Gun Prosecutions Up 23 Percent Following Crackdowns From Trump, Sessions

Federal gun prosecutions are up 23 percent compared to the summer of 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Friday.

The DOJ credited the spike to a March order issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to crack down on gun crime across the U.S. So far in 2017, 2,637 defendants have been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, compared to 2,149 in 2016, the DOJ statement reported.

“That sends a clear message to criminals all over this country that if you carry a gun illegally, you will be held accountable,” Sessions said. “I am grateful to the many federal prosecutors and agents who are working hard every day to make America safe again.”

The DOJ also saw a 10 percent increase in the number of defendants charged with having a gun while trafficking drugs or committing a violent crime.

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A Top FBI Lawyer Is Allegedly Under An Investigation For Leaking Classified Information To The Media 

FBI General Counsel James A. Baker is purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media, according to multiple government officials close to the probe who spoke with Circa on the condition of anonymity.

FBI spokeswoman Carol Cratty said the bureau would not comment on Baker and would not confirm or deny any investigation.

This comes as Department of Justice Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would soon be making an announcement regarding the progress of leak investigations. A DOJ official declined to comment on Circa’s inquiry into Baker but did say, the planned announcement by Sessions is part of the overall “stepped up efforts on leak investigations.”

 

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Jeff Sessions Lets Cops Be Robbers

The attorney general revives a program that invites law enforcement agencies to evade state limits on asset forfeiture.

Donald Trump made two things abundantly clear during a meeting with county sheriffs last February: He did not know what civil asset forfeiture was, and he wanted to see more of it. The president will get his wish thanks to a directiveissued last week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has a clearer idea of what civil forfeiture entails but is only slightly more sensitive to its potential for abuse.

That potential is built into the very concept of civil forfeiture, which allows police to take property allegedly tied to crime without charging the owner. Worse, law enforcement agencies get to keep revenue generated by forfeitures they initiate, which gives them a financial incentive to target people based on the assets they own rather than the threat they pose.

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Top Five Ways Jeff Sessions Is Expanding The Police State

As I rode into work Friday morning, I switched on the radio and happened upon The Mike Gallagher Show. I caught him in mid-sentence, complaining about malcontents who criticize the police. He was discussing the fatal shooting of Justine Damond by Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor. Apropos of nothing, Gallagher quickly pivoted to another story in the news, that of Officer Scott Naff of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, who was denied service at a McDonald’s drive-thru while he was in uniform. “This is the kind of thing that police have to put up with every day!” said Gallagher, as if suffering a slight at a McDonald’s drive-thru were the equivalent of losing one’s life to a police bullet. The Police State has its fans.

There is a dangerous hero-worship of police in particular and law enforcement in general, specifically among neoconservatives. The police are always right; the civilian is always wrong. When police kill or injure a civilian, the civilian had it coming, as if the proper role of police is to serve as holy agents of karma. When the actions of a police officer are ridiculously difficult to justify, the actions are excused because “police have a hard job.”

During Donald Trump’s campaign for president, the candidate made clear his affinity for the law-and-order crowd. He praised “our men and women in blue.” He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose treatment of prisoners in his Tent City Jail (which is currently being shuttered) has been inhumane. Using examples like the city of Chicago’s bloody street violence, Trump’s campaign speeches painted a horrific picture of escalating crime in America, despite the fact that, on the whole, violent crime has been decreasing overall.

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DOJ Takes Down Dark Net Marketplaces

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday said it had shut down the online criminal market AlphaBay and one of its chief competitors, Hansa.

“This is likely one of the most important criminal cases of the year,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a press conference.

Sessions said the DOJ had seized the infrastructure and arrested the criminal market’s owner, ending speculation about why AlphaBay had recently disappeared.

On July 5, Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen living in Thailand, was arrested for creating and running the AlphaBay marketplace. He reportedly took his own life in Thai custody one week later.

AlphaBay went offline around the same time as the arrest.

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Justice Department Reverses Eric Holder Policy On Civil Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday rolled out a new civil asset forfeiture policyaimed at expanding law enforcement’s ability to seize property from people suspected of criminal activity.

The new policy allows the federal government to take all assets seized lawfully by state or local law enforcement whenever the crime causing the seizure violates federal law. The Justice Department said the change advances Sessions’ recently created task force to combat violent crime and will crack down on criminals.

Critics have argued the civil asset forfeiture seizes property from people who are innocent and are never charged with a crime. But Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters on Wednesday that the aim of the change is to focus on assets related to criminal activity.

“It’s not about taking assets from innocent people,” Rosenstein said. “It’s about taking assets that are the proceeds of […] criminal activity, primarily drug dealing.”

Rosenstein added civil asset forfeiture is “not about criminal convictions, it’s about seizing the proceeds of crime. Sometimes there will be criminal prosecutions, sometimes there won’t.”

Sessions’ new policy reverses a 2015 decision by former Attorney General Eric Holder that put restrictions on civil asset forfeiture.

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U.S. Judge Narrows Travel Ban In Defeat For Trump

President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries cannot stop grandparents and other relatives of United States citizens from entering the country, a U.S. judge said on Thursday.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu also opens the door for more refugees and deals Trump a fresh courtroom defeat in a long back-and-forth over an executive order that has gone all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state of Hawaii had asked Watson to narrowly interpret a Supreme Court ruling that revived parts of Trump’s March 6 executive order banning travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, as well as refugees for 120 days.

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