Another affront to executive norms, a new level of secrecy for CBP, and the 32-year story of one family's new life in America.
Attorney General Bill Barr appeared to spar with Donald Trump in the latest chapter of the Roger Stone case. On this week’s On the Media, why the apparent interference in the Justice Department’s work should cause concern. Plus, Customs and Border Patrol builds a new bulwark against disclosure and transparency. And, a family migration story three decades in the making.
1. Dahlia Lithwick, writer for Slate, on what the latest Dept. of Justice news tells us about the fragility of American justice. Listen.
2. Susan Hennessey [@Susan_Hennessey], executive editor at Lawfare, on the latest threats to "prosecutorial independence." Listen.
3. Ken Klippenstein [@kenklippenstein], DC correspondent at The Nation, on Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)'s re-designation as a "security agency." Listen.
4. Jason DeParle [@JasonDeParle], author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, on the 32-year process of reporting one family's migration story. Listen.
We really are allowing the very worst of us ruin so much of the basic values of being American. I worry that the “purity” requirements of both sides is going to be the downfall of us all.
President Trump said Thursday that he will “maybe definitely” declare a national emergency to free up funds for his long-promised wall at the southern border. One reason for the president’s hesitation might be that he is awaiting word from the people who would be asked to give such a declaration the green light: Justice Department lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel, or OLC, where I worked from August 2016 until I quit in mid-November.
In an atmosphere of seeming indifference on the part of U.S. law enforcement, a dangerous movement has grown and metastasized.
It’s tremendously painful that the optics of right wing extremism in the Obama administration was used as a means of allowing the alt-right, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis to rise unfettered in the United States. This is worse when one thinks of the death and destruction they have caused in relation to the obscene amounts of money that have been thrown at decreasing international terrorism within our borders.
Trump, who has frequently dismissed that probe as a "witch hunt," feigned ignorance of Whitaker's background.
"I don't know Matt Whitaker," Trump told reporters on Friday as he left the White House for a trip to Paris. "Matt Whitaker worked for Jeff Sessions. And he was always extremely highly thought of and he still is. But I didn't know Matt Whitaker."
On July 3, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DOJ was “rescinding 24 guidance documents that were unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.”
Curiously enough, each point of guidance, document or tool rescinded by Sessions — in line with recommendations from Regulatory Reform Task Forces established by President Donald Trump — was initially drafted to offer basic legal and political understanding to various and distinct minority groups, broadly defined, throughout the United States.
In February, speaking before a joint session of Congress, President Trump declared that: “according to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.”
There's a lot of reason to believe this statement is a compound lie—both to believe that the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes did not come here from elsewhere and to believe that the career men and women of the Department of Justice did not provide any data suggesting otherwise.