they mean denying.

These leaders of what has become known as the Climate Change Inquisition have the stated goal of "Defending climate change progress made under President Obama and to push the next president for even more aggressive action."

At a press conference announcing their creation, the members of the AGUCP was joined on stage by Al Gore, the man who predicted that the North Pole would be "ice free" by 2012; then 2013; then 2014 due to global warming. While ignoring the inconvenient truth - pardon the pun - of his many failed prediction, Gore praised this coalition of like-minded loons:

"What these attorneys general are doing is exceptionally important."

When asked about the obvious violation of the Constitution's protection of free speech, Schneiderman quickly dismissed those concerns. According the NY AG, deniers of climate change are committing fraud, so their right to free speech is unprotected.

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OBAMA'S RUDENESS HITS NEW HEIGHTS

By Kyle Smith     February 20, 2016

Obama?s Rudeness Hits New Heights

Gratuitous. Nasty. Petty. Spiteful. Insulting. Just plain rude. When the rhetoric of a major party?s leading presidential candidate falls to this level, we should be scornful.

So, how is it OK when it isn?t just a presidential candidate but a president who does it?

Donald Trump?s policy of demeaning and snarking his political opponents has been a favorite habit of President Obama for the last eight years. Obama is perhaps the first president who believes that leading the country and playing to the beliefs of the extremists in his own party amount to the same thing, and like Trump fans, Obama fans are motivated in large degree by sheer hatred.

They love to hear their idol channel their rage by bashing people they don?t like.

Obama?s latest, silent insult ? leaving a spokesman to explain he had better things to do on a Saturday than attend the funeral of a 30-year justice of the Supreme Court ? isn?t surprising when you consider the mean-spirited things he says virtually every time he steps in front of a microphone.

This week, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest bashed Sen. Chuck Schumer, who objected to cuts in counterterrorism funding for New York. Earnest said, in essence, why listen to this fool on anything if he opposed the Iran deal, especially since ?most Democrats? were in favor?

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton noted, accurately, that this was pure politics ? the president was punishing New York to get back at Schumer.

Obama was doing exactly what he accuses Republican members of Congress of doing, calling them ?hostage takers . . . [of] the American people.? Except that his rhetoric was about a debate over tax cuts, not Obama?s actual cutting of money needed to keep the nation?s largest city safe.

Meanwhile, when it comes to actual hostage takers, Obama can?t muster much outrage. At last year?s national prayer breakfast, he barely paused to obliquely refer to the Islamists who had just burned alive a Jordanian pilot so he could single out Christianity for bashing: ?Lest we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,? Obama said. ?In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.?

If you recall Christian principles, as embodied by a minister named Martin Luther King Jr., being a crucial component of civil rights victories, Obama thinks you?re a dope. If you can?t see how 11th-century atrocities more or less cancel out the ones committed the day before yesterday, you?re not the broad historical thinker Obama thinks he is.

Comparing Islamist fanatics to conservative Americans, and implying that he is more comfortable with the former, is a favorite Obama tactic. Dismissing extremists in Iran, Obama said last August, ?In fact, it?s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It?s those hard-liners chanting ?death to America? who have been most opposed to the deal. They?re making common cause with the Republican caucus.?

Just two days after promising to scale back his attacks on Republicans at the 2013 Jefferson Dinner, Obama told George Stephanopoulos his opponents wanted to ?gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid.? At the end of 2012, at a moment when Republicans thought they were on the verge of closing a budget deal with Obama, he instead staged a press conference and said the Republican policy was ?we?re just going to try to . . . shove spending cuts at us, that will hurt seniors, or hurt students, or hurt middle-class families.? In 2012, he advised Latino voters to think, ?We?re gonna punish our enemies.? In a 2012 chat with Douglas Brinkley for Rolling Stone, he called Mitt Romney a ?bulls?-er.?

All of this has come from a president who is forever bewailing the partisan rancor of a country that, he keeps sadly informing us, has let him down by proving unable to discuss its differences in a civil way.

Obama fanboys often claim that their superhero has been subjected to an unprecedented level of attack and can only take so much. Couldn?t Trump justify his insult-based campaign on that basis? George W. Bush certainly took more than his share of abuse, but to fire back would have struck him as ungentlemanly. He ducked the insults as blithely as he ducked that flying shoe in Iraq.

Besides, usually Obama fans are so desperate to come up with an example of ?vitriol? directed against their superhero that they wind up quoting the last four words of a 2009 remark by Rush Limbaugh: ?Look, what [Obama] is talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don?t want this to work . . . I hope he fails.?

Limbaugh and Obama have more in common than either would like to admit. Except one of them is supposed to represent the entire country. One of them isn?t supposed to sound like talk radio.

FORMER IG SAYS HILLARY, STATE DEPT. ARE LYING

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THIS WAS ALL PLANNED

The State Department is lying when it says it didn't know until it was too late that Hillary Clinton was improperly using personal e-mails and a private server to conduct official business --- because it never set up an agency e-mail address for her in the first place, the department's former top watchdog says.

"This was all planned in advance" to skirt rules governing federal records management, said Howard J. Krongard, who served as the agency's inspector general from 2005 to 2008.

The Harvard-educated lawyer points out that, from Day One, Clinton was never assigned and never used a state.gov e-mail address like previous secretaries.

"That's a change in the standard. It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private e-mail server until later," Krongard said in an exclusive interview. "How else was she supposed to do business without e-mail?"

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He also points to the unusual absence of a permanent inspector general during Clinton's entire 2009-2013 term at the department.

He said the five and a half year vacancy was unprecedented.

"This is a major gap. In fact, it's without precedent," he said. "It's the longest period any department has gone without an IG."

Inspectors general serve an essential and unique role in the federal government by independently investigating agency waste, fraud and abuse. Their oversight also covers violations of communications security procedures.

"It's clear she did not want to be subject to internal investigations," Krongard said. An e-mail audit would have easily uncovered the secret information flowing from classified government networks to the private unprotected system she set up in her New York home.

He says "the key" to the FBI's investigation of Emailgate is determining how highly sensitive state secrets in the classified network, known as SIPRNet, ended up in Clinton's personal e-mails.

"The starting point of the investigation is the material going through SIPRNet. She couldn't function without the information coming over SIPRNet," Krongard said. "How did she get it on her home server? It can't just jump from one system to the other. Someone had to move it, copy it. The question is who did that?"

As The Post first reported, the FBI is investigating whether Clinton's deputies copied top-secret information from the department's classified network to its unclassified network where it was sent to Hillary's unsecured, unencrypted e-mail account.

It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private e-mail server until later' - Howard J. Krongard on the State Dept. never giving Hillary an agency e-mail address

FBI agents are focusing on three of Clinton's top department aides. Most of the 1,340 Clinton e-mails deemed classified by intelligence agency reviewers were sent to her by her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, or her deputy chiefs, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, who now hold high positions in Clinton's presidential campaign.

"They are facing significant scrutiny now," Krongard said, and are under "enormous pressure to cooperate" with investigators.

He says staffers who had access to secret material more than likely summarized it for Clinton in the e-mails they sent to her; but he doesn't rule out the use of thumb drives to transfer classified information from one system to the other, which would be a serious security breach. Some of the classified computers at Foggy Bottom have ports for memory sticks.

Either way, there would be an audit trail for investigators to follow. The SIPRNet system maintains the identity of all users and their log-on and log-off times, among other activities.

"This totally eliminates the false premise that she got nothing marked classified," Krongard said. "She's hiding behind this defense. But they [e-mails] had to be classified, because otherwise [the information in them] wouldn't be on the SIPRNet."

Added Krongard: "She's trying to distance herself from the conversion from SIPRNet to [the nonsecure] NIPRNet and to her server, but she's throwing her staffers under the bus."
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Still, "It will never get to an indictment," Krongard said.

For one, he says, any criminal referral to the Justice Department from the FBI "will have to go through four loyal Democrat women" --- Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who heads the department's criminal division; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; and top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Even if they accept the referral, he says, the case quickly and quietly will be plea-bargained down to misdemeanors punishable by fines in a deal similar to the one Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, secured for Gen. David Petraeus. In other words, a big slap on the wrist.


"He knows the drill," Krongard said of Kendall.

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