WashPost: J. Rubin Says Sessions’s Law License Might Be In Jeopardy!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/11/jeff-sessions-is-in-deep-trouble-and-heres-why/?utm_term=.c03da828f98b

Jennifer Rubin writes in “Right Turn”  the Washington Post:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. “During the course of the last several weeks, I have met with the relevant senior career Department officials to discuss whether I should recuse myself from any matters arising from the campaigns for president of the United States,” he said in his written recusal released on March 2. “Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States.”

Any existing or future investigations. Related in any way.

Sessions consulted with the president and coordinated the firing of James Comey. Recall that Comey had testified on March 20 that he was heading the Russia investigation:
I’ve been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. Because it is an open, ongoing investigation, and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining.

That is the investigation that Sessions promised to stay away from. Firing the man heading the investigation — especially if Sessions knew that the reason was not the one stated in Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s May 9 memo — is a matter “arising from the campaigns for President of the United States.”

Sessions may have some explanation for why he chose to participate in the firing of Comey. But the attorney general may now be in considerable legal peril.”

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Read Rubin’s complete article at the link.

Like his boss, Sessions plays “fast and loose” with the truth. But, in a GOP-controlled Administration, that’s unlikely to catch up with him. The “judgement of history,” however, is another matter.

PWS

05-11-17

WashPost: J. Rubin Says Trump Administration’s War On Illegal Immigration Is Bogus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/04/26/the-jig-is-up-hysteria-over-illegal-immigration-is-baseless/?utm_term=.73251571b3e1Bogus!

Rubin writes in “Right Turn” in the WashPost:

“The anti-immigrant hysteria that became a mainstay of President Trump’s agenda and the hymnal of the GOP rests on the assumption that we are awash with illegal immigrants. It’s illegal immigrants who are responsible for a crime wave. (There isn’t a wave, but stick with this for a moment.) It’s illegal immigrants, they say, who are responsible for the economic suffering in the Rust Belt. (If we just got rid of them, jobs and wages would go up!) Hillary Clinton was going to continue the Obama administration’s policy: open borders!

Well, it’s all fake. There was a dramatic downturn in illegal immigrants under President Barack Obama, who deported record number of people. As many of us argued, the economic recession reversed the flow of immigrants so on net more are now leaving for Mexico than coming from there. Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute observes, “President Trump can’t take credit for the unprecedented collapse in illegal immigration since 2007 but the Great Recession, growing Mexican economy, and Mexican demographics can. ”

The Pew Research Center tells us:

There were 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015, a small but statistically significant decline from the Center’s estimate of 11.3 million for 2009, the last year of the Great Recession. The Center’s preliminary estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2016 is 11.3 million, which is statistically no different from the 2009 or 2015 estimates and comes from a different data source with a smaller sample size and a larger margin of error. This more recent preliminary data for 2016 are inconclusive as to whether the total unauthorized immigrant population continued to decrease, held steady or increased.

Oops. You mean getting rid of all those illegal immigrants didn’t create job openings for unemployed factory workers in the heartland or boost wages or prevent Chicago’s crime increase in the past two years? Nope. It seems the anti-immigration crowd will need to find new scapegoats to blame and new ideas for solving our systemic economic problems.

In particular, Trump’s obsession with the Mexican border appears to be entirely misplaced:

Mexicans have long been the largest origin group among unauthorized immigrants – and the majority for at least a decade – but their numbers have been shrinking since peaking at 6.9 million, or 57% of the total, in 2007. In 2014, they numbered 5.8 million (52% of the total). In 2015, according to the Center’s new estimate, they declined to 5.6 million, or 51% of the total. And in 2016, according to the Center’s preliminary estimate, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico was the same, but their share fell to 50% of the total, marking the first time since at least 2005 that Mexicans did not account for a majority of the unauthorized immigrant population.

Why, then, do you suppose the Trump team is so fixated on illegal immigrants and the southern border? Well, immigration exclusionists have been ignoring readily available facts for some time. There is no illegal immigrant crime wave. The border is much more secure.

We’re hard-pressed to come up with any other explanation than the obvious one: As in France, fear and hatred of immigrants are a convenient excuse for voters and policymakers who cannot grapple with messy truths. Trump has no policy agenda to help the working and middle class, so he sells xenophobia. Get rid of illegals and you’ll all have $30-per-hour jobs! You can’t make a middle-class living as a manual laborer? blame the immigrants! Scared of terrorism and don’t want to think about the problem of radicalization of Westerners? Blame the refugees, the most thoroughly vetted immigrants there are.

It’s time to put an end to the nonsense, stop turning our cities and communities upside-down, alienating our ally Mexico over an unneeded wall, wasting money on building a wall and vilifying outsiders. Right-wingers should stop pushing the comforting fantasy to displaced workers that nothing they have done (e.g., not gone to college, not developed computer skills, stayed in locales with no jobs) and nothing they have to do (e.g., go back to school, develop new skills, move to where the jobs are) matter so long as all those illegal immigrants are “stealing” their jobs. That sort of fatalism is wrongheaded and ultimately does a huge disservice to those who need to catch up to the globalized economy. And now we now have plenty of evidence that the immigration scaremongering is fraudulent.”

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While I often disagree with Rubin, her points here seem well taken. It appears that Trump & Co’s rhetoric is driven largely by xenophobia and the belief that it wins elections.

Philip Bump in the Washington Post also pointed out that there is good reason to doubt the honesty of Trump’s attempt to link homicide rates in Chicago with undocumented migration. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/04/26/trumps-attempt-to-link-illegal-immigration-to-chicagos-homicide-problem-is-extremely-tenuous/?utm_term=.1916c1e4aa17

PWS

04-26-17

 

POLITICO: Trump Administration’s Xenophobic Immigration Policies Appear Out Of Line With Majority Of Americans!

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/poll-illegal-immigration-trump-236162

Louis Nelson reports in Politico:

“Six out of 10 Americans reached for a new poll released Friday by CNN said U.S. immigration policy should be geared towards aiding those who are employed and inside the country illegally with obtaining legal status, not deporting them as President Donald Trump has proposed.

Sixty percent of those polled said the top priority for the government when it comes to immigration should be “developing a plan to allow those in the U.S. illegally who have jobs to become legal residents.” Twenty-six percent said the U.S. should focus on a plan to stop more undocumented immigrants from crossing the border and 13 percent said the government’s priority should be deporting those who are already here.
Asked what should be done with undocumented immigrants who speak English, have jobs, are willing to pay back taxes and have been in the U.S. “for a number of years,” 90 percent of respondents said they would support legislation that allowed them to remain in the country and offered a path to U.S. citizenship. Support for such a policy had broad bipartisan support, backed by 96 percent of Democrats, 87 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of independents.”

Along the same line, in her Right Turn op-ed column in today’s Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin writes:

“In short, nothing was more central to Trump/Bannon than their ethno-nationalist fear-mongering, which played to the sense of alienation and displacement many white working-class Americans felt. The strategy was simple: Give them a scapegoat, rather than address complex problems. It’s a strategy employed for centuries by autocrats, bigots and charlatans. There is also nothing more un-American and violative of our historical and constitutional traditions. Let’s hope and pray Trump/Bannon have awoken a sleeping giant — the conscience of good and decent Americans.”

Here’s a link to Rubin’s full piece:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/03/17/heres-why-trumps-pratfalls-on-immigration-keep-coming/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f:homepage/story&utm_term=.78dd6e6f503d

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PWS

03/17/16

Problems Mount For Administration On Travel Ban — Can’t Find Support For Their “Pre-Hatched” Conclusions — Stephen Miller Shoots Off Mouth Again — DOJ Litigators Undoubtedly Cringe As In-Court Statements Undermined!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-new-travel-ban-with-mostly-minor-technical-differences-that-probably-wont-cut-it-analysts-say/2017/02/22/8ae9d7e6-f918-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?utm_term=.e2b487b295a7

Matt Zapotsky writes in the Washington Post:

“Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said President Trump’s revised travel ban will have “mostly minor technical differences” from the iteration frozen by the courts, and Americans would see “the same basic policy outcome for the country.”

That is not what the Justice Department has promised. And legal analysts say it might not go far enough to allay the judiciary’s concerns.

A senior White House official said Wednesday that Trump will issue a revised executive order on immigration next week, as the administration is working to make sure the implementation goes smoothly. Trump had said previously that the order would come this week. Neither the president nor his top advisers have detailed exactly what the new order will entail. Miller’s comments on Fox News, while vague, seem to suggest the changes might not be substantive. And that could hurt the administration’s bid to lift the court-imposed suspension on the ban, analysts said.

“If you’re trying to moot out litigation, which is to say, ‘Look, this litigation is no longer necessary,’ it is very bad to say our intent here is to engage in the prohibited outcome,” said Leon Fresco, who worked in the office of immigration litigation in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/02/23/white-house-gives-plenty-of-ammunition-to-travel-bans-opponents/?utm_term=.9442c17ff14b

Jennifer Rubin writes in Right Turn in today’s Washington Post:

“Opponents of President Trump’s travel ban have one big advantage — the Trump White House. If not for the confusion, lack of staffing (nary a deputy, let alone an undersecretary or assistant secretary, has been named in national security-related departments), organizational disarray, policy differences or all of the above, the administration might have put together on its first try a legally enforceable executive order. It might by now even have come up with a new executive order, thanks to a road map provided by the 9th Circuit. However, the rollout has been pushed back to next week.

Understand that if this is such a matter of urgent concern, the president would have had his advisers working around the clock on this (not transgender bathroom assignments, plans to deport non-criminal illegal immigrants or haggling with Mexican officials over a wall that Trump insists they pay for). In fact, since the point of the ban is to initiate a review of our vetting procedures, you’d think that the Homeland Security Department would already have come up with its proposed “extreme vetting” recommendations.

Meanwhile, the president and his staff continue to provide legal ammunition to opponents of the ban. On Tuesday, senior adviser Stephen Miller in a Fox News interview boldly declared, “Fundamentally, you’re still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country, but you’re going to be responsive to a lot of very technical issues that were brought up by the court.” Just to remind the courts of the administration’s arrogance, Miller proclaimed that there was nothing wrong with the first order.

“By saying that the policy effects of the new travel ban will be essentially the same as those of the travel ban that so many federal judges found constitutionally suspect, Miller is effectively inviting federal courts to suspend the new one as well, given that the religiously discriminatory history of the ban can’t be ignored, much less erased, simply by purporting to start over again,” Supreme Court litigator and professor Larry Tribe tells me. “If, as I am told, the new ban is a more artfully disguised version of [an] anti-Muslim measure, without explicit preferences for religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries (i.e., for Christians) written into the very text of the ban, then some judges might be less inclined to issue a temporary restraining order, but most federal judges would be savvy enough to recognize that they are being treated to a masquerade.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/23/politics/white-house-effort-to-justify-travel-ban-causes-growing-concern-for-some-intel-officials/index.html

Meanwhile, Jake Tapper and Pamela Brown on CNN highlight more difficulties with the Administration’s “shoot first, ask questions later” approach:

“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has assigned the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Justice Department, to help build the legal case for its temporary travel ban on individuals from seven countries, a senior White House official tells CNN.

Other Trump administration sources tell CNN that this is an assignment that has caused concern among some administration intelligence officials, who see the White House charge as the politicization of intelligence — the notion of a conclusion in search of evidence to support it after being blocked by the courts. Still others in the intelligence community disagree with the conclusion and are finding their work disparaged by their own department.
“DHS and DOJ are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial and that these seven countries have all been exporters of terrorism into the United States,” the senior White House official told CNN. “The situation has gotten more dangerous in recent years, and more broadly, the refugee program has been a major incubator for terrorism.”

The report was requested in light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conclusion that the Trump administration “has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.” The seven counties are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The senior White House official said the desire to bolster the legal and public case that these seven countries pose a threat is a work in progress and as of now, it’s not clear if DHS and DOJ will offer separate reports or a joint report.
One of the ways the White House hopes to make its case is by using a more expansive definition of terrorist activity than has been used by other government agencies in the past. The senior White House official said he expects the report about the threat from individuals the seven countries to include not just those terrorist attacks that have been carried out causing loss of innocent American life, but also those that have resulted in injuries, as well as investigations into and convictions for the crimes of a host of terrorism-related actions, including attempting to join or provide support for a terrorist organization.
The White House did not offer an on-the-record comment for this story despite numerous requests.

. . . .

Asked about the report Thursday on “The Lead,” Rep. Dan Donovan, R-New York, emphasized that the intelligence community be nonpartisan.
“They should take data, take information, shouldn’t interpret it in a political way and provide the President the information he needs to make decisions to protect our country,” he said.
Also commenting on the report was Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who acknowledged that he hadn’t seen the specifics but “it looks wrong to me.”
“We ought to be doing the intel first, then set the policy and in large part based upon the intelligence,” Haass said. “If these reports are true, it’s yet another example where this administration is having real trouble ing a functional relationship with the intelligence community.”

[Emphasis supplied in all quotes]

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I was never a “line litigator.” But, I was involved in defending and prosecuting thousands of cases during the “Legacy INS Phase” of my career. I also participated in thousands more cases as an appellate and trial judge during the last 21 years at EOIR.

One of my jobs in providing litigation assistance as the Deputy General Counsel of the INS was to make sure my “institutional clients” did not comment on pending cases. Such comments both unnecessarily antagonized the judges hearing the cases and, on occasion, when folks didn’t heed my instructions, completely “tanked” our positions by giving our opponents new arguments.

As a sitting judge, I can guarantee that one of the least successful approaches was for a lawyer to insult my intelligence or integrity and then turn around and ask me to help out his or her client. Sure, in the end, I had to separate the law from the lawyer and do the right thing. But, it certainly interfered with the effectiveness of the lawyer’s communication and made it more difficult for me to get to the substance of his or her client’s case.

And, one thing that certainly infuriated all judges, including me, was for a lawyer to represent one thing in court and then have his or her client do something else. It made me lose confidence in the lawyer’s reliability and integrity and his or her ability to control and speak for the client. I can remember “chewing out” several lawyers at Master Calendar for misrepresenting facts or law to me in their briefs or oral arguments.

It appears that the Trump Administration’s combination of arrogance, ignorance, and disrespect for the court system and the role of judges is undermining both their credibility and the credibility of the Department of Justice career lawyers whose job is to represent them over and over again before most of the same judges. Once a judge loses faith in the credibility of a lawyer and/or her or his client, “bad things will happen” and they do.

PWS

02/23/17