Author: Josh Gerstein

Sessions orders review of abandoned Hezbollah-linked drug prosecutions – Politico

GOOGLE NEWS “We will review these matters and give full support to investigations of violent drug trafficking organizations,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement released to reporters Friday evening. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Inquiry follows POLITICO report that potential cases languished amid Obama drive for Iran nuclear deal. By JOSH GERSTEIN 12/22/2017 06:56 PM EST Updated 12/22/2017 07:58 PM EST 2017-12-22T07:58-0500 Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered the Justice Department to dig into allegations in a POLITICO report that a series of potential drug prosecutions related to the pro-Iranian militant group Hezbollah were abandoned as the Obama administration pressed to strike a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. Sessions indicated that he was troubled by allegations that Project Cassandra — the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drive to target Hezbollah’s foray into drug trafficking — ran into high-level roadblocks that stymied many of the cases agents wanted to bring as well as efforts to get suspects extradited from overseas to the U.S. Story Continued Below “Operations designed to investigate and prosecute terrorist organizations that are also fueling that drug crisis must be paramount in this administration,” Sessions said in a statement released to reporters Friday evening. “While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last administration to allowing DEA agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue...

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Judge won’t wipe out guilty verdict for Arpaio – Politico

GOOGLE NEWS Joe Arpaio’s lawyer Jack Wilenchik said he plans to ask the judge to reconsider her ruling and, failing that, will likely appeal. | John Moore/Getty Images Trump pardon ends criminal case but can’t ‘revise historical facts,’ court says. By JOSH GERSTEIN 10/19/2017 08:38 PM EDT Share on Facebook Share on Twitter A federal judge has ruled that President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio ends his prosecution for criminal contempt of court, but does not wipe out the guilty verdict she returned or any other rulings in the case. In her order Thursday, Phoenix-based...

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Ninth Circuit upholds block on Trump’s travel ban – Politico

GOOGLE NEWS President Donald Trump “exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress” to oversee immigration, the court ruled. | AP Photo A three-judge panel unanimously turned down an administration request to lift an injunction blocking key parts of Trump’s revised order from taking effect. By Josh Gerstein 06/12/2017 01:22 PM EDT Updated 06/12/2017 01:57 PM EDT 2017-06-12T01:57-0400 President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban executive order suffered another legal blow Monday as a second federal appeals court weighed in against the legality of the directive. A three-judge 9th Circuit panel unanimously turned down an administration request...

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Carter-era ethics rulings loom over Trump kids – Politico

GOOGLE NEWS According to the Justice Department, it’s up to the president to make sure anyone acting like an appointee actually takes an oath of office. By Josh Gerstein 03/21/17 05:20 AM EDT President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is getting a West Wing office and a security clearance – both key trappings of an official White House job. But she’s moving in without being sworn into a formal role, despite Justice Department legal opinions that urge the president to make sure that individuals engaged in government work hold some type of official federal post, in part to guarantee that...

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Feds ask Hawaii judge to narrow Trump travel ban injunction – Politico

The Justice Department argues that the TRO should have been more focused so it affected only Trump’s attempt to halt issuance of visas in six majority-Muslim countries. | AP Images Justice Department wants OK to proceed with refugee halt, lower refugee cap and policy reviews By Josh Gerstein 03/18/17 08:36 AM EDT The Trump administration is asking a federal judge in Hawaii to narrow the temporary restraining order he issued Wednesday blocking key parts of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban directive. The Justice Department filed a motion Friday with U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson arguing that the TRO should have been more focused so it affected only Trump’s attempt to halt issuance of visas in six majority-Muslim countries. Instead, the judge’s wording swept in several other aspects of Trump’s order, including a suspension of refugee admissions from around the globe, a lowering of the cap on refugees for the current fiscal year as well as a series of studies Trump ordered of existing vetting procedures. The Trump administration argued that Watson’s finding that Trump’s order targeted Muslims on the basis of their religion can only logically apply to the six-country visa suspension and not to the other provisions of the directive. “In concluding that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their Establishment Clause claim, the Court focused on the six countries affected by Section 2(c),” Justice Department...

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