Center for American Greatness • Congress • Democrats • Identity Politics • Jeff Sessions • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

The Indecent Inquisitors

The first contest of the 2020 primary season is one year away and the Democratic Party’s agenda now is coming into sharp focus: An income tax rate upwards of 70 percent, a Green New Deal that would send America back to the Stone Age, postpartum baby-killing, and the elimination of federal control over our southern border are just a few of the lowlights.

Sprinkle that message with a heavy dose of anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white, anti-male rhetoric and voila!—Democratic presidential contenders are ready to swarm Iowa and New Hampshire.

But another destructive sideshow now animates the Democrats ahead of next year’s elections: The multi-pronged, unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional investigation into President Trump.

To satisfy the bloodlust of the party’s rank-and-file, still bitter about losing the 2016 presidential election and gobsmacked that Trump somehow remains in office, congressional leaders are seeking vengeance in the hearing rooms of Capitol Hill. Since taking the helm of powerful House committees last month, Democratic chairmen are wasting no time in probing every crevice of Trump World; no one, including the president’s family members, will be spared.

Hundreds of New Investigations
The government’s formal investigation into Donald Trump began in July 2016, when Barack Obama’s FBI launched a counterintelligence probe into four Trump campaign aides, allegedly suspected of conspiring with Russians to influence the election. In May 2017, Trump’s own FBI—led temporarily by the disgraced Andrew McCabe after James Comey was fired—opened both a counterintelligence and a criminal case into the president. Days later, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to further investigate any supposed ties between the Kremlin and Donald Trump.

While Team Mueller not only has failed to produce one indictment related to Trump-Russia election collusion but now is facing serious questions about its own integrity and practices, once-hopeful Democrats are starting to realize their dream of  Mueller hauling Trump out of the Oval Office in handcuffs may not come true.

Enter Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). They are just a few of the Democrats who will oversee what is expected to be nearly 100 separate investigations into the Trump Administration. Shortly after winning back the House last November, Democrats released a laundry list of potential inquiries, including Trump’s handling of the so-called Muslim travel ban, the government’s response to Hurricane Maria and the president’s 2018 Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner also are on the radar of congressional investigators. House leadership wants Trump’s tax returns, a full accounting of every Trump business venture, and a vetting of the goings-on at Mar-a-Lago.

The White House will have to answer questions about its handling of the murder of so-called journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national who was in fact a propagandist for Qatar. Trump’s attacks on his “fake news” nemeses, including CNN and the Washington Post, also will be probed.

The House will restart the concluded investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the 2016 election outcome. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has hired at least one former Trump White House official—an Obama holdover with a security clearance—to aid his inquest. Schiff seems particularly fixated on taking down Donald Trump, Jr.

The Whitaker Show
Congress fired its opening salvo last week during the House Judiciary Committee’s grilling of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. Democrats have attacked Whitaker since the president announced he would replace Jeff Sessions until a permanent attorney general could be nominated and confirmed by the Senate. (Whitaker, a former U.S. Attorney General from Iowa, served as Sessions’ chief of staff.)

The hearing ostensibly was about Justice Department oversight, but in reality, it was the first opportunity for House Democrats publicly to pummel an administration official. In his opening remarks, Nadler blasted Whitaker for not recusing himself from the Mueller probe and promised the committee would get to the bottom of why Trump appointed Whitaker as the interim attorney general—even though Whitaker only served for three months and will be replaced later this week by William Barr, who was confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 7.

Committee members repeatedly asked Whitaker to disclose details about any briefings he had with the special counsel’s office, a demand that a stoic Whitaker refused to answer based on legitimate grounds of executive privilege. (He did confirm he has not spoken to the president about the Mueller investigation.)

At one point, Whitaker admonished Nadler that “his five minutes was up,” referring to the chairman exceeding the amount of time allotted to each member for questions. The gallery gasped; Nadler smirked and laughed. It would be the only light moment in the embarrassing four-hour long inquisition marked by angry outbursts, pointless hectoring, and even crying by members of the majority.

“Mister Attorney General, we’re not joking here,” scolded Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). Pointing at Whitaker with a pocket copy of the Constitution, Lee warned Whitaker that his “humor was not acceptable because we have a constitutional duty to ask questions. So you need to behave appropriately.”

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) demanded to know Whitaker’s opinions about the president’s comments following the Charlottesville protests in August 2017. “We are all trying to figure out, who are you, where did you come from, and how the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) shouted at Whitaker. When the acting attorney general attempted to answer, Jeffries cut him off. “That was a statement not a question. I assume you know the difference.”

When Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) essentially ordered Whitaker to tell the president that Robert Mueller is “honest and not conflicted,” Whitaker fought back. “Congressman, I’m not a puppet to repeat what you’re saying.”

Reparations and Other Follies
But an emotional and grandstanding congresswoman from Washington turned in the most shameful performance. Screaming and pointing at the witness, Representative Pramila Jayapal berated Whitaker over the administration’s so-called family separation policy. “Do you know what kind of damage has been done to children and families who across this country, children who will never get to see their parents again?” she shrieked, fighting back tears. “Do you understand the magnitude of that! This is about the children’s future, Mr. Whitaker!”

He calmly explained that most of the policy is handled by the Department of Homeland Security. Jayapal later suggested in an MSNBC interview that U.S. taxpayers should pay “reparations” to the illegal immigrant families who were “separated.”

The president blasted the Democrats’ bad behavior the day after the hearing. “The Democrats in Congress yesterday were vicious and totally showed their cards for everyone to see,” he tweeted on Saturday. “When the Republicans had the Majority they never acted with such hatred and scorn! The Dems are trying to win an election in 2020 that they know they cannot legitimately win!”

But it’s unlikely congressional Democrats will learn any manners, let alone develop any sense of decency, before their next public spectacle. As Whitaker pointed out, committee Democrats were uninterested in any of the issues that most Americans care about, including crime, opioid abuse, religious liberty or free speech on college campuses. The collective tirade on display at the Whitaker hearing had nothing to do with truth or accountability—it was a continuance of the sustained primal scream that began on November 8, 2016 by sore losers who still cannot accept that Hillary Clinton lost. It’s revenge theater.

That’s why it would be wise for the president and the Republican Party to tally up every dollar and every moment spent on these political investigations—and then force Democrats to defend their shameful behavior in 2020.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo Credit: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Congress • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Jeff Sessions • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Republicans • the Presidency

The Elite Struck Back—Trump Must Stand Strong

After two years of endless whinging from the Left, the 2018 midterms have come and gone. The results were mixed. If the Left wanted 2018 to be a referendum on Trump’s presidency, they failed. Yet one thing is certain: however slightly, the Democratic Party increased their standing in our political system.

Yes, it’s true that the Democrats won only a narrow margin in the House while the Republicans took an even larger majority in the Senate. Despite their delusions to the contrary, Donald J. Trump remains president of the United States.

Still, one can be assured that the Democrat-controlled House is going to swamp the Trump Administration with a flurry of baseless investigations aimed at handicapping the president and keeping him from following through on his transformative agenda.

In essence, if the 2016 presidential election was America’s “New Hope,” then 2018 was “The Davoise Strikes Back.” Going forward, Trump is likely to be inundated with calls from the reinvigorated #NeverTrump wing of the Republican Party (now headed by Utah’s Senator-elect Mitt Romney) to be more conciliatory toward the Democrats, unless the GOP wishes to lose even more ground in 2020.

Trump should not be swayed by these demands for conciliation. Instead, Trump should more forcefully advocate the issues that he initially campaigned on: immigration, smart protectionism, and infrastructure.

Only by standing firm against the increasing political pressure of the Left will Trump force the Democrats to choose between total gridlock (which may be their object, though if so they will pay for it in 2020) and getting key legislation passed for which they might be able to take some credit. Incidentally, at least two of the three main Trump agenda items listed above are policies that most Democrats, at least in theory, ought to support (of course, today, “Orange Man Bad!” is the Left’s unofficial motto).

If the Democrats refuse to work with the GOP and instead insist upon drowning the White House in baseless investigations, that’s fine: the DNC will become the new party of “no.” Besides, a bitter partisan fight only empowers Trump (as he has proven time and again). Trump has already signaled his intention to put an end to the obscene, partisan witch-hunt that is the Russia investigation. With Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announced resignation; his replacement, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, is a known skeptic of the Robert Mueller special investigation.

Meanwhile, the White House has floated the possibility of de-classifying all materials related to the Russia investigation—a prospect that Trump nixed as recently as September. Now that Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is out as head of the House Intelligence Committee, though, Trump will face a hostile committee controlled by Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Declassification of the Russia materials would stunt the ongoing witch-hunt and buy Trump’s supporters time to decipher the extent of the Left’s duplicity in the “investigation.”

All of this would benefit Trump as he battles a hostile Congress. Also, the mere threat of declassification would buy the Trump Administration leverage over the Democrats in Congress, thereby forcing an otherwise intransigent Congress to deal with Trump on key pieces of legislation.

Fact is, the Democrats who won in the midterms by and large were not of the “democratic socialist” variant; they were mostly ordinary Democrats who are more likely (however begrudgingly) to seek a deal with Trump over key legislation than to resist him. This also positions Nancy Pelosi—most likely the next Speaker of the House—to have a legacy of being a savvy politician as opposed to the bitter partisan who oversaw the greatest defeat of the Democratic Party in the 2010 midterms. In politics, nothing is final, after all.

Also, for all of the talk about the ongoing “civil war” within the GOP, the Democratic Party is far more divided than the Republican Party is today. In fact, the DNC is in a position similar to the one that the GOP was in back in 2010. At that point, a populist wave in the form of the Tea Party had catapulted the GOP into power. Yet, once in power, the Tea Party element was quickly co-opted by the establishment or quashed.

A similar action is occurring within the Democratic Party. Presently, the neoliberal elites of the DNC are assiduously working to bring their, frankly, psychotic socialist base to heel. Given how poorly #TheResistance candidates fared in 2018—and the fact that Pelosi will likely return to being speaker—we can assume that the DNC will continue dispiriting their base.

If a pack of neoliberal establishment-types end up dominating the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, it will still be ugly for Trump, but it means that some movement can occur in enacting the MAGA agenda (which transcends ordinary ideological divisions). Yes, there likely will be obnoxious investigations and rumors of investigations. By fighting the Democrats vociferously, however, Trump can block the Left’s most egregious attempts to turn the Congress into a bigger clown show than it already is.

There is no denying that the midterm election was a setback for Trump and the GOP. Despite this, it was by no means a “shellacking.” The next election in 2020 will be far more favorable for the Republicans, since Trump himself will be on the ballot again (think about it: a majority of the GOP candidates who sought Trump’s blessing in 2018 won).

Thus, Trump needs to force the Democrats in Congress to move closer to his position. To achieve this herculean task, Trump would do well to exhibit strength above all else (since weakness is provocative). The president can not go wobbly on his MAGA agenda; he must fight even harder and smarter than he has fought for it previously.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo Credit: Al Drago – Pool/Getty Images

2016 Election • Deep State • Donald Trump • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Post

The Old Rope-a-Dope

To borrow an old boxing phrase, it appears that no one has recognized that President Donald Trump is using a “rope-a-dope” tactic in his constant criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, spurring the media to fret constantly over the possibility that Trump might fire him. Consider for a second the possibility that Sessions may, in fact, be overseeing U.S. Attorney John Huber in a widespread and actually secret investigation into widespread corruption and misuse of power by people in the Justice Department, the FBI, and former Obama White House staffers.

We are discovering wholly corrupt acts every day as the details about the Steele Dossier and the tactics used to frame Trump by political opponents emerge. Is it really so far-fetched to imagine an “October” surprise where Sessions reveals dozens of indictments over this? If he did that, the media would explode and then would be caught in a hard place—“on the ropes,” so to speak, as they have been praising and defending Sessions for months. How could they do an instant about-face and then attack Sessions?  

If this comes to pass, the media would do their absolute best to cast it as a political prosecution of hardworking government officials, but the months of crediting and praising Jeff Sessions would be a difficult obstacle for them to overcome.

The prosecution of persons who helped cover up Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds and gave immunity to witnesses, who never were going to testify, would be incidental to the prosecution of those who weaponized our intelligence agencies for political purposes, leaked confidential information, and conspired against Donald Trump.

Is this just a “Q” inspired pipe dream that lingers in the minds of Trump supporters? Consider, too, the extremes to which his opponents have gone to in their hatred of him. Or is hoping that the military will stage a coup par for the course in the socialist loving media these days?

Remember when liberals fought hard for the right of freedom of speech? Today, instead, they sit by and watch as social media giants and universities work to purge any views that do not comport with progressive dogma. Indeed some claim there is no right to speak anything that isn’t progressive.

Might we see Sessions at work in October and know then that Trump was once again masterfully manipulating his opponents and the media to achieve his goals?  Consider again the words Sessions used as he allegedly fought back against Trump: “While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action . . .” Couldn’t you apply that just as easily to what U.S. Attorney John Huber is investigating?

Photo Credit: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Administrative State • America • Big Media • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Hillary Clinton • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Republicans • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

What You Missed from Michael Horowitz’s Testimony

In the media’s rush to exploit the plight of migrant children this week, the public testimony of Michael Horowitz has been buried or, more likely, ignored by the news media.

Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, testified for more than 10 hours on Capitol Hill, taking questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday and from a joint congressional committee on Tuesday.

Since the June 14 release of his 568-page report on the department’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, Horowitz has been criticized for concluding that the agency’s decision to forego charges against Clinton was unrelated to the political views of those in charge.

“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations,” Horowitz said, “including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed, or that the justifications offered for these decisions were pretextual.”

That finding seems to runs afoul of much of the report’s content, which included a trove of text messages showing top FBI brass favored Hillary Clinton and despised Donald Trump. (The report did suggest that the decision by lead investigator Peter Strzok to prioritize the Trump-Russia counterintelligence probe over the Weiner laptop investigation in September-October 2016 was not “free from bias.”)

But Horowitz’s public statements and responses this week should ease suspicions that he is yet another D.C. swamp creature playing politics at the expense of truth and transparency. He was candid and appeared more than willing to cooperate with Congress, a rare trait in this Justice Department.

“I am upset at all of this,” Horowitz said Tuesday. “It is precisely why it cast a cloud over the investigation, it undermines confidence in it. All of those impacts are very significant and very serious on an FBI investigation. That should never happen and it happened because of these text messages and because of what these employees were doing.”

But one reason Horowitz might have punted in his recent report is because he knows the real bombshells are yet to come: He is investigating the FISA warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page; the cozy relationship between Justice and FBI officials and the media, including perks for scoops; ex-FBI Director James Comey’s handling of classified information; and the potential doctoring of official documents.

“We’ve got lots of investigations going on,” Horowitz told Rep. James Jordan (R-Ohio).

The most explosive revelations ahead could be how the FBI obtained FISA court authorization in October 2016 to spy on Carter Page for a year. The FBI’s application largely was based on the infamous Christopher Steele “dossier,” a compilation of political opposition research that was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. According to the House Intelligence Committee, “neither the initial application, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.” The first application was renewed three times: Comey signed three applications, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (now under criminal investigation) signed one, and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also signed at least one.

In his biannual report last month, Horowitz confirmed his office is “reviewing information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source. Additionally, the OIG is reviewing the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.” Under questioning by Jordan, Horowitz said part of his review will include asking why the Justice Department did not tell the court about the dossier’s political benefactors.

Text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his alleged lover, also reveal that Strzok was interested in contacting his friend and former neighbor Rudolph Contreras—a judge appointed to the FISA court in May 2016—three months before the Page warrant was granted. We don’t know whether Contreras approved the Page warrants and—in the swampiest of all swamp moves—Contreras also was the judge in the Michael Flynn case. After Trump’s former national security advisor pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI in December 2017, Contreras was recused from the case for unknown reasons. (Special Counsel Robert Mueller has twice delayed Flynn’s sentencing; it now is scheduled for the end of this month.)

If someone were writing a screenplay about D.C. corruption, he could not do better than to invent this script.

The Page warrant was central to the public case suggesting that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. Page was referenced repeatedly in the Steele dossier—the contents of which are unverified and the author now is facing multiple defamation lawsuits. (The Senate Judiciary Committee also has referred Steele to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution for lying to the FBI when he was a source.)

Further, an employee of Fusion GPS—the firm that hired Steele—is married to a former senior Justice Department official. That fact was also concealed from the FISA court, according to the House Intelligence committee. (The Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, was subsequently demoted.) Congress still cannot get answers about how much Steele was paid by the FBI before he was fired for fibbing about his contacts with the media.

There are many shady layers to the Page FISA warrant story. It is highly likely that Justice Department officials abused their FISA court privileges and, in the process, violated Page’s constitutional rights in order to buttress the phony Trump-Russia collusion plotline.

Thanks to leaks by DOJ officials, Page was targeted by reporters beginning in July 2016. Fusion GPS principal Glenn Simpson also peddled Steele as a legitimate FBI source to his former colleagues in the news media as they began writing articles about Page’s alleged connections to Russia. The first article exposing Page, written by Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff in September 2016, quoted a “senior U.S. law enforcement official” to confirm the FBI probe. The April 2017 Washington Post article that revealed Page was under FISA surveillance said this: “The officials spoke about the court order on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of a counterintelligence probe.”

Horowitz made clear he intends to keep investigating unauthorized leaks to the media. He found that “although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared widely to be ignored during the period we reviewed. We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters.”

The public—and Page—are entitled to know who was behind these illegal leaks and whether they lied about it to investigators. Page told me that he is not seeking retribution or vindication: “Borrowing the words of Donald Trump on the campaign trail, ‘it’s not about me, it’s about us.’ I’m more concerned about repairing our completely broken justice system.”

This potentially could be one of the most egregious uses of federal investigatory power against a private citizen in the department’s history. Any misconduct uncovered in the Justice Department’s effort to spy on Carter Page for political reasons rather than national security reasons also throws the credibility and necessity of Robert Mueller’s probe into question.

If Horowitz exposes the players and potential crimes related to the Page warrant, any soft-pedaling on the Clinton email investigation will long be forgotten.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Administrative State • America • Congress • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Obama • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • The Media

Delusion About Detentions: On Family Separation at the Border

Upstanding journalists, their fellow right-minded pundits, and progressive elected official friends are outraged! 

Part one of two.

According to them, the Trump Administration’s approach to immigration enforcement is cruel, un-American, inhumane, barbaric, and even medically dangerous.

NeverTrump’s go-to former Bush official, General Michael Hayden, took the hand-wringing and hyperbole to a new level over the weekend, issuing a tweet comparing the separation of families illegally entering the United States to, you guessed it, the Holocaust.

I hereby invoke Godwin’s Law.

The problem is the facts are at odds with the conventional media interpretation of existing legal precedent, prior administrations’ practices, and even relevant federal statutes. You know, the law.

But being wrong on the facts has never stopped the media and their useful idiots in the commentariat from maligning the Trump Administration unfairly to suit their agenda. Now they’re shrieking about “baby jails.” It’s insane.

Let’s take a breath and assess what’s really happening. To begin with, just counting April and May 2018 when the Trump Administration announced it would prosecute 100 percent of illegal border crossing cases, at least 78,622 individuals were apprehended at the southwest border. Of those taken into custody, only 19,138 consisted of people traveling as part of a family unit (parents and/or children) while another 10,707 were listed as “unaccompanied alien children” (UACs). Most of those apprehended are neither children nor accompanying parents.

Loopholes, Lies, and the Law
The issue at hand is the difference in the treatment that contiguous (i.e., the bordering countries of Mexico and Canada) and non-contiguous nations (mostly Central American nations including Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador) receive under the 2008 Wilberforce Act.

That law includes a provision to grant special recognition to minors (under 18 years old) from non-contiguous countries in immigration law. In effect, it made every Central American juvenile migrant an automatic asylum case, mandating they be transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services without a border patrol assessment of their circumstances.

As the New York Times explained in 2014:

[The Wilberforce Anti-Trafficking Act] required that [UACs] be given an opportunity to appear at an immigration hearing and consult with an advocate, and it recommended that they have access to counsel. It also required that they be turned over to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the agency was directed to place the minor “in the least restrictive setting that is in the best interest of the child” and to explore reuniting those children with family members.

Canadian and Mexican children can be, upon the determination of DHS, immediately repatriated, but non-contiguous UACs must go before a hearing judge to be considered for asylum, with a lawyer provided.

So, what about adults and families with children?

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in 2014:

Foreign nationals—specifically in this context adults and families with children—apprehended along the border or arriving at a U.S. port of entry who lack proper immigration documents or who engage in fraud or misrepresentation are placed in a procedure known as expedited removal; however, if they express a fear of persecution, they receive a “credible fear” hearing with a [DHS] asylum officer and—if found credible—are referred to [a DOJ] immigration judge for a hearing.

CRS’s useful chart explains the process as of 2014:

But the courts have complicated matters recently. The U.S. Supreme Court in February ruled the federal government may detain unlawful immigrants indefinitely, without a bond hearing, per the following statutes:

(1) INA § 235(b), which generally requires the detention of “arriving aliens,” as well as certain other aliens who have not been admitted or paroled into the United States and are subject to removal;

(2) INA § 236(c), which generally requires the detention of aliens who are removable because of specified criminal activity or security grounds upon their release from criminal incarceration; and

(3) INA § 236(a), which generally authorizes the detention of aliens arrested pending removal proceedings, and permits (but does not require) aliens not subject to mandatory detention to be released on parole or bail.

CRS legal expert Hillel Smith notes a wrinkle in the court’s ruling: “But while the Supreme Court affirmed the government’s statutory authority to detain aliens for an indefinite period under the challenged statutes, the Court did not reach a fundamental question raised in the Jennings litigation—is the indefinite detention of aliens pending removal proceedings constitutional?”

In other words, the administration has the discretion to allow for the release of illegal border crossers but has no obligation to exercise it.

On the merits, that is a wise policy because of the high likelihood of aliens absconding and failing to appear before an immigration judge later. According to former immigration judge Mark Metcalf’s analysis, 37 percent of all aliens free pending adjudication did not bother to show up to court. But the recent trend is more concerning: according to the Justice Department, “From FY 2012 to FY 2015 the number of in absentia orders for aliens who are not currently detained increased by 98 percent.”

Though it dipped slightly in fiscal year 2016, the no-show rate has spiked again in the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, reaching more than 40,000 disappeared aliens a year.

At the same time, immigration judges are rejecting the asylum claims made by migrants—granting less than one in five of all asylum petitions in the last few years.

Tellingly, the number of migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have skyrocketed (up 470 percent to nearly 40,000) in the last five years of the Obama Administration. Yet only about one out of 25 of those Central American applicants (under 4 percent) were granted asylum.

Therefore, the immigration judges are not substantiating these claims often and rarely granting relief to many of the Central American migrants—who cannot be immediately deported if they claim asylum. Under the law, they are entitled to a hearing if they can merely utter the word: asylum. (You can follow the Byzantine appeals process in this handy flowchart or read up on the uses and abuses of the process here and here.)

And you should know these border crossers are being actively advised and coached on how to game the system with asylum claims by activists.

Courting Confusion: Flores, Flores, Flores!
In the meantime, the federal government must decide what to do with aliens not subject to immediate repatriation.

There, other courts have muddied the legal waters further.

For background, the much-discussed Flores Settlement in 1997, which, as an agreement between the courts and the Justice Department has the force of law, dictated how children in federal immigration custody were to be treated and processed.

As the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in 2016:

Before 2001, “families apprehended for entering the United States illegally were most often released rather than detained because of a limited amount of family bed space; families who were detained had to be housed separately, splitting up parents and children…In the wake of September 11, 2001, however, immigration policy fundamentally changed,” with “more restrictive immigration controls, tougher enforcement, and broader expedited removal of illegal aliens,” which “made the automatic release of families problematic.” (Emphasis added.)

So, contrary to media reports, children and their parents were separated for detention. A 2005 DHS Inspector General’s report explicitly called out the practice: “Accompanied juveniles (those apprehended with their families) were separated from their families due to space limitations in ‘family unity’ shelters.”

The watchdog continued:

[Detention and Removal Office, ICE (DRO)] attempts to keep families together by finding available space in a family shelter. However, on occasion, such as when criminal charges are filed against the parent or bed space is not available in a family shelter, DRO is unable to keep the juvenile with the adult relative. In these instances, the juvenile is separated from the adult relative and is treated as an unaccompanied juvenile under ORR’s jurisdiction. Need for Additional Family Shelters Juvenile aliens who were accompanied when originally apprehended can become unaccompanied juveniles because of a lack of appropriate detention facilities. In these situations, accompanied juveniles, regardless of age, are separated from their family members because longer-term facilities are not readily available to accommodate the family. Juveniles ranging from babies to teenagers are transported to facilities without their parents.

But the 2008 Wilberforce Act and subsequent federal court directives complicated the Clinton-Bush II policy of occasional family separation.

A series of lawsuits and negative press coverage, spearheaded by the ACLU and immigrant rights’ advocates, forced Obama to shut down one family detention center (Hutto) in 2009.

Another DHS report authored by Obama appointee Dora Schriro argued effectively for the wholesale release of all migrant families and children. Even the Obama White House balked at that one, and instead redoubled family detention while rejecting the appeals of legal activists and recommendations within the administration, even though conditions hadn’t improved much.

According to the Obama Administration, and then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, who declared publicly in 2014 that there would be “zero-tolerance for border-crossers”:

In June 2014, the administration announced that it would pursue wide-scale detention of mothers and children to deter other families from seeking asylum in the United States. DHS Secretary Johnson told Congress, “Our message is clear to those who try to illegally cross our borders: You will be sent back home.” Underscoring the department’s resolve, he added that the government was “building additional space to detain these groups and hold them until their expedited removal orders are effectuated” . . . It was, he said, “. . . [a]n aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers. Immediately thereafter, when ICE agents apprehended families at the border, they assigned them to a [family detention center] for expedited processing…In keeping with this rationale, DHS insisted on continued detention during proceedings after families received a favorable decision following the “credible fear” screening interviews. Between June 2014 and February 2015, ICE denied release to nearly all detained families in its initial custody determination, even those who had passed their screening interviews.  When families sought reviews of decisions to continue detention before immigration judges, ICE attorneys opposed release, arguing that a “no bond” or “high bond” policy was necessary to “significantly reduce the unlawful mass migration of Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans.

A subsequent report, issued publicly in late 2016, again promoted the unfettered release of migrants and elimination of family detention facilities. That policy, too, was never implemented.  

At the same time, Obama’s Justice Department was fighting tooth-and-nail in federal court against activists’ broad readings of the Flores settlement that would have shuttered family detention centers and mandated the release of parents of minor children. The Holder-Lynch DOJ preferred to maintain a “deterrence” approach for detention decisions and apply the Flores settlement only to unaccompanied minors.

The ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit partially sided with the administration by ruling that parents were not eligible for release under Flores merely because they had children. At the same time, the court rejected the claim that Flores did not apply to all children and that its deterrence was rational.

By holding that all children are subject to Flores but allowing for the parents to be detained for adjudication, the courts created a “sticky wicket,” since the accompanied Wilberforce-eligible children, cannot be deported immediately without a hearing, and their parents are subject to criminal sanction. It effectively created parallel immigration systems, one for the parents and one for their children. At the same time, the two-tiers render, for all intents and purposes, an accompanied child “unaccompanied”—placing them into HHS’s jurisdiction.

In 2017, the Obama-appointed federal judge Dolly Gee explained that the government

may conclude that it is in the best interests of an accompanied minor to remain with a parent who is in detention . . . (The parties also do not address the situation where the mother chooses to stay in the detention facility or has been deemed a flight or safety risk. As a practical matter, [government] would be justified in detaining both mother and child in that case”). On the other hand, it may be the case that “in order to effectuate the least restrictive form of detention for the child, [government] must follow an order of preference for the minor’s release to an available adult [not in detention].”

But if the parents are detained, who exactly do you release a bonded child to?

That’s the conundrum the Ninth Circuit laid out in a 2017 decision:

[I]t permits a system under which unaccompanied minors will receive bond hearings, but the decision of the immigration judge will not be the sole factor in determining whether and to whose custody they will be released. Immigration judges may assess whether a minor should remain detained or otherwise in the government’s custody, but there must still be a separate decision with respect to the implementation of the child’s appropriate care and custody.

In other words, HHS, under the Wilberforce law, could in effect overrule the immigration judge if there is not an appropriate placement for the eligible child.

To recap: Legal loopholes are to blame for the differential treatment for different migrant groups; George W.  Bush did separate families and Obama fought hard to detain children and families; and recent federal court decisions have sown confusion and created a byzantine process that makes it impossible to enforce the law without the two-tier, separation policy.

Part two will address the alternatives to the status quo, both proposed and unexamined, and the implications for legislative action.

Photo credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Administrative State • America • Immigration • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Post • Progressivism

The Bible and the Border

Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted a passage from the New Testament the other day. He was talking about immigration law at the time. In response, the Left has been treating the public with an uncharacteristic rash of biblical quotations. The Bible verses the attorney general quoted were “infamous” ones, the Washington Post informs us. Well . . .

Describing verses from Holy Scripture (as opposed to, say, the editorial bias of certain newspapers) as infamous was an audacious stroke. The Washington Post clearly considers itself qualified to separate scripture into more and less unacceptable segments—confidently judging, with no apparent concern about itself being judged.

Meantime, many Democrats (rather less ambitiously) are engaged in the good old American tradition of looking for scriptural support for their own pre-baked positions and a biblical moral critique for the other guy’s. It’s an effort for which I applaud them, as it demonstrates at least a pretense to a modicum of respect for religious faith.

And good-faith Googling has yielded, to their great and perhaps surprised satisfaction, various instructions to the ancient Hebrews to be kind and humane to “strangers and aliens.” The Hebrews are indeed sternly instructed that, once they’ve established their nation in the new Promised Land, they must “Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19, KJV.) Foreigners passing through or residing in the Promised Land according to Leviticus 24:22, are neither to be discriminated against, nor privileged: “You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.”

These and many similar injunctions clearly prohibit cruelty and abuse. Just as clearly, though, they’re in harmony with the “notorious” passage in Romans—not opposed to it. Those who’ve newly discovered the “sojourner” passages might want to look at them in that light.

The Romans 13 passage explains to us that, ideally, “…rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid…” (ESV)

So biblically, it’s not who you are, but on what you do, which establishes your relationship with just authorities. This is a revolutionary thought in these days of intersectional politics, and one well worth pondering. There are many such thought-provoking notions, in the writings of what was once a big part of our cultural “Common Core.”

There are also handy “life hacks” in the form of simple common sense. For instance, the book of Proverbs offers the following observation, which seems to have gone overlooked so far in our national impromptu theology debate:

People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. (Proverbs 6:30-31)

A man might truly be desperate; his crime might be one we can all imagine ourselves committing in the wrong circumstances. It might elicit general sympathy. That doesn’t, however, eliminate the need to pay consequences if discovered. If you steal bread because you’re hungry, someone else loses bread and, perhaps, even goes hungry. Your stolen gain was someone else’s loss. Sympathy for you doesn’t restore that to him. From Moses’ laws, down through various civilizations to our own, the law had to recognize that, and get down into the details of “whose ox has been gored.” Those who “seek a better life” are welcome to do so, but this shouldn’t be done by worsening the lives of others.

Illegal immigrants, and especially those who identify as asylum seekers, are trying to escape nations where the rule of law isn’t reliable, where favoritism, corruption, and political ulterior motives create double- and triple-standards, and where one’s group is more important than the letter of the law. Our nation remains a place worth fleeing to for legitimate asylum seekers. But that depends on our country maintaining (and, where necessary, restoring) the rule of law.

This rule of law also protects them, if they simply make their asylum claims without first surreptitiously infiltrating our territory. Failure to choose that available option is what put the separated families in their unenviable position in the first place—a fact which mainstream coverage of the crisis has been conveniently leaving out.

Which brings another of Solomon’s common-sense proverbs to mind: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17, ESV.) Next week, the “Trump is tearing apart families!” script will surely be replaced by another equally disingenuous one, on some other real or imagined crisis. Examine that next issue, too, beyond the melodramatic headlines and pious posturing which, no doubt, the Left will again employ.

They’re infamous for it.

Photo credit: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

America • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Featured Article • Intelligence Community • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • The Left • The Leviathian State • The Media • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker)

As the Wiseguys Turn: McCabe, Comey, and the FBI Boys

Back in the heyday of the New York City mafia, the wiseguys used to gather at the Ravenite Social Club in Manhattan’s Little Italy, a place on Mulberry Street that John Gotti and the Gambino crime family used as their informal headquarters. Despite Gotti’s best efforts to keep the cops away, the FBI managed to plant listening devices in the club and the apartment above it, which eventually lead to the Teflon Don’s downfall, especially after one of the goodfellas, Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, turned informant and ratted out the gang. Gotti was convicted in 1992 and died in federal prison 10 years later.

Thanks in large part to the sweeping powers inherent in the so-called RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act of 1970, the Gambino family—and indeed Italian organized crime—never recovered. Even the acronym was a tip of the fedora to Rico Bandello, the character portrayed by Edward G. Robinson in one of the earliest gangster movies, Little Caesar.

But nature abhors a vacuum, and now it appears we have a new crew of wiseguys, this one operating out of Washington, D.C., with its headquarters in the J. Edgar Hoover building, otherwise known as FBI headquarters. The news is that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe—who has been referred to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia for possible criminal prosecution by Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice’s inspector general—wants immunity in exchange for testifying in front of the Senate judiciary committee headed by Charles Grassley of Iowa. At issue are allegedly false statements McCabe made to investigators looking into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and how that “investigation” was handled by former officials at Justice and FBI, among them attorney general Loretta Lynch and FBI director James Comey.

Pass the popcorn—and this double feature’s just getting started. For, in addition to Little Caesar, there’s a James Cagney classic from 1935 called G Men that everybody involved in this unintended remake ought to watch before the curtain rises. Cagney, in his first major role as a good guy after the string of gangster movies that made him a star, plays Brick Davis, a young lawyer whose legal education, as luck would have it, was financed by a prominent gangster wanting him to go straight.

Scrupulously honest, Cagney’s straight-arrow character has no clients as a result. He turns down an offer from a pal to join the FBI, but when his friend is murdered by gangsters, Cagney joins the Bureau, vowing to get the killers. Naturally, this puts him in direct conflict with his mentor, and it all ends bloodily but happily. Cagney’s character even manages to survive, unlike in the actor’s famous outings in The Public Enemy, Angels with Dirty Faces, The Roaring Twenties and White Heat.

But now it seems we’ve flipped the script: what began as an investigation into Russian “collusion” on the part of the Trump campaign and perhaps the president himself, is now steadily being revealed as the sham byproduct of the fixed-fight “probe” of the Clinton email “matter” that allowed the former secretary of state to head into the 2016 election “cleared” of any wrongdoing by the Obama “justice” department. Vengeful over her surprising (but not to me) loss, the Woman Scorned and her cronies in the former administration and the intelligence community then concocted the “collusion” narrative, obligingly peddled to the public by the Democrat-controlled media, to strangle the Trump presidency in its cradle.

And they almost got away with it.

The first clue that the plot was going sideways was the December 2016 announcement by McCabe, Comey’s right-hand man, that he would be “retiring” from the FBI in early 2018, just after fully vesting in his lavish, taxpayer-funded pension. This was, recall, before the straight-arrow Comey’s own firing in May 2017 by Trump, employing a legal justification for the dismissal written by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who then turned around and appointed another noted straight arrow Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor to look into the “collusion” and the origins of Comey’s canning.

Then, on the eve before McCabe was going to cash out, he was suddenly defenestrated by somnolent attorney general Jeff Sessions for lying to investigators regarding his role in the Clinton email investigation. He’s also suspected of leaking to various friendly media outlets in a disinformation operation designed to cover his own posterior. And now, facing the committee, he may well take the Fifth if his demand for immunity is not granted.

In short, it’s a perfect circle of jerks—a bunch of Beltway lawyers (like Brick Davis) in charge of the nation’s cop shop, but who (unlike Brick Davis) have never grilled a suspect or traded shots with the goombahs: desk jockeys well versed in Beltway Borgia backstabbing, but otherwise completely useless in any real investigative function.

But that’s what happens when you have career liars-for-hire running the investigative agencies instead of, you know, real investigators. Back in the early days of the Bureau, the FBI would take law-enforcement pros and make them get law degrees; now it hires lawyers and gives them a badge and a gun. As I wrote in the New York Post after Comey’s firing:

So who should replace Comey? The rumor mills are already churning out names of the usual suspects: a judge (Michael J. Garcia), a prosecutor (Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher), a politician (Sen. John Cornyn of Texas), a veteran fed (Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe) and the Richmond FBI head (Adam Lee).

But the country doesn’t need another politician, jurist or prosecutor at the bureau. It needs someone dogged, determined, experienced, impartial and fearless. Someone sworn to protect and serve, who will follow the evidence wherever it leads and make the appropriate recommendations in the name of justice. Incorruptible and impartial.

In other words, a cop—the best one we have.

That didn’t happen, of course. Instead we got another Ivy League lawyer, Christopher Wray.

It remains to be seen how this movie turns out; after all, the last act has yet to be written. But this time, it’s the good guys—not the media mouthpieces who routinely leap to the defense of the Democrats—acting as the screenwriters. McCabe’s in serious trouble and, if and when he falls, or rolls over, the sanctimonious Comey may be in for it, too. What other ending can there be in a plot for a man who leaked his own memos to the press in order to encourage the duplicitous Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller (Comey’s immediate predecessor at the FBI) to look into the Russian “collusion” charges? What will satisfy the audience more than comeuppance for a man who passed off a dossier that originated with the Clinton campaign and was facilitated by the media in the form of Fusion GPS, the oppo-research organization founded by former journalists and responsible for commissioning a former MI6 spy to compile this imaginary pile of concocted hearsay called “evidence” from Russian “sources” that was then presented by… who else? Rosenstein!—to the FISA courts.

Can the plot get any thicker?

As the saying goes, you can’t make this stuff up, unless you actually do. But perhaps the gangsters inside the FBI and Justice ought to remember how their namesake, Rico, got his comeuppance—filled full of Hollywood lead and mouthing his last words: “Mother of Mercy – is this the end of Rico?”

Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Washington’s public enemies?

It’s the ending the audience is just dying to see.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

(Photo credit:  John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)  Edward G. Robinson as Cesare Enrico Bandello points a gun at a shadow of a man he just shot in Little Caesar.

America • Americanism • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Libertarians • Post • Terrorism • The Left • The Leviathian State • the Presidency • Trump White House

Another Flawed Attempt at Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal justice reform is returning to political prominence, thanks to Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, one of its most ardent advocates. Ordinarily, that might be good news. But once again, the legislation at issue is so badly flawed that passage would cost taxpayers billions, yield little in the way of public safety or relief for the federal prison system and—at least according to liberal prison reformers—little reform.

The House Judiciary Committee, in a rare burst of bipartisan energy, last week passed the latest rendition of this recurrent theme. In an unusual non-party line 25-5vote, HR 5682, a watered-down version of legislation that has been kicking around Congress for several years, advanced toward consideration by the full House. Supporters hope the bill—which is also known as the FIRST STEP Act—will have a vote in the next couple of weeks.

HR 5682 would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide more resources to reduce the likelihood of recidivism and ease reentry of prisoners back into society. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate but has yet to be taken up by the Judiciary Committee. A very different bill, encompassing a considerably wider array of reform, did pass the Senate Judiciary Committee several months ago over the objection of five Republican members.

The current bill has, not surprisingly, a wide list of supporters and opponents. To try to gain supporters, some of the most objectionable provisions of older legislation were left out and several new provisions added. Kushner has been able to secure White House backing, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly opposes it. Several libertarian right-of-center groups, including those controlled by the Koch brothers, are strong supporters, while a number of left-wing groups, including the ACLU, People for the American Way and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights strongly oppose the legislation because it doesn’t go far enough.

Among the bill’s major flaws is a provision that would require every federal prisoner, without exception, be placed in a facility within 500 miles of home. The first problem? There are some 22,000 gang members in the federal system, many placed far from rivals to avoid violence in the prisons. Many, if not all, would have to be moved at vast expense.

Second, it is doubtful that any member voting in favor of the bill ever looked at a map of federal prison locations. They would notice vast swaths of the United States—particularly in the western part of the country—have no federal prisons. Needless to say, thousands of federal prisoners are housed in facilities well over 500 miles from home. As an example, there is no federal prison facility between Sheridan, Oregon and Yankton, South Dakota—a distance of over 1,600 miles. Either many new prisons would have to be built or presumably tens of thousands of prisoners would be released.

Worse, there is only one federal “supermax” prison in the country, located in Florence, Colorado. Its guests include a rogue’s gallery of the country’s worst criminals, foreign terrorists, domestic terrorists, mafia kingpins and other infamous thugs. Among of its more infamous inmates, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is certainly more than 500 miles from home. So is Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman will have a cell waiting after his conviction in New York.

Florence is also home to al-Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the masterminds of the 9/11 terrorist attack, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, and Terry Nichols of Oklahoma City fame, to name a few. While Florence houses some 400 other prisoners, it is hard to imagine that home is within 500 miles for any of them. New, regional supermax prisons would need to be constructed at great expense to taxpayers.

If passed, supporters of this ill-conceived legislation tell us that it would immediately release some 4,000 federal prisoners by retroactively increasing good-time credits, and would provide liberal good-time credits for participation in rehabilitation programs, with the exception of violent offenders. But heroin and fentanyl traffickers are excluded from the list of violent criminals, allowing these often multi-offenders to return to the streets early to ply their trade.

Left-wing group oppose HR 5682 because it fails to include sentencing reform—particularly reducing mandatory minimum sentences for violent and repeat offenders. That provision has been opposed by the Department of Justice and an array of law enforcement organizations, who have dubbed it the “jailbreak” bill.

Although criminal justice reform is viewed as one of the few bi-partisan measures having even a slim chance of passage, this one, thankfully, still faces  huge hurdles. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley opposes the new House bill but is a strong backer of the bill passed earlier in the year by his committee. So, in the end, it may be a pretty good bet that those 4,000 early release candidates should not pack their bags yet.

Photo credit:  BOB DAEMMRICH/AFP/Getty Images

America • Americanism • Congress • Donald Trump • Drugs • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Post • Republicans • The Courts • The Culture • Trump White House

Will Jared Soften Trump on Crime?

Singapore and China don’t have a drug problem, President Trump likes to tell people. “They have the death penalty.” White House insiders say that Trump wishes the U.S. had a law that authorized executing all drug dealers, although he admits it would be impossible to pass such a law. But he consistently takes a hard line on drug crimes, making no bones about his desire to purge the country of drug pushers. And just two weeks ago, in a speech on the drug crisis in New Hampshire, the president said the federal government is “wasting our time” if it isn’t willing to put some traffickers to death.

Good material to stir up the voters. But we do know that the president supports requiring five year mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers who sell as little as five grams of fentanyl, the substance now responsible for high numbers of drug-related deaths.

Strong supporters of the president’s position includes most of the law enforcement community. His biggest obstacle may be his son-in-law.

In the meantime, both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, with the backing of both Republicans and Democrats, have passed bills which would reform sentencing laws to release multiple federal prisoners before their sentences are completed. The bills also eliminate many of the harsh sentencing provisions passed in the 1980s and 90s mandating stiff sentences for multi-offenders. In addition to reforming sentencing laws, the bills have provisions to reform the penal system. Those bills await debate in both houses and, like most such legislation, have both ardent supporters and opponents. Opponents include much of the law-enforcement community and the Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions.

Although Trump has paid lip service to the legislation, the results of enactment would certainly fly in the face of his harsh lock-em-up rhetoric.

The Senate bill was opposed in the Judiciary Committee by five Republicans, including Texas Senator John Cornyn (R, TX), a member of the Senate leadership. Cornyn, for one, does not oppose the less-controversial prison reform section, which includes provisions which would increase opportunities for education, drug rehabilitation and job training for prisoners, all of which could aid in prisoner “reentry” and cut recidivism rates. But Cornyn believes that the time is not right to reduce sentences, particularly for drug dealers who profit by spreading death and destruction. Republican opposition, together with the opposition of the Administration, probably means the bill is dead, as Majority Leader McConnell will be loath to bring anything to the Senate floor that pits Republicans against each other.

Back to son-in-law Jared Kushner, a top advisor to the president on a variety of issues, who has a different idea. He supports broad-based criminal justice reform, including reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentences and releasing offenders who have served much of their time. According to a recent article in The New York Times, Kushner and Sessions have reached a compromise: Kushner continues to push for prison reform, while the Justice Department would lead administration opposition to a broader overhaul of the criminal justice system, particularly sentencing loopholes by which fairly convicted felons can avoid serving the intended duration of their terms.

Sessions, in a recent letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), said the bill “would reduce sentences for a highly dangerous cohort of criminals, including repeat dangerous drug traffickers and those who use firearms.” Grassley, a strong supporter of many of the Trump Administration’s legislative efforts, was furious, and is, according to Senate staffers, anxious to try to proceed with at least part of the legislation. Grassley has supported much of the Trump agenda in the Senate, and is a crucial link in the chain of confirming federal judges, so his differences on criminal justice reform do pose a problem for the administration.

So as a compromise with Grassley, the White House is backing Kushner’s efforts for prison overhaul but are ambivalent about criminal justice reform, despite Trump’s outspoken position on drug dealers—and despite other opponents to criminal justice reform, including much of the law enforcement community, who believe that most people who would be let out of federal prison before their sentences run would be just those drug dealers that President Trump believes should rot in prison.

Justice Department insiders tell me that they are concerned that if just the prison reform provisions reach the floor of both houses of Congress and if they pass and get to a conference to resolve differences, that many of the provisions for sentencing reform now opposed by the attorney general and the law enforcement community, may get slipped back in. If that were to happen and a bill which includes much of what the President opposes, were to land in the Oval Office for signature, pressure from his son-in-law might just be enough to get it signed.

On the other hand, given the president’s strong belief that the opioid crisis is a major contributor to the 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, such a bill would be a prime candidate for a veto. Again, sources within the Justice Department would like to avoid such a scenario, and will, I am told, exert maximum pressure to see that the bills remain dormant for another year.

Let’s hope Jared doesn’t change his father-in-law’s mind.

Photo credit:  SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

America • Americanism • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Jeff Sessions • Post • The Courts • The Left • the Presidency

Congress Needs to Rein in Overreaching Judges

Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month gave a speech about the rise of “super legislators.” He wasn’t talking about members of Congress; he was talking about judges.

In particular, he was talking about district court judges, and the growing frequency with which individual judges from California to Boston are issuing national injunctions—that is, using regional cases to make national policy from the bench.

What was once a rare legal tactic has now become a routine effort by lower court judges to stop President Trump’s agenda in its tracks. In just over one year in office, the president has been subject to 22 national injunctions—more than any other president.

Throughout this series I have outlined the scope of the problem. I have also highlighted two significant areas where the courts have made it their mission to block otherwise constitutional actions by President Trump—first on his efforts to roll back Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate (the part of the law that requires nuns to purchase birth control), and second on his attempts to modify the nation’s immigration system.

The judicial autocracy imposed by national injunctions is hardly limited to those policy areas, however. The courts have also halted Trump’s efforts to change the policy regarding openly transgender soldiers in the military, modify refugee quotas, and repeal burdensome environmental regulations.

Life-tenured judges, it seems, have appointed themselves the arbiters of national policy. In doing so, they are not just creating legal chaos and undermining the quality of the justice system, they are distorting the constitutional balance among the branches. Judges are supposed to be neutral parties interpreting the law as it relates to the actions of the elected branches—not with claiming ownership of partisan, policy outcomes.

It’s a reality that James Madison cautioned against, pronouncing the “accumulation of all powers” in the same hands as “the very definition of tyranny.”

The constitutional separation of powers is out of balance, and it must be restored. The Constitution’s Framers envisioned each branch to be a check on the other; to guard against the natural greediness inherent in each branch, desiring to accumulate power for itself. The abuse of national injunctions represents an attempt by the judiciary to claim for itself a policy making role that it does not have. It is incumbent upon the policy making branches to take that power back.

There are two proposals in the Congress that, if implemented, would provide this necessary check.

The first, proposed by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), seeks to limit the practice of “forum-shopping”—where those seeking to challenge a president’s agenda “shop” for a court they believe would provide the most favorable judgment, in this case, a national injunction. Forum shoppers have largely been successful in their choices. There’s a reason, for example, that many of the national injunctions have emerged from the liberally minded 9th circuit. Palmer’s proposal would remove the incentive to forum-shop by requiring challenges against the executive to be heard in District of Columbia, thereby limiting the ability of challengers to simply select a jurisdiction favorable to its side.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) has proposed even broader legislation, which would remove the ability of district judges to issue national injunctions in the first place. Specifically, his proposal would limit injunctive relief to the geographical jurisdiction of the court, and to the standing of individual plaintiffs before that particular district court.

In other words, Brat’s proposal would clarify that district court decisions apply only to their geographic region, and only to the individuals or groups before that specific court.

Both of these proposals seek to claw back the policymaking role that courts have unjustifiably absorbed. These remedies are not only necessary, but also appropriate considering the district courts are a creation of Congress. Article III of the Constitution gives Congress express authority to “ordain and establish” the lower courts, which it did with the Evarts Act of 1891.

Congress created the appellate system to relieve some of the burden on the Supreme Court. They did not seek to create a competing policy body, or a body that has developed into what Sessions calls “super legislators”—unaccountable and unelected judges, creating policy for the nation. Congress can and should step in to check and modify the lower courts when they exceed their constitutional powers and violate the clear intent of their origin statute.

Notably, the Constitution also gives Congress the authority to remove judges from office for poor conduct—a remedy to judicial corruption or conduct that violates the Constitution, used only 15 times since 1803, most recently as 2010. It’s an extreme remedy, but one well within the rights of Congress to exercise against judges who fail to uphold their oath.

The problem of national injunctions, however, goes beyond the fact of judges’ ability to halt President Trump’s agenda. Rather, it strikes at the heart of who we are as a country.

Are we to be ruled by judicial supremacy, or are we instead a self-governing country with powers originating in the sovereignty of the people and then delegated to the appropriate branches for limited purposes? Are we ruled by the consideration of many minds, or the minds of judge-kings, who claim policy certainty and political authority for themselves?

Congress ignores this problem at its peril. As power continues to accumulate in the judiciary, our representative federalism is exchanged for a judicial dictatorship. This is no way to run a country, no matter who is president.

Photo credit:  Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Administrative State • Big Media • Deep State • Government Reform • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Post • The Left • The Media • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker)

The Very Nonpolitical Firing of Andrew McCabe

As if on cue, the Democratic Party’s kept media launched into spinning last week’s firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as a craven political move by the Trump Administration, and an assault on the “independence” of the Bureau as a whole.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. In fact, McCabe was fired on the recommendation of someone appointed by Robert Mueller, based on the investigation of a lifelong Democrat appointed by Barack Obama.

Candice Will, named by Mueller to head the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility in 2004, runs an office of career lawyers whose job it is to ensure Bureau employees abide by  FBI rules and regulations. Think of them as the office of internal experts about the FBI playbook. These people are the antithesis of partisans. Their track record is not usually one of recommending that people be fired, but rather disciplinary actions that are more on par, typically, with slaps on the wrist.

Lost amid the media-manufactured outrage is the fact that the OPR recommended Andrew McCabe be fired based on the initial findings of an investigation by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. President Trump recently expressed his dismay that Horowitz is an Obama appointee. Turns out, Horowitz’s internal investigation, and the OPR’s follow-up inquiry, are the whole basis for McCabe’s firing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions merely had to agree with the findings and recommendations of career FBI lawyers that McCabe should be terminated.

Knowing that, McCabe’s firing looks less like “assault on the FBI” and much more like an attempt by career personnel to protect and rehabilitate the Bureau’s image and integrity.

But if the “assault” metaphor is still appealing, maybe it’s better to say the OPR’s actions were an assault on the destructive behavior of senior FBI management in defense of the institution. You cannot have a deputy director displaying “lack of candor”—a polite way of saying “lying to investigators”—and not see that as damaging to the FBI’s upright culture. If the deputy director can lie to investigators with impunity about leaking to the press, it sets a dangerous precedent for the future of our nation’s top law-enforcement agency.

In fact, Andrew McCabe is a product of an environment fostered by former FBI Director James Comey. In Comey’s world, it was fine to tell the President-elect Donald Trump that he was not under investigation, while his agents—including, perhaps, McCabe—were leaking to reporters that an investigation was underway. In Comey’s world, you jumpstart an independent counsel investigation, not with evidence or through the processes set down by the Justice Department, but by sending hearsay memos to a buddy to leak to the press and helping spark public outrage that triggers an open-ended probe.

If only these men had shown the “courage” of their convictions under the previous administration. Perhaps the “Fast and Furious” investigation might have had a different outcome? Maybe the Bureau would have conducted a real review of the airport tarmac meeting between Comey’s boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and former President Bill Clinton? Maybe the American public would know more about the alleged bribery scandal involving  Russians attempting to infiltrate the U.S. uranium industry? Or perhaps Comey might have written memos about his discomfort over being pressured to re-write memoranda concerning Hillary Clinton’s illegal email server? Or perhaps Comey or McCabe might have gone to the FISA court to admit their efforts were based on political dirty tricks, not sound intelligence gathering?  

None of that occurred, of course, which is why Comey and McCabe sound so self-serving and a growing swath of the public now looks at the FBI with doubt and suspicion figuring that maybe, just maybe, the fix is in.

If the McCabe firing is any indication, the Justice Department inspector general’s report is likely to reveal an FBI  broken at the top, with senior leadership viewing themselves above the rules, rationalizing—through a warped sense of ethics—behavior that would lead to the firing and possible prosecution of any rank and file FBI agent.

Let’s hope the inspector general’s report also sheds more light on the behavior of the FBI’s senior lawyers like James Baker, who signed off on FISA applications that were based heavily on the Steele Dossier, a violation of the Woods Procedures and a deeply troubling precedent of using partisan propaganda to secure secret surveillance on an American citizen on U.S. soil.  

If we are to retain faith and trust in our institutions, especially those in charge of helping maintain law and order in this country, then Americans need to know the Justice Department and the FBI are, in fact, trustworthy. Knowing what we do about the behavior of McCabe, Comey, and their colleagues Peter Strozk and Lisa Page, honesty and ethics haven’t been a priority. Restoring the people’s trust is going to take a very long time.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Jeff Sessions • Obama • Post • Republicans • Russia • self-government • separation of powers • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Americans Deserve a Full Hearing on the Trump-Russia Hoax

The House Intelligence Committee closed its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, concluding there is “no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who led the committee’s probe, said his team interviewed 73 witnesses and reviewed more than 300,000 documents over the past 14 months.

But the media overlooked one damning nugget. The committee report disputes a key finding by President Obama’s intelligence team that Vladimir Putin and his regime “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” According to Conaway, trained analysts examined the underlying documents of the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (which remain classified) and he said “the piece about Putin’s purported preference for Trump, we think, is not supported by the evidence. We disagree with them.”

Then why did the Intelligence Community make that claim? “That [IC review] started in early December and was finished in January, coinciding with an attack on the Trump presidency throughout that timeframe, and seemed to underpin that narrative that somehow Putin had more effect on the election than he should have, and delegitimize the Trump presidency,” Conaway told Tucker Carlson on Fox News. “That was a part of that narrative.”

Translation: Days before Trump’s inauguration, known political operatives—FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper—released a report with the imprimatur of the world’s most powerful intelligence apparatus to bolster the pernicious plotline that Putin helped Trump win the election and was henceforth an illegitimate president.

Considering the shameful post-election conduct by top Obama officials, including Comey and Brennan, and the possibility that Clapper leaked information to the press after he briefed Trump on the IC report, is anyone surprised? How many rats do we have to smell before we fumigate the nest? When will Americans get clear answers, and when will people publicly be held accountable for their role in propagating this ruse?

It doesn’t look like anytime soon. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now considering a request by the House Judiciary Committee for a second special counsel to look into this mess, insisting the Justice Department is not “capable of investigating these fact patterns in a fashion likely to garner public confidence.” Sessions indicated he prefers allowing his department’s inspector general to take the lead. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday asked Sessions for a second special counsel to work with Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Pardon my French, but WTF?

Before time potentially runs out on a Republican-led Congress, GOP lawmakers must hold public hearings to expose how the Obama Administration hatched and executed the Trump-Russia election conspiracy, which the press then propagandized and weaponized. This needs to be done without delay. And it needs to happen whether or not Sessions names another special counsel.

Here’s why: For nearly two years, the nation has been consumed by what is quite possibly the biggest scam—and scandal—in American political history. The Trump-Russia hoax has monopolized news coverage, dominated the attention of the nation’s top lawmakers, and led to a costly, freewheeling investigation that is destroying people’s reputations and livelihoods without any proof yet that Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump were in cahoots before November 2016. Robert Mueller’s investigation has outraged and distracted an easily outraged and distractible president, prompted the resignations of key aides, and handcuffed the federal government’s top lawyer. He is now subpoenaing Trump’s business empire for documents related to Russia and “other topics,” the New York Times reports.

But the most odious purpose of continuing to peddle and “investigate” the Trump-Russia fantasy is to obfuscate the real scandal: Top officials in the Obama Administration collaborated with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and Democratic National Committee to torpedo Donald Trump’s candidacy and undermine his presidency after he won.

Thanks to investigations by the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, we know that the Obama Justice Department used a politically funded and preposterous “dossier” to win the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s approval to eavesdrop on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, just a few weeks before the election and without revealing the document was produced by the rival campaign.

The dossier was also used to plant news articles written by activist-journalists to sow public suspicion about the Trump campaign working with the Russians to influence the election’s outcome. (At least one article was then used as evidence on the FISA application for Page.) And it’s likely that the dossier and subsequent surveillance was used by Obama chiefs to justify the unmasking of Trump campaign aides in intelligence reports. Text messages between FBI officials have exposed serious political bias, and several Justice Department bigwigs have been outed for questionable political activity, media leaks, and ties to the firm that produced the dossier. Mueller’s team is compromised.

But despite all the evidence of malfeasance, Obama loyalists and apologists in the media—some who carry around mini figurines of the former president to demonstrate their fealty—have done little to demand answers about what happened.

Instead of chasing down Christopher Steele or Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson or Peter Strzok or Susan Rice, reporters are chasing down Florida grandmothers who attended Trump campaign rallies. With the exception of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and writers Andrew McCarthy and Sara Carter, very little in-depth coverage has been given to this scandal. Traditional news outlets have been complicit from the very beginning in raising the temperature of the Trump-Russia fever dream and continue to give the Obama administration cover, just like they did during the Benghazi terrorist scandal and IRS targeting scandal.

Congress should not allow it to happen again.

Perhaps the Senate should convene a select committee, but whatever the format is, it needs to happen fast. Democrats are hoping the clock runs out on the Republican majority in Congress; if that occurs, we’ll never get the truth about what happened at the Obama White House and Justice Department in the months before and after the November 2016 election.

The roster of potential witnesses is long. Here is my personal short-list:

  • Christopher Steele: The ex-British spy was the author of the dossier. Without his handiwork, there is no Trump-Russia chimera. Since it’s possible Steele was paid by the FBI—i.e., American tax dollars—and is now the subject of a criminal referral, he has some explaining to do. How did he collect the information contained in the dossier? What was his relationship with the FBI? What led to his termination as a source by the FBI? Was he paid by anyone associated with the Russian government?
  • Glenn Simpson: The Fusion GPS principal should explain publicly how he came in contact with the FBI, what his firm’s relationship was with the agency, and if he leveraged FBI contacts to pitch news stories to the media. Most important, Simpson should explain his connection to Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who famously met with Donald Trump, Jr. in June 2016. Simpson met with Veselnitskaya before and after her Trump Tower meeting. Why? Since this meeting is major grist for the Trump-Russia rumor mill and Trump, Jr. has been questioned about the brief encounter, it’s imperative that Simpson explain his role in possibly setting up the president’s son to meet with the Russian lawyer.
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz: This is where the story began: The alleged hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email system by Russian operatives. Yet Schultz, the DNC chief at the time, refused to turn over the server to the FBI for inspection. Why? Since mid-2016, the media and the anti-Trump mob have relied on a dubious report from a private cybersecurity company with ties to the same law firm that retained Fusion GPS.  Plenty of questions here.
  • James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper: This triumvirate should explain the specific intelligence that led them to conclude that Putin influenced the election in favor of Donald Trump. Also, they should justify why they purportedly “unmasked” Americans in classified reports and defend leaks of classified information to the media. The three also should be scolded harshly for their unprofessional and provocative politicking over the past year. It is inexcusable.
  • Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, James Baker: Answer everything. Defend the texts, the politicking, the leaking, the connection between Ohr, a top DOJ official, and his wife, a Fusion GPS employee. And tell us who at the top was giving the orders. (Attorney General Jeff Sessions is now considering a recommendation to fire McCabe based on an internal investigation.)
  • Carter Page: The target of the Obama administration’s secret spy mission should talk about how this has impacted his personal and professional life. Despite being surveilled for suspicious activity for a year, Carter is a free man, giving interviews and suing news organizations for defamation. Worst foreign agent ever.
  • Shailagh Murray: Murray was Obama’s senior communications advisor when all this went down. Murray’s husband, Neil King, worked with Glenn Simpson at the Wall Street Journal. After the election, King went to work for Fusion GPS. Was Murray the conduit between the White House, Fusion GPS and the media? How much of Fusion’s bidding in the press was Murray doing in the summer and fall of 2016?

I think that’s a good start.

Of course, there are plenty of other folks that Americans should hear from: Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and John Kerry. The FISC judges. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Perhaps the publishers of the Washington Post and the New York Times and owners of CNN to answer for their egregious, prodigious reporting on the Trump-Russia scheme, and how their coverage may have aided the attempted political annihilation of a sitting president and fueled one of the most destructive political environments in U.S. history.

Years from now, perhaps an enterprising researcher will develop a model to evaluate how much time and money was diverted away from serious issues to focus on what now appears to be a colossal hoax unrivaled in the annals of U.S. presidential campaigns. But for now, we are mired in a nonstop loop of leaks, accusations, tweets, indictments, opinion columns, and cable news tirades all serving as a collective life-support system to keep alive the anti-Trump mob’s singular hope of taking down the man it despises.

Americans are exhausted. We are angry. We deserve answers. So, Congress, get to work. And don’t screw it up.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo credit: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • GOPe • Government Reform • Identity Politics • Immigration • Intelligence Community • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Libertarians • Obama • Political Parties • political philosophy • Post • Progressivism • race • Republicans • self-government • statesmanship • Terrorism • The Courts • The Culture • the family • The Left • The Media • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Trump Enforces Immigration Law

Americans could view immigration policy three ways: Through the lens of a citizen, a client, or a consumer.

First, there is the small r-republican view of immigration through the lens of citizenship.

Second, there is the progressive view of immigration which passes through the lens of identity politics. What matters is not an individual’s citizenship or ability, but one’s race, ethnicity, and gender. In this framework, there are clients and there are service providers who manage the clients.  The overarching framework is the administrative state.

Thirdly, for some Cato Institute libertarians what matters in immigration policy is neither the citizen nor the client, but the consumer. For them, the rights of the transnational consumer in the global marketplace are superior to the right of free people to rule themselves by determining their own immigration policy.

Immigration enforcement by the Trump administration is an example of an attempt to restore republican government, small r. It is based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people. Thus, in immigration policy (including enforcement) Trump believes that we should put the interests of Americans first, before the interests of foreign citizens.

These core principles of sovereignty, consent, and putting the interests of Americans first are directly challenged by two forces in America today: progressives and some libertarians.

On the transnational progressive Left, Nancy Pelosi makes a clear case for open borders. “We are all Americans—north and south in this hemisphere….This is a community with a border running through it.” So much for the concept of American citizenship

But is this much different from Libertarian Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute? He declares:

America’ core founding principle is the Enlightenment theory of natural rights….Freedom of movement is indispensable to the full use of those rights. To restrict an immigrant’s ability to move to the United States not only infringes upon his natural rights but also upon the natural rights of Americans who want to hire the immigrant…

Thomas G. West in The Political Theory of the American Founding explains that the Cato approach violates the core principle of government by consent of the governed. West states: “Since citizenship is the effect of a compact, there is no right to immigrate unless there is consent on both sides.” In other words, illegal immigrants are here without the consent of the people.

Let us now examine immigration enforcement by the Trump administration, which is a classic example of how small r republican government is supposed to work. What we see is the unitary executive in action, properly understood, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Tom Holman, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, chief of staff John Kelly, and the president all on the same page regarding immigration enforcement.

To begin with, Trump’s first year saw an increase by 25 percent in interior enforcement which had plunged to a ten year low in Obama’s last year.

Under new leadership, ICE is going into sanctuary jurisdictions. Acting Director Holman said “If he [Jerry Brown] thinks ICE is going away we are not… “as matter of fact we are going to increase our enforcement presence in California.” In December and January ICE conducted raids in California, New York, Chicago, and New Jersey arresting criminal aliens, In New Jersey, 80 percent of these illegal immigrants had prior felony convictions. These crimes included: sexual assault, kidnapping, the production and distribution of cocaine, theft, and child pornography.

Some argue sanctuary policies are needed so that illegal (and legal) immigrants will not be afraid to report crimes. This myth has no basis in reality. A 2009 analysis by the University of Virginia and the Police Executive Research Forum found no decline in crime reporting after the implementation of a tough enforcement program.

Take the example of Prince George’s County in Maryland which has been a sanctuary county since October 2014. Since that time, as the Washington Post has reported, “people live in fear” because of MS-13.  Gang control over local businesses is “enforced daily through extortion and intimidation.”

The rebirth of a once defunct MS-13 in the United States was fueled by fresh recruits from a massive wave of almost 200,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America. This wave was facilitated by the Obama Administration and gave asylum to boys, 16, 17, and older (they did not insist on any reliable proof of age) and placed them with illegal immigrant relatives where they were often recruited by MS-13.

The Trump administration has cracked down on MS-13. ICE conducted Operation Raging Bull from September to November 2017 and arrested hundreds of MS-13 gang members in “secessionist,” excuse me, I mean “sanctuary jurisdictions.” Their crimes include murder, kidnapping, sex-trafficking, drug-trafficking, assassinations, extortion, and blackmail.

Under Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department has demanded documents and threatened subpoenas for 23 sanctuary jurisdictions under the 1996 immigration law. Justice has threatened to recoup funds previously delivered and cut off future grant money to 23 jurisdictions which include: Chicago, Cook Co, NYC, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Louisville, KY, Jackson, MS, and the states of California, Illinois, and Oregon.

The Department of Justice under Sessions is re-examining the policy of “Administrative Closure” which many considered a “back-door” amnesty by the Obama administration.

There are 350, 000 cases that have been closed “administratively,” simply at the discretion of the federal government. To be clear, these are illegal aliens that could be subject to deportation for various offenses. In addition, the regular backlog now stands at around 658, 000 cases. Put the two together and there are at least a million possible problematic cases of aliens living in the United States. Attorney General Sessions is reviewing this whole process to examine categories that might be re-opened as well as adding DOJ judges to speed these cases along.

Next, there is the matter of the K-1 fiancé visa. Let us examine this category of vetting concerning who is permitted to enter the United States. The woman involved in the mass murder terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California was admitted to America under the K-1 fiancé visa

There are two steps to the K-1 visa. The first step is a petition by the U.S. citizen to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request permission to enter the United States for his or her fiancé. This step is supposed to involve a face to face interview with an official of USCIS, but this interview was often skipped during the Obama administration.

During Obama’s last year in office, 90.5 percent of these petitions were approved. During the first year of President Trump, with more serious vetting, the approval rate fell to 66.2 percent. Step two is the interview of the alien fiancé by a U.S. State Department consular official overseas. This step was 99 percent approved under Obama. Under Trump, the denial rate increased by 20 percent. In other words, there has been a lot of fraud and poor vetting in the K-1 visa process which is now being cleaned up by the Trump administration.

Finally, there is VOICE, the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement” office.  This is an office created by an executive order of the president to assist victims of illegal immigrant crime. Some “conservatives” wrote in National Review that VOICE “would serve no good purpose.” Actually, the office serves several good purposes.

The creation of VOICE is a challenge to the sanctuary jurisdictions that protect criminal aliens and then release them into the general population, where they are free to commit even more crimes against Americans. Like, for example, Kate Steinle’s murderer in San Francisco who had illegally entered the United States six times, had been deported five times and had served over a year in various prisons for numerous felony convictions.

We need to delegitimize the entire sanctuary movement. The “center of gravity,” in this political war over immigration enforcement is the occupation of the moral high ground or the grand narrative, that explains the immigration story to the public. The creation of VOICE is one instrument among others, that should be used to seize the offensive in fighting for an immigration policy that serves, first and foremost, the American people.

It is important to note that almost all of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement measures have been fought tooth and nail by progressives, by some libertarians and “conservatives,” and by elements of the administrative state, particularly an increasingly lawless judiciary. Never doubt for a moment that on this issue progressives and many libertarians are allies and that both of them are major adversaries of immigration law enforcement and, thus, of democratic sovereignty.

Note. This article is based on a talk presented at a Claremont Institute-Heritage Foundation panel on February 22 on “Trump, Executive Power, and the Bully Pulpit.” The information discussed is based on the work of Andrew Arthur, Jessica Vaughan, Dan Cadman, Preston Huennekens, and David North at the Center for Immigration Studies.

America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Big Media • civic culture/friendship • Congress • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Donald Trump • Europe • feminists • History • Identity Politics • Jeff Sessions • Obama • political philosophy • Post • Progressivism • race • The Culture • The Left • The Media • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House • Uncategorized

Our Anglo-American Heritage Can’t Be Wished Away by the Left

As a history professor and long-time instructor in “Western Civilization” classes, I was dumbfounded by recent leftist attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions, at a meeting of U.S. sheriffs, innocuously observed that these highly respected police officials are part of our country’s democratic and “Anglo-American” legal and law enforcement heritage. The term “Anglo-American” stuck in Left’s collective craw, symbolizing (as they see it) the fact that U.S. laws and law enforcement are made of, by, and for (you guessed it) white people. This interpretation of Sessions’ remarks is not only grossly unfair—it also ignores the very real “Anglo-American” basis for our laws, constitution, and democracy.

Americans should understand that our legal system is founded on the British “common law” tradition, which distinguishes the legal environment in Britain and its former colonies, including the United States, from that in almost every other part of the world. “Anglo-American” common law bases ideas of justice on precedents established in previous judicial rulings. Because of this, many of the assumptions of the American legal system actually predate America itself and hearken back to ideas of justice in medieval and early modern England.

Many of our most important legal and constitutional principles—from presuming a person innocent until proven guilty, to allowing people to speak their minds freely, to consulting the people in matters of government—are traceable to the British political tradition, which nurtured the growth of similar sentiments in the 13 Colonies. Our Founding Fathers were under no illusions about the debt we owed to the British. Indeed, they borrowed freely from British political and legal traditions, and consciously copied the ideas and sometimes the language of men like the English political philosopher John Locke. And this is not even to go into the benefits that accrue from our use of the wonderful English language itself, which binds our country together, and the world-historical importance of the fabled Anglo-American “special relationship,” which won two World Wars, plus the Cold War.

Moreover, when Jeff Sessions observed that the American institution of “sheriff” is an outgrowth of our “Anglo-American heritage,” he was likewise merely stating an obvious truth. Sheriffs were appointed by England’s Kings in the Middle Ages to administer justice at the county level. As Sessions pointed out, our innovation in the United States was to make sheriffs elected officials, so as to maximize their representative character and to make them servants of the people rather than agents of royal authority. Simply put, we would not have sheriffs in America were it not for our Anglo-American heritage. This is precisely why, outside of areas once ruled by the British Empire, sheriffs do not exist.

Why do liberals consider Sessions’ remark “racist”? Perhaps it is because they do not bother to distinguish between the meaning of the term “Anglo-American” in a legal or historical context, and the meaning of “Anglo” in the cultural context of the American southwest, where the word refers to a white person from a non-Hispanic background. If this is the case, liberals should consider that the New York Times Magazine published an article in November 2016 lamenting the decline of an “Anglo-American order” in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.

The New York Times, of course, was not condemned as racist. Why? Because there was nothing racist about its position! The Times was merely trying to blame then President-Elect Trump for an anticipated decline in center-left bonhomie between Britain and the United States. Likewise, President Obama used the phrase “Anglo-American” in a legal context on several occasions, and he was never accused of racism. “Anglo”, therefore, does not always refer to “white people,” and, even if it did, acknowledging the powerful historical role played by white people in history is not “racist”. It is, once again, merely stating the obvious.

The other reason why leftists may be offended by the term “Anglo-American” is because it reminds them that this is a country that was largely founded by immigrants from Europe—the dreaded “white people” of which we spoke earlier. Moreover, there is an argument to be made, and I make it in my classes often, that this is still a nation that is part of “Western Civilization,” and the legacy that this civilization has bestowed on us is overwhelmingly positive. The fact that we are free to criticize our elected leaders, that we have elections in the first place, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law, that we live in the freest, most prosperous society that has ever existed—all of this is down to the political and social principles that Europeans, mainly Englishmen, bequeathed to us.

Ironically, it is the (largely British) freedoms that we enjoy today that empower liberals to inveigh against the very civilization that birthed modern democracy as well as the competing ideals of Marxism, feminism, and “social justice,” among others. It would make more sense for liberals to acknowledge these contributions than to spurn them, since liberalism itself would make no sense outside of its clearly Western context.

Make no mistake, therefore: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ words, which honored our country’s “Anglo-American heritage,” were no more racist than the words of the Declaration of Independence. The real racists, I would argue, are those who are so pathologically anti-white that they impute racial animus (even “white supremacy”) to every phrase, no matter how harmless and no matter how true, that escapes the lips of a Republican. Such race-baiting nonsense ought to have no place in our political discourse.

Furthermore, we should embrace rather than reject our heritage as a Western people. The West has achieved spectacular advances in every field of human endeavor, and is especially notable for advancing the cause of human freedom and dignity. That is a tradition of which we all should be proud.

America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • Jeff Sessions • Post • Republicans • The Constitution • The Courts • the Presidency • The Resistance (Snicker)

DACA, Taco Tuesday, and the Lessons of “Glengarry, Glen Ross”

The very least we should expect from one of the two major political parties is a minimal pretense of upholding the laws of the United States. After all, that is what our elected representatives and judges swear to do when they take office. And yet, as things stand now, this isn’t a sure bet. As President Trump attempts to reassert American national sovereignty through the simple expedient of enforcing current immigration laws, the Democratic Party has decided to thwart him at every turn, primarily via its control of the lesser federal judiciary. It’s a move they’ll come to regret.

Take for example, the recent ruling by two federal judges that Trump has no right to countermand an executive order issued by his predecessor regarding the lifelong illegal aliens and non-American citizens the Left has touchingly decided to sentimentalize as “Dreamers.” These foreign-born illegal-alien children of illegal-alien parents were brought to this country at some point in their minority and, while many of them are long since old enough to have joined the Army (and thus have the legal path to citizenship they claim to want), are still referred to as “children,” in the same way that the European media calls “children” the bearded Muslims in Sweden who swear they were only 12 when they gang-raped a native schoolgirl.

The first “order”—as if a federal judge, whose entire job both in its creation and in its continuance, is dependent on Congress’s power under Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, has any authority to interfere with the proper functioning of the executive branch—blocked the president from ending the “DACA” program, which had been conjured into existence via Barack Obama’s pen and phone back in the founding prehistory of 2012. The second order, issued just the other day, took issue with Trump’s reasoning and motive behind his executively ordered end to the executively ordered program; “arbitrary and capricious,” opined the solon regarding Attorney General Jeff Session’s defense of the order.

The administration’s proper response to this latest judicial power grab should be to echo Andrew Jackson’s possibly apocryphal but apposite retort to the chief justice back in 1832: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” (Although I prefer Alec Baldwin’s rejoinder to Ed Harris in “Glengarry, Glen Ross.) Like the Muslim “travel ban,” which was held up by a couple of activist federal judges before the Supreme Court allowed it to stand, the end of DACA will eventually be upheld; the administration has fast-tracked its appeal of these delaying tactics to the court, bypassing the Ninth Circuit and barreling straight to the only federal court specifically established by the Constitution.

The Democrats and their “resistance” allies on the poetaster Right keep complaining that we are headed for a constitutional crisis with Trump in office, and in fact they are more correct than they understand. It’s not Trump, however, who’s precipitating the crisis but the Democrats themselves, who have seemingly modified their old motto—“dissent is the highest form of patriotism”—into something even more extreme: sedition as true love of country.

Consider the weakness of their case, which is based entirely on sentiment and linguistic obfuscation. First, the “Dreamers” are de facto criminals, and in no legal sense “Americans.” True, it was their parents who were guilty of the initial crime, but just because you were an accomplice without agency in a bank robbery doesn’t mean you get to keep the money or take up permanent residence in the bank.

As to the complaint that shipping DACA recipients back to their legal countries of origin would somehow be “separating families,” this is nonsense. It was the parents who voluntarily separated themselves from their families by coming here in the first place, and a repatriation of the DACA “children” is simply the delayed consequence of that “act of love.” This is also a point that speaks to the current defense of chain migration, whose partisans complain that by ending preferred-entry treatment for parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and third cousins once removed, the president is somehow “separating families.”

But—as all previous generations of legal immigrants understood—the very act of leaving your own land coming and to America meant that you were voluntarily separating yourself from your family, with little to no expectation of ever seeing them again. When my own immigrant great-grandmother, Mary O’Brien, left the County Clare for Boston around 1880, her family held, as Irish families back then did, a farewell party for her: they called it an “American wake,” because henceforth she would be as good as dead to them. Her brief return visit to Ireland in 1932 with her eldest daughter was a surprise; my acquisition of her birthplace and its rebuilding half a century later was practically unheard of. And today I have an Irish son-in-law and an Irish granddaughter. Full circle—which ought to be one of the models of American immigration policy, so as not to permanently rob poor countries of their best and brightest—has been achieved. Sending the children of Mexicans back to Mexico might just be the best thing for them—and for Mexico, which can use all the help it can get.

The Third Amendment to the Constitution reads: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.” A clever lawyer, such as exists in profusion on the Left, could easily make the argument that the United States is the house, and that the owners, the American people, are being unlawfully forced to provide shelter to the illegal aliens—a stunningly high percentage of whom are criminals and thus could be viewed as enemy combatants in a war on the nation as founded. Hey, creative lawyering worked with Roe v. Wade, didn’t it?

So don’t fall for the sob stories; the whole point of our statue of justice is that she is blindfolded, so as not to be swayed by extra-legal emotions as sorrow and pity, in her weighing of the evidentiary scales. This is, as Jeff Sessions might say, not only a core principle of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, but goes back all the way to the ancient Greeks.

President Trump will win this battle, as he has won all previous skirmishes with #TheResistance. Further, he’s already made his last, best, and final offer to the Democrats, which also happens to have been his first offer. That was designed to flush out the Democrats’ crocodile-tear compassion and reveal it for what it really is: a full-throated defense of criminality disguised as the moral high ground, and designed to boost their political power at the expense of the nation-as-founded. Why, it’s positively satanic.

We owe the president a debt of gratitude for forcing the seditionists to show us who they really are. Now all real patriots have to do is act on that realization. By putting a permanent stake through DACA—comically but fittingly rescinded by executive order on a Taco Tuesday—America will show the rest of the world that the defense of our national sovereignty is not a dream, but their worst nightmare.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

America • American Conservatism • Americanism • California • Department of Homeland Security • Europe • Foreign Policy • Germany • Government Reform • History • Immigration • Intelligence Community • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Middle East • military • Obama • Post • race • Republicans • Russia • self-government • separation of powers • Terrorism • The Courts • The Culture • the Presidency • Trump White House

ICE Troubles With Terrorism

An audit by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is facing a variety of challenges, particularly with implementing the Known or Suspected Terrorist Encounter Protocol (KSTEP). KSTEP allows a myriad of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to coordinate and streamline the “protocol for identifying and processing aliens who are known or suspected terrorists.”

ICE can only screen immigrants while they are in custody. As of June 2017, just 33,701 of 2.4 million—about 1.4 percent—of all immigrants actively monitored by ICE and Immigration Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) were subject to KSTEP screening for connections to known or suspected terrorists. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that “some law enforcement agencies will not honor ICE immigration detainer requests,” thereby preventing ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) from taking custody of criminal aliens for KSTEP screening.

From January 2014 through May 2017, approximately 675 jurisdictions nationwide refused to honor more than 29,269 ICE immigration detainer requests. When a state or local law enforcement agency declines to transfer custody of a removable criminal alien to ICE, the released alien may put the public and ERO personnel at risk and it then requires significantly more resources to bring the individual into ICE custody.

California denied 11 ICE detainer requests, the majority for immigrants convicted of violent crimes, between January and February 2017, taking the cake for most detainer requests declined, 3,348, between 2015 and 2017. So-called “Sanctuary Cities,” having been specifically designed to limit or prohibit immigration authorities, were the worst offenders.

The DHS audit found that in a sampling of 40 case files of detained immigrants identified as known or suspected terrorists, “all had at least one instance of noncompliance with KSTEP policy.” Noncompliance with KSTEP included failures inappropriate application of background checks or outright failure to utilize them, inadequately confirming or denying aliens as known or suspected terrorists, and failure to appropriately document and report “aliens confirmed as known or suspected terrorists.”

While still a senator, current Attorney General Jeff Sessions repeatedly warned former President Obama of critical weaknesses in United States interior security. On at least three occasions, the Obama administration refused “to provide details on the immigration histories of terrorists convicted in the United States.” In a letter obtained by Fox News, Senators Sessions and Ted Cruz implored Obama to cooperate with immigration authorities. Sessions said:

[T]hese data make clear that the United States not only lacks the ability to properly screen individuals prior to their arrival but also that our nation has an unprecedented assimilation problem.

Sessions’ Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest revealed that between September 2001 and December 2014, 580 people were convicted of terrorism in the United States—the vast majority of which were foreign-born. Between 2009 and 2014, the United States rewarded green cards to approximately 832,000 individuals from Muslim-majority countries, including 3,887 Syrian refugees in 2016—of whom only 23 were not Muslim—to say nothing of persecuted Syrian Christians in dire need of aid.

Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are all experiencing the same security concerns as the United States over the growing problem of domestic terrorism. Despite the objections of organizations dependant on identity politics for their existence, like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, national security concerns are not rooted in bigotry. Such objections are supported by stories like that of the New York City woman who claimed men on a subway train shouted “Trump,” “terrorist,” and “Go back to your country” at her. The only problem is that her story, like so many of its kind, turned out to be a hoax, Fox News Insider reported:

Further investigation brought authorities to the conclusion that Yasmin Seweid fabricated the encounter and they subsequently charged her with filing a false report and obstructing government administration.

Yasmin Seweid admitted she made up the story because she did not want to be in trouble with her family for staying out late, Abby Huntsman reported.

The Trump administration has its work cut out for it but appears to be on the right track by acknowledging national security concerns and taking steps to address them.

2016 Election • Administrative State • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Government Reform • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Post • separation of powers • The Constitution • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

J’Recuse! The Attorney General Who Wasn’t There

When Donald Trump chose Jeff Sessions as his attorney general, it was to reward the senior U.S. Senator from Alabama for his long-standing loyalty and to help ensure the new president would have a reliable ally in the Justice Department to advance his immigration reform and drug policy agenda. Trump could not have known how useless Sessions would be.

Had Sessions never recused himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into potential Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the political situation in the country would be far more stable than it is today. More important, President Trump would have been able to get more done, rather than being distracted by these baseless claims.

But thanks to a scandal fabricated by the “permanent bipartisan fusion party” in Washington, D.C., Sessions chose to recuse himself from any potential investigations into alleged campaign collusion with Russia, thereby unleashing the forces of discord now eating away the foundations of our democratic institutions.

Simply put: #TheResistance in Washington set Sessions up. Trump’s enemies knew Sessions had two brief meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States in 2016. When Senate Democrats asked Sessions about his contacts with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing, Sessions denied having contacts with Russians during the campaign (he did not have contacts with them; he bumped into the ambassador a couple of times, including once at a public event at the Heritage Foundation). Alas, Sessions fell into the trap. Rather than remove himself from consideration for the attorney generalship, Sessions promised to recuse himself from any investigation involving the Russians and the presidential election.

Once Sessions recused himself, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein became the head of the witch hunt . . . err, investigation into alleged ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. Here’s how Newsweek described Rosenstein last year when President Trump  inexplicably nominated him for the number-two post at Justice:

Rosenstein, 52, is a longtime prosecutor who served under Republican and Democratic presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and is expected to be confirmed, as he neither identifies strongly with conservative politics nor has any particular affinity for the interests of the people surrounding the Trump organization [emphasis added].

Rosenstein called his former colleague, Robert Mueller, to act as “special counsel” in the probe. (Rosenstein and Mueller worked together during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.) This year-long investigation has produced no discernible proof of collusion. Not that absence of evidence would stop Mueller. His investigation has spread beyond the president and his inner circle during the 2016 campaign to include three decade’s worth of the Trump Organization’s business and financial transactions.

Someone has to step in and stop this extra-constitutional witch hunt!

It doesn’t matter how effective Sessions has been in reining in illegal immigration or enforcing national drug policies. Sessions abdicated his basic responsibilities as attorney general from day one; he is America’s first non-attorney-general-attorney-general!

What’s more, Sessions has left his boss exposed to vicious partisans pretending to be objective civil servants. Rosenstein and Mueller are not objective. These two men, like most of the Washington establishment, are seeking any means of deposing the president because Trump—and his voters—threaten their power. The fact that Mueller has moved the investigation beyond the claims of Russian meddling in 2016 and has decided to revisit the 1980s and ’90s gives the establishment’s game away.

Trump no doubt had some questionable business interactions during his 40-year career in New York City real estate. So? The point isn’t to unearth some old, corrupt deal so much as to get the president to lie under oath. That would give Congress all the reason it needs to begin impeachment proceedings. Remember, impeachment is a political and not a legal process. All one needs is to show some sort of presidential misdeed—coupled with the right amount of votes—to begin impeachment. And the Democrats might get enough votes after 2018 (and the congressional Republicans will happily move against Trump as well).

Mueller needs to go. The special counsel has already overstepped his bounds. Rosenstein needs to go with him. The president might want to rethink his support of Jeff “Recuse” Sessions, too.

Next, Trump should order investigations into Hillary Clinton’s scandalous behavior as well as the former Obama Administration’s misuse of FISA warrants to spy on the Trump team. If Sessions recuses himself from these investigations—or refuses to start these investigations entirely—then Trump should start looking for a new attorney general.

Enough playing footsie with swamp creatures. They are using bureaucratic chicanery to overturn the will of the American people. Trump had better fight back, or he’s going to lose everything.

America • American Conservatism • Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Government Reform • Immigration • Jeff Sessions • Law and Order • Political Parties • political philosophy • Post • race • Republicans • self-government • the Presidency • Trump White House

Trump’s DACA Moves Are Paying Off

A March 5 deadline to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may send 800,000 illegal immigrants packing, to the great consternation of Democrats and more than a few Republicans. But it’s also possible these so-called Dreamers may stay—if they can meet certain conditions the Trump Administration is hashing out with Congress. Whatever happens, President Trump wins. Here’s why.

Last year saw a sharp rise in immigration law enforcement and significant declines illegal border crossings, even in the absence of immigration reform, “comprehensive” or otherwise. Illegal crossings over the southern border plummeted by more than 70 percent, while deportations increased by 34 percent. In addition, thanks to the president’s travel ban, refugee admissions all but disappeared after an 87 percent drop.

President Trump did make two important decisions, however. First, he rescinded the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Second, he delayed rescinding DACA, giving Congress six months to legislate a fix. And here we are.

Securing America’s Future Act
Democrats want nothing more than to save these 800,000 illegal immigrants (very few of whom are actually children) from deportation. The president and a solid bloc of his party in Congress could see letting them stay in exchange for much tougher border enforcement, including The Wall. The White House on January 9 in effect opened the first round of negotiations to the public; the press filmed the hour-long meeting and anyone could tune in to watch the two parties air their major concerns.  

That meeting bore fruit with pleasantly surprising immediacy. The Securing America’s Future Act (SAFA), introduced January 10 by U.S. Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Mike McCaul (R-Texas), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), provides temporary protections for DACA recipients in exchange for a rather extensive list of immigration restrictions.

The bill would give DACA recipients three-year renewable work visas but would bar them from future citizenship. In exchange, the bill would implement President Trump’s three major goals for immigration reform: $30 billion for The Wall, elimination of chain migration (which would cut legal immigration by some 260,000 a year), and ending the visa lottery system.

In addition, SAFA would make the national E-Verify system mandatory for employers. The idea is to keep illegal immigrants out of U.S. businesses and raise average wages of American workers.

The bill also includes the provisions of Kate’s Law intended to crack down on “sanctuary cities” by withholding federal funds, while also leveling stricter penalties on previously deported illegals who attempt to return. Lastly, the bill would also end the practice of “catch and release.” The Daily Caller described the bill as “an immigration hawk’s wish list,” and it has Trump’s endorsement along with broad support from congressional Republicans.

Naturally, Democrats hate the bill, which may be one reason why U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) leaked the president’s alleged comments about certain countries. Instead of negotiating in good faith, Democrats have decided to shut down the government and tar Trump as a racist (again).  

What the March 5 Deadline Means
A government shutdown over protecting illegal immigrants may look like a setback. In reality, the immigration fight is unfolding more or less as Trump wanted it to.

Think back to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement on September 5 that the DACA program would have six months to live. Current DACA beneficiaries would have to re-register to receive temporary protections before the program ends.

What happened? Instead of a stampede of people renewing their registration, many have not—leading to tens of thousands losing their protection and facing deportation. In September, there were about 790,000 total DACA recipients; now there are only about 670,000. The fewer DACA recipients, the better.

The six-month delay also spurred negotiation—just as Trump said it would. Had Sessions announced an immediate end to DACA in September, Democrats would have tripled their rhetoric of “resistance.” Instead, there they were at the White House on January 9. With DACA potentially salvageable, Democrats and Republicans came together (briefly) in a move that earned President Trump widespread praise in the media.

At the same time, the March 5 deadline puts all the pressure on the Democrats. Unlike the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was a big legislative win for the GOP, Republicans have no special political urgency to do anything about DACA; that burden is 100 percent on the Democrats, whose hard Left base wants those Dreamers legalized.

Democrats stand to lose if DACA ends—and in a midterm election year no less. They know it, and Trump knows it. The president has said so explicitly in a handful of tweets, chastising the Democrats for the recent stonewalling and sarcastically expressing faux sorrow for the fact that they’re the ones letting any potential deal expire.

As the March 5 deadline draws closer, the Democrats’ hardline stance will waver as they become desperate for a deal. And with DACA done early in the year, Congress should have ample time to tackle other key issues of the Trump agenda (such as infrastructure) before the November elections.

Americans Want Immigration Enforcement

Even if the federal government shuts down over DACA, the Democrats may not get the victory they seek. In many respects, Trump and Republicans retain the upper hand.

Not too long ago, Democrats in both houses of Congress were vowing to shut down the government before Christmas if the spending bill did not address DACA. How did that work out? The Democrats blinked, and they have been blinking ever since DACA’s inception with the failed “DREAM Act.” As author Thomas Wictor has pointed out numerous times on Twitter, the Democrats’ opening negotiation bid was the DREAM Act, which would have given amnesty to millions of illegal alien college students. But that bill has never passed and likely never will.

As sympathetic as “Dreamers” may be, public opinion remains clear on this point: Americans support strong immigration enforcement. Recent polls by NumbersUSA and Pulse Opinion Research show, for example, that immigration reform with serious border security is wildly popular not only in red states held by Democrats (Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Montana) but also among working-class voters in the Rust Belt states Trump carried in 2016 (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan), along with voters across the spectrum in swing states like Ohio and Florida. Just remember this: when the House passed Kate’s Law in June, the bill garnered the support of 24 Democrats in addition to all but one Republican.

Negotiations are far from over, of course, and much may change in the House bill—to say nothing of the possibility that the Senate may offer a bill of its own. But with SAFA and its hawkish “wish list” as the starting point for Trump and the Republicans, the message is clear: no reform of our broken immigration system is possible without rock-solid security that puts American citizens’ interests over those of foreigners. Trump will demand as many changes as possible in exchange for some minimal codification of the already-diminishing DACA program.

This bill should give all Americans hope for the future of our immigration system, regardless of the doomsday predictions from more radical members of Trump’s base.

Trump and his immigration policy plan march on.

Americanism • Cultural Marxism • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • Jeff Sessions • Political Parties • self-government • The Constitution • The Left • Trump White House

Trump Can and Should Troll the Media on Sanctuary Cities

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a valiant speech this past week in Nogales, Arizona affirming that the U.S. border should actually be a border, the New York Times was up to its usual hectoring, again dwelling on the issue of sanctuary cities:

Mr. Sessions and the homeland security secretary, John Kelly, have attacked cities and states that decline to participate in the crackdown. Mr. Sessions has threatened these “sanctuary” locales with loss of criminal-justice funding, on the false assertion that they are defying the law. (In fact, “sanctuary” cities are upholding law and order. They recognize that enlisting state and local law enforcement for deportation undermines community trust, local policing and public safety.)

Allow the full implication of these words to sink in: refusing to deport criminals hinders public safety. Not only that, the editors flat out deny that sanctuary cities are “defying the law” by not turning over criminals. At risk of mind-numbing tautology, let’s state the obvious: national immigration law, by definition, stipulates that someone in the country illegally is breaking the law. I’ve been checking Politifact to see if they will correct the New York Times on this point of not recognizing breaking the law as, well, breaking the law, but bewilderingly the fact checkers have refrained. Politifact? Hello…?

The Times also neglected to quote Sessions’ most basic statement of principle on why anyone might get upset about a nation having borders and enforcing them:

It is just beyond my comprehension how we drifted so far away from the common sense notion that sovereign nations have borders and those borders should be honored … Any country that has common sense, and almost all do, has laws that if you commit a crime while you’re in the country, lawfully or unlawfully, you are to be deported.

The editorial board left these lines out because they may recognize that the common sense of them might interfere with their ability to promote their ultimate desire which, I suspect, is “a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”

That’s perhaps misleading. Why stop at this hemisphere?

Trump should troll them as only he can, which will likely elicit Olympic-level gymnastics of equivocation from the Times’ editorial board, among others. And then, when the editors smugly conclude that by an extremely technical definition they were correct—not to mention morally superior—Trump can smirk as he has drawn attention to how far left they are, and how convoluted their reasoning is.

Lurking here is an implicit assumption that most Times readers will not bother to read opposing views on the topic. If that’s true, then it is likely most Times readers aren’t aware of the polling numbers on sanctuary cities and they may not recognize the Times’s stance for what it is: a far-left position.

A recent poll posed the question, “Should cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes be required to turn them over to immigration authorities?” Eighty percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. Lest you doubt the provenance of the data, nothing less than the aforementioned universal arbiter Politifact determined that the sources were “real,” “legitimate,” and “venerable”—though they couldn’t resist quibbling with the term “sanctuary city,” and suggested that the wording actually encouraged respondents to say “Yes.”

Although the Times is not enormously keen on going too deep into the nuances of sanctuary cities, I will respect a certain journalistic duty here: there are situations where immediate deportation may hinder a criminal investigation, if witnesses are frightened of deportation and so fail to provide their testimony. And yes, people feel differently when it comes to truly minor crimes from how they do in cases pertaining to rape or murder. Perhaps city authorities can announce an exemption for witness situations, or strike a bargain with Sessions on this front?

Politifact also cites “experts” to lead the reader to conclude that sanctuary cities are really about protecting the immigration status of non-threatening individuals. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recently released a report that lists all declined detainers between February 4-10, 2017, along with a lengthy and annotated list of all noncompliant jurisdictions in the country, explaining whether there are specific circumstances where the local authorities would make exceptions, or, in many cases, if these authorities have indicated they will do as they please. New York City, listed in the latter category, was served 73 detainers and declined 12, with 10 of these individuals charged or convicted of assault, including sexual assault. The report notes this figure probably underestimates the actual number of detainers that will be declined. At this rate, New York City will have refused to cooperate with over 600 requests in 2017.

On the West Coast, not to be outdone, California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León used the first day of the new legislative session to introduce a new sanctuary state bill, also known as “The California Values Act.” Simultaneously, anger has broken out in Los Angeles over an exclusion of violent criminals from a $10 million fund to provide lawyers to those in the country illegally, with attorney Carmen Iguina of the ACLU remarking that “we shouldn’t be saying that there are good and bad immigrants.”

This remark alone deserves a Trump tweet, and it’s hard to know where to start in highlighting all the others instances of extreme immigration positions justified by mainstream figures and outlets. Still, it is vital for Team Trump to keep garnering easy wins in front of the public, and to make the “newspaper of record” look like a battalion of petulant-child intellectuals—along with renegade mayors and increasingly outlandish activist organizations.

The most visible sanctuary cities—the ones with the most outspoken mayors defending these policies, such as New York—are also often the elite international cities that average Americans view as out of touch and uninterested in their concerns. Drawing attention here would underline for American voters just how these cities feel about citizens of their own country. Furthermore, it would show where the Times priorities really are, and how selective the leading newspapers can be about presenting certain victims over others.

Trump should troll them as only he can, which will likely elicit Olympic-level gymnastics of equivocation from the Times’ editorial board, among others. And then, when the editors smugly conclude that by an extremely technical definition they were correct—not to mention morally superior—Trump can smirk as he has drawn attention to how far left they are, and how convoluted their reasoning is.

But Trump’s smiles upon “winning” here will fade as he remembers all the irreparably broken hearts he encountered on the campaign trail, those of families wounded by sanctuary city policies. The fact that Kate Steinle’s killer was deported five times and still managed to find his way back to San Francisco—a “sanctuary” for him but certainly not one for her—was an atrocity that enabled Americans to see precisely how perverse American immigration standards and enforcement had become. This is a truth we need to keep hammering home.


2016 Election • Administrative State • America • American Conservatism • Big Media • Conservatives • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • GOPe • Greatness Agenda • Jeff Sessions • Political Parties • Section 1 • Section 2 • self-government • Steve Bannon • The Left • The Leviathian State • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House

Foolish to Choose Morning Joe Crowd Over Bannon and Voters

The empire always strikes back. And permanent Washington wants to retake the power and prestige it lost at the hands of Donald Trump over the past 18 months. The bipartisan media monopoly closed ranks in opposition to Trump and he won anyway. Desperate and discredited the same forces that opposed Trump before the election doubled down after he won.

Look at the desperate measures deployed against President Trump. There was no honeymoon period, no benefit of the doubt, no coming together—even if only temporarily—for the good of the country. There has been nothing but total war. From day one it’s been a take no prisoners, burn the boats, salt the earth, destroy the president by any means necessary, all out war on the Trump Administration.

And now  Morning Joe, a reliable mouthpiece for the self-interested D.C. uber alles crowd, has decided they want another scalp. Realizing that sidelining a Mike Flynn, a KT McFarland, or an Andy Puzder isn’t nearly enough, but encouraged by their ability to draw blood, they’re hunting bigger game. This time they have set their sites on Steve Bannon and the stakes are significantly higher because of what he represents to core Trump supporters.

Donald Trump succeeded where so many other Republicans had failed because he had the strategic vision—and the courage—to forge a partnership with populists like Bannon and base Republicans like Mike Pence. That’s the Trump coalition and it works. Nonetheless, at least 50% of the Republican establishment alternately fears and despises Trump and are either actively working against him or secretly hoping he will fail so that they can regain lost status. Among rank and file Republicans that number is less than 10%. Remember: Donald Trump won more votes than any Republican ever.

That’s why Republicans who refused to campaign with Trump before the election and denigrated him publicly now appear to have undergone deathbed conversions. They are eager to appear to be working with the president but how many, in their heart of hearts, have really changed their mind?

Full frontal assaults on the Trump juggernaut failed spectacularly. If anything, they empowered him by making the D.C. Establishment—an amorphous blob but one generally despised by voters—appear corrupt and impotent. But Beltway insiders are nothing if not adaptable survivors able to shapeshift and change tactics as necessary. 

The battle isn’t Bannon v. Kushner as some in the press would have us believe, it’s Washington v. Trump.

Unable to defeat Trump with a year of attacks that turned into kamikaze missions and have left reputations for political acumen in tatters they have adopted a more subtle strategy designed to break up his coalition. If his political adversaries can separate Trump from his base he will be defanged. Part of that strategy is to take down Bannon who is one of the only representatives of the populist wing of the coalition with a prominent role in the White House.

Coalition government isn’t difficult to understand but it requires a deft hand to maintain. The partners are naturally suspicious of the others and are always seeking the upper hand. But they can be both durable and effective if all of the partners realize that without each other they will lose power. That requires a strong, active executive that enjoys the trust and respect of all the members of the coalition. Reagan did it. And Trump can too. But it’s a new coalition—as Reagan’s was in the spring of 1981—and it requires nurturing in these early, tentative days.

Yet, Trump is in a more difficult place than Reagan was as he enjoyed the support of the major conservative, libertarian, and social institutions that formed his coalition. Many, if not most, of those institutions opposed Trump during the election and remain overtly hostile or maintain a wary silence even now. That makes Trump even more reliant upon his Main Street base who expect to see campaign promises kept.

Steve Bannon, like Jeff Sessions, embodies those promises to a significant part of the Trump coalition.

All presidents listen to someone—that’s not a knock on any of them, presidents need advisers—and voters want to know who has the president’s ear. Is it someone who is aligned with and believes in the president’s agenda like Bannon or Sessions or is it a representative of a revanchist counter-reformation?

The forces arrayed against the president couldn’t win the war at the ballot box so now they’re trying to steal the victory. Ronald Reagan won two massive electoral victories but it was Republican senators who blocked him from achieving some of his key domestic promises like shuttering the Department of Education. And though Reagan and Reaganism captured the imagination and loyalty of rank and file voters, it was the Bushes who captured the party and killed Reagan’s legacy.

The same dynamics are at play today. Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp. A lot of people make a very good living in that swamp—just look at housing prices in and around Washington, D.C.—so he shouldn’t be surprised that the plethora of parasitic fauna dependent for their survival on the swamp’s ecosystem see him (correctly) as a threat to their survival. Nothing unites like a common enemy.

What they couldn’t take with brute force they’ll try and get with fraud and fulsome words. But as the preacher in Ecclesiastes says, “there’s nothing new under the sun.” The formula is the same as it’s ever been: Whisper, flatter, promise the world and everything in it. The temptation of the president has the goal of separating him from his base and thereby from power.

Permanent Washington wields only one weapon: the promise of its own warm embrace. They’re the Mean Girls of American political culture. Fall in line and we’ll write nice things about you in our papers and say nice things about you on our shows. We’ll stop calling you a fascist and start calling you a statesman.

But as Reagan gamely observed, there’s a difference between critics and box office. A movie can succeed without the critics but never without the box office. Voters are box office. And voters want the Trump they saw during the campaign. Part of the attraction is the agenda but voters were also attracted to a man they saw was willing to take on the establishment and who would stay loyal to his friends and loyal to ordinary Americans not to permanent Washington.

The people who want to see Trump fail understand that if they can convince him to give up his advisers one by one that they will slowly separate him from his base. The promise of good press will prove ephemeral. Washington is built to destroy Republican presidents and right now the road to victory runs right through Steve Bannon’s office.

Giving him up won’t change the hostility to the president. It won’t make the forces arrayed against him suddenly support enforcement of immigration laws or an America First national security policy. It won’t make them give up on crony capitalism or the administrative state. And Jared and Ivanka won’t get the Camelot coverage they’re being promised.

And those making the promises? Their lips drip honey and their speech is smoother than oil, but in the end they are bitter as wormwood and their path leads to destruction. The more likely scenario is that if those calling for Bannon’s head get it they will target the Kushners next. That’s because the battle isn’t Bannon v. Kushner as some in the press would have us believe, it’s Washington v. Trump.

Donald Trump and the people who want to see him succeed need to remember a few things:

  1. The flatterers, phonies, and sycophants who disparaged him during the campaign, the transition, and the early days of his presidency still want his presidency to fail. They denounced him, his agenda, and his supporters in the most personal and vicious terms possible: fascist, thug, racist, etc. Nothing has changed.
  2. Democrats and the D.C. media will never support Trump or his agenda. The idea that there are 45 House Democrats who will form a bloc of swing votes to move that agenda is laughable. If you don’t think so, just try and make a list.
  3. As long as Trump can keep conservative populists and “the party” working together he has a 55%-60% governing coalition with broad, deep support.
  4. Throwing Bannon to the wolves is a political trap set by the president’s enemies to break up a new coalition that Democrats can’t beat.
  5. The perception is the reality—if the president is believed to lack loyalty then people who work with and for him will adjust their calculations accordingly. This will affect everything. It will encourage his enemies, harm his ability to pass legislation in Congress and make it more difficult to hire and retain smart, dedicated staff committed to prosecuting his agenda.

Newt Gingrich recently said that “Bannon is a brilliant pirate who has had a huge impact. But White Houses, in the end, are like the U.S. Navy—corporate structures and very hard on pirates.” Perhaps. But Queen Elizabeth made the piratical Sir Francis Drake an admiral so that he could defeat the Spanish Armada. There is an armada assembled against President Trump. Maybe this White House could use a pirate.