GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Fiery Senate speech on pot spotlights GOP Sen. Cory Gardner

GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal

  
  • Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, broke with his party twice recently
  • He plays a key role as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee

Washington (CNN)When famous marijuana advocates come to mind, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is not typically on that list.

After all, he opposed his own state’s initiative to legalize pot in 2012.
But the first-term senator has since defended Colorado’s decision, and in the past 24 hours he’s become the face of a bipartisan effort that has him butting heads with the Trump administration.
At 8:58 a.m. ET Thursday, Gardner learned through Twitter of a Justice Department decision that would soon lead him to the Senate floor with a fiery speech railing against the attorney general.
He was furious that Jeff Sessions had rescinded a memo that adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws. Critics, like Gardner, say the move violates states’ rights and causes uncertainty in legal marijuana industries.
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It also goes against a campaign promise that Donald Trump made in 2016, when he told a Colorado news station the state should be allowed to keep observing its marijuana laws. “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person,” Trump said at the time. “I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”
On the Senate floor Thursday, the usually mild-mannered Gardner was outraged, calling the decision “a trampling of Colorado’s rights, its voters.” He vowed to put a hold on every Justice Department nominee until Sessions reverses course.
He also said the decision by Sessions broke a personal pledge the former Alabama senator had made to Gardner before his confirmation last year: “I would like to know from the attorney general: What changed?”
Gardner spoke briefly with Sessions by phone afterward and the two men plan to meet soon, according to a Gardner aide.
It was the second time in recent months that the senator has very publicly gone against members of his party.
But Gardner, who hails from a state with a libertarian streak, is still a largely reliable vote for Republicans. He holds a leadership position in the caucus as chief of the Senate GOP campaign arm. Despite landing in the headlines recently for challenging those in his own party, it’s unlikely he’ll join the small chorus of Republicans who’ve become outspoken critics of President Trump, a la Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee.
Still, it was just months ago that Gardner led the risky charge to expel a potential Republican colleague.
As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he released a bombshell of a statement in November shortly after The Washington Post reported allegations of sexual abuse against Roy Moore, the Republican nominee in the Alabama US Senate special election.
Gardner said if Moore “refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him.” While many Republicans in the Senate urged Moore to drop out of the race, none of them had publicly gone as far as Gardner in saying Moore should be expelled if he were elected.
Even when the Republican National Committee decided to resume its support for Moore’s campaign, despite cutting ties just weeks earlier, Gardner and the NRSC held fast. “Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee,” Gardner told The Weekly Standard. “I won’t let that happen. Nothing will change. I stand by my previous statement.”
When Moore was defeated days later in an upset win by Democrat Doug Jones, Gardner didn’t need to follow through with his call to expel Moore: “Tonight’s results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the US Senate.”
Gardner has also joined Flake and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in working heavily with Democrats to pursue a deal on immigration — and has stood apart from his party leadership in supporting Graham and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin’s legislation that would make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program permanent.
Elected to the Senate in 2014, Gardner, 43, was previously a two-term US congressman and a member of the Colorado House of Representatives. He served as a congressional staffer early in his career.
In the Senate, he’s sought to build up his foreign policy credentials as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a focus on North Korea. He is also a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee.

Jeff Sessions’s marijuana crackdown is going to make legalization more likely

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

The Plum Line

Why Jeff Sessions’s marijuana crackdown is going to make legalization more likely

 January 5 at 2:06 PM
 1:42
What Jeff Sessions thinks about marijuana

What Jeff Sessions thinks about marijuana 

Jeff Sessions hates marijuana. Hates it, with a passion that has animated almost nothing else in his career. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he has said. He even once saidabout the Ku Klux Klan, “I thought those guys were okay until I learned they smoked pot.”

He says that was a joke, but even so, it still says something about where he’s coming from.

So if you’re wondering why Sessions has endured the humiliation of being demeaned and abused by President Trump and stayed on as attorney general, one big answer is the policy change he announced this week, that he is rescinding an Obama-era directive that instructed federal prosecutors not to prioritize prosecuting businesses like dispensaries in states that had legalized cannabis. Sessions is finally getting the chance to lock up all those hippies, with their pot-smoking and their free love and their wah-wah pedals and everything immoral they represent. He’ll show them.

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So what happens now? The emerging legal picture is murky, since a lot depends on the individual decisions federal prosecutors will make. The political picture is somewhat clearer: This is bad news for Republicans.

Let’s start with the legal questions. The 2013 Obama administration letter that Sessions rescinded, called the Cole memo (you can read it here), told federal prosecutors that in states that had legalized marijuana, they should use their prosecutorial discretion to focus not on businesses that comply with state regulations, but on illicit enterprises that create harms like selling drugs to children, operating with criminal gangs, selling across state lines and so on. In other words, prosecutors could still fight the drug trade, but if a state has legalized marijuana and put in place its own regulatory system, they should leave those operating within that system alone.

There’s also a provision in the federal budget known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that forbids the Justice Department from using any resources to interfere with the provision of medical marijuana in states that have legalized it. Right now there are 29 states that have put in place some kind of medical marijuana system, in addition to the eight states (plus the District of Columbia) that have either legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana or set up an regulated system for the commercial sale of the drug. The most important is California, which as of the beginning of this year has legalized sales for recreational use.

So is every U.S. attorney in those eight states immediately going to start busting down the doors of marijuana dispensaries?

“I don’t think so,” said Tamar Todd, senior director of the Office of Legal Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, whom I spoke to this morning. “There’s plenty of drug law to enforce” when it comes to the illicit market, she noted, and federal prosecutors rely on cooperation with state authorities in much of their prosecutions of drug cases.

Going after state-licensed dispensaries or grow operations, furthermore, would leave federal prosecutors isolated. In states with legal marijuana systems, such a crackdown would produce an outcry from both Democrats and Republicans, in addition to state government and law enforcement officials. Federal prosecutors “lack the resources to go into California and enforce the marijuana laws against everybody, so federal interests are really best served by them teaming up and working with the states,” Todd says, “not using their resources to disrupt how the states are trying to responsibly regulate, which is just going to cause more harm for everyone.”

That doesn’t mean that a motivated U.S. attorney — a Sessions mini-me, if you will — couldn’t go on a crusade in his or her district and start prosecuting every marijuana operation in sight. While the Obama administration policy let states know they could craft their own regulations without fear of the feds coming in and wrecking everything they were trying to do, now there’s much more uncertainty.

“It does open up the opportunity for the rogue U.S. attorney who’s not about protecting the public but is more about an ideological opposition to legalization,” Todd said, “to prove that legalization doesn’t work by creating chaos and disruption.”

Even if that doesn’t happen, or happens only here and there, the Trump administration has sent a clear message to the public that it wants to turn back the clock on our nation’s drug laws. There’s no doubt that Sessions is sincere in his desire to do so, but politically it could be a disaster. According to the latest Gallup poll, 64 percent of Americans favor legalization, including a majority of Republicans. There could be a dozen more states considering some form of legalization this year, either in their legislatures or through ballot initiatives, which will only bring more attention to the issue and set people’s own states against the administration. Just yesterday, the Vermont House of Representatives voted to legalizepersonal possession and cultivation of marijuana, and the bill is expected to pass the state Senate and be signed by the governor. They won’t be the last.

That the Trump administration is doing something so unpopular will put a lot of Republicans in a very awkward position, particularly if they come from a state like Colorado or California — precisely the representatives who are going to be most vulnerable in this November’s elections. Many of them have released outraged statements condemning the decision, but it might not be enough to persuade voters not to punish President Trump by voting them out. A member such as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (whose California district was won by Hillary Clinton in 2016) can cry to his constituents that he opposed the marijuana crackdown and the tax bill (which cut back their deduction for state and local taxes), and they might listen. But in a year of a Democratic wave, they might also just decide to sweep him out with the rest of the GOP.

So the end result of this policy could well be to accelerate the liberalization of the nation’s marijuana laws. A backlash could help more Democrats get elected, and push elected Democrats to more unambiguously support legalization. Don’t be surprised if every Democrat running for president in 2020 favors ending the federal prohibition on marijuana and returning the question to the states. One potential candidate, Sen. Cory Booker, has already introduced a bill to do just that.

Which will set up an interesting dynamic, in which Democrats are the ones arguing for pushing back against the heavy hand of federal power and letting states decide for themselves what they want to do. The traditional GOP position on states’ rights was always opportunistic, something they favored only when states were doing something they agreed with. But that will just be one more reason this is an issue Republicans want to run away from, and Democrats are eager to talk about.

So Sessions may get what he wants for now. But in the end, he probably did a great service to the legalization movement.

Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

((oped) THE IDIOT, JEFF SESSIONS SEEMS TO NOT ‘GET IT’ AT ALL. THE BIG PHARMACEUTICAL’S PUMPED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO ADDS IN STATES THAT WERE GOING TO VOTE ABOUT LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN AN EFFORT TO GET THE PEOPLE TO VOTE AGAINST LEGAL MARIJUANA. THERE IS ONE SIMPLE REASON FOR THIS, ALL STATS FROM STATES WHERE MARIJUANA IS NOW LEGAL HAVE SEEN ABOUT A 50% REDUCTION IN OPIOID DEATHS. LESS OPIOID USE/DEATHS, THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES MAKE LESS PROFITS. WAKE UP JEFF!!!) (trs)

Sessions: DOJ looking at ‘rational’ marijuana policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Wednesday that the Justice Department is examining ways to work toward a “rational” marijuana policy, though he did not provide details, including whether the DOJ will crack down on states where the drug has been legalized.

“We’re looking very hard on that right now. In fact, we had meetings yesterday and talked about it at some length,” Sessions said about the department’s stance toward marijuana during an announcement on new funding and tools the agency will use to combat the opioid crisis. He did not elaborate further.

The attorney general added that he views pot as “detrimental” and noted that consumption is still a federal violation.

“I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department in any way believes that marijuana is harmless … people should avoid it,” he said.

Sessions holds the power over the federal enforcement arm of criminal laws, such as the Controlled Substances Act.

The marijuana industry currently benefits from a legal memorandum issued by the Justice Department in 2013 that essentially adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws, so long as they don’t threaten other federal priorities, such as preventing the distribution of the drug to minors and supporting cartels. But a Justice Department with Sessions at the helm has the ability to rip this up and simply issue a new memo.

During the news conference, the former Alabama senator also said he felt “dubious” about a 2016 pharmaceutical lobby-pushed law that has made it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Administration to take action against pharmaceutical distributors sending off large opioid shipments.

“I went along with it after the department and the DEA agreed to accept it,” Sessions said.

Earlier this fall, The Washington Post and CBS’ “60 Minutes” conducted a joint investigation into the effects of the bill. They found that the bill raised the burden of proof for the DEA, making it more difficult for the agency to stop high quantities of pain pills from entering pharmacies across the country.

“I would be supportive of new legislation,” Sessions said Wednesday, later adding, “I guess you could say in some areas it’s more difficult than it would have been had that law not passed.”

Sessions, a fervent critic of so-called “sanctuary cities,” emphasized that believes they are a safe havens for drug dealers, adding that their impact is being felt “across state lines.”

“I think sanctuary cities are a detriment to enforcing our drug laws and it just reaffirms my view that this is a very, very bad policy,” he said.

By Maegan Vazquez and Laura Jarrett, CNN

TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT 2017 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC., A TIME WARNER COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Trump And Clinton’s Are Proof Sexual Harassment And Sexual Assault Mean Nothing

DONALD TRUMP AND BILL CLINTON ARE NEON PROOF THAT SEXUAL ASSAULT/HARASSMENT MEAN NOTHING

(SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NOT A REPUBLICAN NOR A DEMOCRATIC ISSUE: IT IS A LEGAL AND A MORAL ISSUE!)

As about every one here in the U.S. know, and probably in all other countries as well, if you are very rich, well-connected, or are in a powerful job, you can treat women like insignificant sex toys. Ever since that well-connected Hollywood Producer finally got called out for his sexual crimes and this “#ME-TO” group got started a few days afterword, it seems that everyday more people are being called out for these crimes. In our society we tend to think of men sexually pushing themselves onto women and I believe that in probably 90+% of the real world cases are such, men against women. Yet folks we must also realize that there are cases of powerful women ‘forcing’ themselves sexually on some men and upon some other women. Also there is the reality of men ‘forcing’ themselves sexually on other men. There are some gay men and some gay women who are guilty of these crimes also.

 

In our society we have known for many decades that men, and women, are being raped while in prison. In our society it is so bad that people make jokes about when a guy gets sent to prison that his rear end is going to be getting torn up. Folks this is not funny, it is not humorous, it is mentally and morally sick! Back in 1978 I worked as a state prison guard for about two weeks in Illinois. I had a couple of family members in State Prisons before but I wanted to have a better understanding of what they had to live through, other than just from the ‘visiting’ room. I never witnessed a rape while I was there but I did hear some guards laughing about ones that they had ‘set up’ against some prisoners, they thought such things as prisoners getting gang raped was hilarious. I know that when I was in my early 20’s that I had several times that gay men tried to insist that they could force their wishes on me even though I had made it very plain that I was totally straight and told them to leave me alone or they would end up getting hurt. Unfortunately, there were several times that I had to make my point more clear to them when they refused to leave me alone.

 

Now, I would like to get to the headline of this article, people like Bill Clinton and Donald Trump and we should add in others like George H.W. Bush and his ‘little me’ George W. Bush. Even well before Bill Clinton of Donald Trump were elected President most everyone should have know that these two men were nothing but sexual predators, yet both major political parties endorsed these two criminals to lead their party. Think about it, millions of men and women voted for them anyway. Right now Mr. Trump should be in a federal prison cell, right next to Bill Clinton. Think about this issue also please, both of their wives know exactly what their husbands are and yet they are still married to them and still support them. Now lets talk about the disgusting old fart George H.W. Bush. Folks evidently he is still, even from his wheelchair, sexually assaulting women, and his wife Barbara is standing right next to him in some cases, just smiling. Now, the reason I think that ‘Little Me’, George W. Bush belongs in this scum pile. Do you remember when he was President and he was at a gathering of World Leaders in Europe when he came up from behind the seated German Chancellor Angela Merkel and started massaging her shoulders and upper back? Do you remember how she yelped because she had no idea this moron was either behind her nor that he was fixing to physically put his hands upon her? For George W. to have so casually done this to a woman in such a camera filled event, what do you think he does to women, whom he doesn’t even know, where the cameras aren’t at?

 

Friends, until the people of the United States physically force these perverts to be put into prison for their sexual assaults, they will continue. If we the people do not right now force these people out of their positions and insist on long prison terms for them and for their wives (because they are accessories to their crimes in some cases) as they just go along with the flow per say, these crimes are only going to get much worse. Right now if you are paying any attention to the National News stations we are seeing the proof of what I am saying here today. Examples of our First Lady, she just stays totally silent, obviously ‘living the life style’ is more important to her than her own personal integrity or the lives of the women her husband molest. Look at how Hillary Clinton is acting about all of these men being brought out into the open! She is only verbally attacking the men whom are Republicans and she is staying quiet about the accused Democrats and about her own husbands continuing assaults on women. Donald ‘the Fraud’ Trump, do you notice how he will blast accused Democrats yet stay totally silent about this anti-Christian dude in the Alabama Senate race as well as being totally silent about the dozens of women that he has sexually assaulted himself? And speaking of this child molester in Alabama how even his wife is verbally and physically ‘standing behind her man’?

 

Just as I was getting ready to close this letter to you a ‘Yahoo notice’ just popped up on my computer saying the following “President Trump discounts assault accusations against Republican candidate Roy Moore, saying Alabama voters ‘don’t need a liberal’ in that Senate seat”, end of quote. Remember, Mr. Moore is a former DA and a former Alabama State Supreme Court lead Judge. Also notice these facts, this fraud we have as our Nations ‘top Cop’ (Attorney General) Jeff Sessions held the Senate Seat Mr. Moore is trying to fill. Mr. Sessions has personally know Mr. Moore for decades down in Alabama, is this why the Attorney General isn’t having him arrested and put into prison? Is this a case of the ‘good ole boy system’, especially being they are of the same ‘anti-Christ’ political party? Folks, I am not a Democrat either, they have proven themselves over and over to be just as bad or even worse that their Republican bedfellows. Either ‘We The People’ stand up as one and physically throw these pieces of trash out of ‘Our Government’ or we as a Nation deserve to have these pieces of trash as our ‘Leaders’. My personal bet is that the Democrat Doug Jones will win the Senate seat in Alabama on December 12th then hopefully that will be the start of sweeping the human feces’ out of Our Political System, the business world and out of Hollywood. If not, we have no one to blame but ourselves!

 

 

Federal Judge Says DOJ Must Answer For Marijuana Being Classed As A Class 1 Drug

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘FLORIDA MARIJUANA.NET)

 

For the very first time in history the United States Government will have to answer to the judiciary about the scheduling of cannabis and its unconstitutionality.  Jeff Sessions, the DEA, and the DOJ will all have to stand trial according to the judge overseeing their case.  This is the first time that a trial to legalize cannabis has proceeded past the normal attempts at dismissal.  All of the defendants will have to get recorded depositions.  This is great news for the plaintiffs in the case which include Army combat veteran, Jose Belen, former NFL player Marvin Washington, 11 year old Alexiss Bortell who uses cannabis to treat her epilepsy, Jagger Cotte.

alexis bortell medical marijuana

The developments are also welcome news for cannabis advocates around the country.  If this lawsuit is successful, it would mean the scheduling of cannabis will be ruled unconstitutional and completely de scheduled federally.  Some of the best quotes from the 80+ page filing in federal court can be found below.Marvin Washington medical marijuana

“Despite the relatively recent stigmatization of cannabis in the United States as a supposed ‘gateway drug’ used primarily by ‘hippies’ and minorities, there is a long and rich history of people from virtually every part of the world using cannabis for medical, industrial, spiritual, and recreational purposes,” the suit reads. “Indeed, those who have cultivated, encouraged the cultivation of, and/or used cannabis include, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — an assortment of the most intelligent and accomplished statesmen in American history.”

 

jose Belen cannabis jeff sessions

“Jose’s treatment providers at the Veterans Administration informed Jose that they are unable to prescribe medical cannabis because it is illegal under the CSA,” reads the suit, referring to Belen, the military veteran.

“We are seeking a ‘declaration’ to that effect, and also a permanent injunction restraining enforcement of the CSA as written, as it pertains to cannabis,” said Lauren Rudick, one of the plaintiffs attorneys. “The classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug deprives individuals of basic constitutional rights, including Due Process and the fundamental right to travel. Some of these individuals, such as Alexis Bortell and Jagger Cotte (both plaintiffs in the action) are patients who seek cannabis as a means of life-saving medication. The government has a federal patent on cannabis, and has recognized the medical efficacy of cannabis in a variety of ways, yet Sessions is trying to reverse policy on cannabis use and contend that it has no medical use. It’s hypocritical.”

 

One thing is for sure, Jeff Sessions and the federal government will not go down without a fight.

jeff sessions medical marijuana

 

Our neighbors to the north in Canada only had their rights recognized after challenging medical marijuana as a right through the courts.  It appears this is how the Jeff Sessions legacy is about to be written.  Instead of doing the right thing, his Justice Department will be forced to recognize the rights through the court system.

Please share this with your friends and make sure everyone keeps up to date on the developments in the case.

For Donald Trump, the noose is tightening

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

For Donald Trump, the noose is tightening

At the end of six months in office, Donald Trump doesn’t have a single legislative achievement to crow about. The failure to repeal ‘Obamacare’ is the biggest. Another setback for Trump is Congress’ move to impose new sanctions on Russia. Added to this is the investigation into his and his team’s involvement with Russia during the 2016 election

OPINION Updated: Aug 08, 2017 08:21 IST

US President Donald Trump’s poll ratings are lower than ever – and the lowest of any president at such an early point in an administration. Members of his own Republican Party are distancing themselves from him
US President Donald Trump’s poll ratings are lower than ever – and the lowest of any president at such an early point in an administration. Members of his own Republican Party are distancing themselves from him(AFP)

Even with a new minder trying to bring some order to the White House, United States President Donald Trump remains in a heap of trouble. The recent installation of retired general John Kelly, formerly Trump’s secretary for homeland security, as chief of staff, replacing the hapless Reince Priebus, has reduced some of the internal chaos and induced a bit more discipline in Trump’s behaviour. But all this could change any day, or at any moment.

Kelly has put a stop to aides sauntering into the Oval Office whenever they felt like it –Trump tends to echo the last person he’s spoken with – and has demanded that papers and memos for the president be submitted to him first. For the time being, at least, the president’s tweeting has been reduced in number and nuttiness.

Keen Trump observers expect that he’ll soon begin to chafe under the discipline Kelly has encouraged. Understanding Trump’s enormous ego, Kelly is said to encourage gently rather than instruct. Kelly also has the advantage of Trump’s high regard for generals.

But Trump could well become incensed by news stories praising Kelly for bringing order to the White House. (Counsellor Steve Bannon never fully recovered in the president’s esteem after he was on the cover of Time magazine soon after the inauguration.)

Meanwhile, Trump’s poll ratings are lower than ever – and the lowest of any president at such an early point in an administration. Members of his own Republican Party are distancing themselves from him.

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The recent failure of the Republican-dominated Congress to repeal Barack Obama’s signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, which made healthcare available for millions of people who previously couldn’t afford it, was a humiliating defeat for Trump. Just enough Republican senators (three, but more were in reserve if needed) voted to reject the last of several efforts to fulfil the party’s vow to replace ‘Obamacare’.

That nickname for the ACA, coined by the Republicans when the law was enacted in early 2010, was intended to be derogatory, and their opposition to the program seemed to be vindicated in that year’s midterm elections, when they swept both houses of congress. But the Republicans didn’t reckon on two things: that as people gained access to health insurance (some 20 million by this year), it became popular – as did Obama, who ended his second term as one of America’s most liked presidents.

Over Obama’s tenure, Republicans came to realise that it was no longer sufficient simply to call for a repeal of ‘Obamacare’, and their rhetoric shifted to the need to “repeal and replace”. They held more than 50 roll-call votes saying that they’d do just that, knowing that it didn’t really matter because Obama would veto any serious repeal. The roll calls were actually fundraisers: Appeals to the unsuspecting Republican base to send money to keep up the fight against the supposedly hated programme.

But when the 2016 election put a Republican in the White House, the party’s congressional leaders had nowhere to hide. The Republicans were now in full control of the government – and they hadn’t a clue about what should replace Obamacare.

At the end of six months in office, Trump doesn’t have a single legislative achievement to crow about (though he has claimed the Senate’s approval of Neil Gorsuch as a new Supreme Court justice as a victory). Significantly, Senate Republican leaders ignored Trump’s demand that they take up repeal and replace of Obamacare again, before they consider any other major issue.

While the healthcare bill was commanding most of the attention on Capitol Hill, another piece of legislation was moving along in the Congress, representing another setback for Trump. Troubled by the president’s apparent soft spot for (or perhaps fear of) Vladimir Putin, overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both chambers passed a bill to impose more sanctions on Russia and – most unusually – to prevent the president from lifting any such penalties. And, because the bill passed with enough votes to override a presidential veto, Trump had little choice but to sign it, which he did in private, without the customary presence of a bill’s sponsors and the press.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Trump and his campaign’s relations with Russia in connection with its meddling in Trump’s favour in the 2016 election has continued out of the public’s sight. That investigation has broadened to include Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his son Donald Jr.

This spring, Trump let it be known that he wanted the special counsel running that investigation, Robert Mueller, a former FBI director who is highly respected by both parties, to be fired. He’d already fired FBI director James Comey, but by law, he couldn’t fire Mueller himself, so he tried to bully Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had (appropriately) recused himself from the investigation, into resigning. That way, Trump could appoint a replacement who would fire Mueller.

But Sessions, the first Republican senator to endorse Trump, was enjoying rolling back numerous Obama-era protections in areas like civil rights, and refused to resign. Several of Sessions’ former Senate colleagues also demanded that Trump back off. Though Kelly called Sessions to tell him that his job was safe, Republican senators, concerned that Trump might remove him during the August recess, established a procedure that would prevent Trump from appointing an interim attorney-general to fire Mueller, and warned that such a move would provoke a constitutional crisis.

Then, as Congress prepared to leave for the August recess, it was learned that Mueller – who had hired highly regarded prosecutors specialising in international financial transactions, despite Trump’s warnings not to investigate his finances – had impaneled a grand jury in Washington. The noose tightens.

Elizabeth Drew is a journalist and author

The views expressed are personal

Project Syndicate, 2017

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According To Jeff Sessions Beliefs: All Of His Possessions Must Now Be Seized By The Government

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS IS A FRAUD/HYPOCRITE AND HERE IS WHY

 

“In a directive issued last week, Sessions said he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime without ever formally charging them with one, let alone convicting them.” (Quote from Time.com)

 

This wish list of the U.S. Attorney General is straight out of the Communist playbook and that of a country which is ruled by a Dictator. When this type of government sponsored criminal activity is in place no one in the country safely owns anything. Not only would such ‘laws’ be an open ticket for the Federal government to take all of the money and possessions of anyone any Federal ‘police’ agency chose, even the state, county and local agencies could and would do the same. Only a fool or an idiot would believe that the different politicians and police agencies would not use this type of Un-Constitutional laws to punish people that they don’t like or to use to help their personal or departmental budget short falls. There are many examples already where police agencies stop out-of-state motorists because the officers like and want their vehicle and also confiscate any cash the people have on them using the excuse that it is possible drug money. If the people argue, to often after the officers search their vehicle some small baggy of drugs miraculously appear. It is sickening, but it is reality. I am not saying that all police personnel, D.A.’s and Judges are criminals because they are not, but way to many are and way to many innocent people have ended up in prison because of them.

 

So now, I would like to comment on a dirty politician who is now the top Cop here in America, his name is Jeff Sessions. For those of you who are paying any attention to this fraud/criminal and his actions I have an issue that has made this crook/hypocrite hundreds of thousands of dollars since he was nominated to be our Nations Attorney General. The man is using his position to crack down on anything he considers to be a crime and he has directed all of the nations D.A.’s to always go for maximum sentences on every case thus lengthening the sentences for everyone in the nation’s prison system. He is also pushing for more ‘Prisons for Profit’ instead of having the government running them. This has already been shown to be a system that tramples on the rights of the people and politicians have been know to have their hands in the till. So, why is Jeff Sessions pushing for more criminal activity in this ‘Prison for Profit’ sham? The answer is simple, he has thousands of shares in the two largest prison for profit companies in America. When Sessions was nominated for his current position the stock value of these two companies soared thus making Sessions hundreds of thousands of dollars. Isn’t this the same as insider trading on Wall Street? It is certainly enough to consider that he is a criminal thus all of his possessions should be seized by the Federal Government.

 

Come to think of it there are lots of issues that several members of the Trump Clan could also have all of their possessions seized for ‘possible’ criminal activity and you could easily add the Bush and Clinton families to this ‘possible’ criminal list. Just think of it, the Federal, State, County and City budget deficits could be wiped out simply by using this Sessions idea. But of course there is one issue, this type of program is mostly only used on the poor and middle class. If you think that I am just talking smoke and mirrors here just think about how the IRS has acted for many decades as well as other policing agencies. The IRS says you have broken the law so they step in and take all of your assets including taking all of your access to any money you have thus making it to where you can’t even hire a lawyer to defend yourself. What Jeff Sessions wants to do to the working class poor people is Un-Constitutional thus illegal in and by itself. To me it looks like the very first person to be punished by this law is Jeff Sessions himself. Shouldn’t the top Cop in America be forced to set the example?

 

 

 

 

How Jeff Sessions Could Crack Down on Legal Marijuana (And Why He Might Not)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

How Jeff Sessions Could Crack Down on Legal Marijuana (And Why He Might Not)

12:31 PM ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an outspoken critic of recreational marijuana, and he has the power to hobble cannabis sales in states where it’s legal. But for now, business owners and advocates say they don’t think he’ll actually do it.

As the head of the Justice Department, Sessions has a few strategies he could use to go after marijuana which, while legalized for recreational use in 8 states and D.C. and legalized medicinally in 29, remains a federal crime.

In a directive issued last week, Sessions said he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which allows the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime without ever formally charging them with one, let alone convicting them. Historically, asset forfeiture has been used to disrupt cartels, and Sessions said he would use it “especially for drug traffickers.”

But it also means he could send agents to take cash, properties and supplies from cannabis businesses operating legitimately under state law. Even if those businesses sued for their assets back, the case would be lengthy and expensive, and their shops would be effectively closed in the meantime.

“Does it tie in specifically with our industry? I don’t know for sure,” Bruce Nassau, partner in Tru Cannabis dispensary in Colorado and Oregon, says of Sessions’ push for more asset forfeiture. “But it certainly gets one to speculate, doesn’t it?”

Outside of asset forfeiture, which bypasses the court system, Sessions could also choose to prosecute anyone involved in the industry, whether that be the owners of dispensaries or just people who do business with them, like the landlords who rent the property for the stores. Nassau’s concern about asset forfeiture gets to an approach many legal experts and cannabis industry spokespeople think Sessions could employ: target a few high-profile businesses to sow fear.

That would make strategic sense, given Sessions’ relatively limited resources to shut down an industry blooming in nearly 30 states, if you include the ones that have legal medical marijuana.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if what Sessions does is settle for enough prosecutions to terrify people and not try to shut down the system systematically,” says Mark Kleiman, head of the crime and justice program at New York University’s Marron Institute of Urban Management. “Not only can’t they protect themselves from being shut down, they can’t protect themselves from being sent to prison for what they’ve already done… These people are taking insane risks.”

Sessions has already signaled his intent to go after pot. He convened a task force to review drug enforcement, which is expected to release its findingssoon. He has rolled back sentencing guidelines put in place under his predecessor Eric Holder which called for granting leeway to drug offenders, now saying instead that prosecutors should go after the most serious offense available. The task force is likely also reviewing the 2013 Cole memo, another Holder-era document, which said that the federal government would largely defer to states on marijuana enforcement. What the Justice Department decides to do about the Cole memo will have huge implications for whether or not Sessions cracks down on the drug.

One marijuana advocate even goes to the Department of Justice’s website to look up the memo.

“I periodically check to make sure it hasn’t disappeared,” says Tom Angell, spokesperson for Marijuana Majority.

Sessions has also asked Congress not to renew the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, in place since 2014, which prevents the federal government from interfering in medical marijuana at the state level. “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote in a letter to Congress first reported by Angell. (“Congressman Rohrabacher has a clear and strong disagreement with his old friend Jeff Sessions,” Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s spokesman Ken Grubbs told TIME.)

Sessions has numerous formidable legal tools at his disposal, has indicated that he wants to attack both recreational and medical marijuana, and has previously compared pot to heroin. So why aren’t people in the cannabis industry more concerned?

Because legal pot is hugely popular, even among Republicans.

“I don’t see a mass wave of people feeling panicked or making exit strategies or changing their plans,” says Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We are seeing a certain amount of optimism that the support for the industry is such that a move to crack down on it would create a bipartisan outcry.”

CBS News poll from April found that support for legalizing marijuana is at an all-time high. Sixty-one percent of Americans think it should be legal, 71% think the federal government shouldn’t mess with states that have legalized it on their own and 88% support medical use. This includes majorities even among Sessions’ own party: 63% of Republicans don’t think the federal government should interfere with states on this issue.

“Cannabis right now is a helluva lot more popular than Donald Trump,” says Kleiman. And even Trump himself indicated during the campaign that he’d favor leaving it up to the states. “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump said in a 2015 interview with the Washington Post. “I think medical should happen, right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

Along with potentially running afoul of the president, with whom he has already recently fallen out of favor, Sessions would also cross congressmen from states with legal pot.

“This is not a fight this Administration wants to take,” Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer from Oregon warned in a statement to TIME. “The legalization train has left the station.”

Blumenauer has introduced multiple marijuana reform bills with the Democratic senator from his state Ron Wyden, who also told TIME in a statement, “Jeff Sessions can’t cherry-pick on a whim which states’ rights he likes and which ones he doesn’t. Voters in Oregon and a growing number of states who have chosen to legalize marijuana should not have their votes casually thrown in the trash by this administration.”

It doesn’t seem that Sessions or other members of Trump’s Administration are cowed by politics. Still, pot advocates feel protected by the swelling public support for their industry. And although Sessions’ task force on marijuana was directed to look into links between the drug and violent crime, many are hoping he will realize that regulated cannabis businesses can actually help him fight the crime rates he’s eager to lower.

“We are the wall between the black market and the cartels and our society,” says Nassau of Tru Cannabis. “The president talks about building a wall, and we are a virtual wall. You want this? We are it.”

A chill across the executive branch — and new rumblings from State Department

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Washington (CNN) Talk of a potential “Rexit” at Foggy Bottom, new tests for President Trump on immigration, tax reform and media relations and a big challenge for the nation’s oldest civil rights organization — it’s all part of our Inside Politics Forecast.

1) A chill across the executive branch — and new rumblings from State Department

There was a decided chill across the executive branch as last week came to a close after a tumultuous series of events that rattled worker bees and caught the attention of Cabinet secretaries.
A large part of that dynamic was the result of the White House staff shakeup — which saw President Trump overruling top advisers to hire Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, and the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer.
Bigger, though, were the continuing conversations about The New York Times interview in which Trump sharply criticized his attorney general and longtime supporter — Jeff Sessions — saying it was “unfair to the President” that Sessions recused himself from any decisions related to the Russia election meddling investigation.

Washington Post: Sessions discussed Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador Kislyak

Washington Post: Sessions discussed Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador Kislyak 01:16
Among those who viewed the President’s public rebuke of Sessions as unprofessional, according to several sources, is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon-Mobil CEO.
Tillerson has a growing list of differences with the White House, including a new debate over Iran policy and personnel. His frustration is hardly a secret and it has spilled out publicly at times. But friends sense a change of late.
For weeks, conversations with Tillerson friends outside of Washington have left the impression that he, despite his frustrations, was determined to stay on the job at least through the end of the year. That would allow time to continue efforts to reorganize the State Department and would mean he could claim to have put in a year as America’s top diplomat.
But two sources who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity over the weekend said they would not be surprised if there was a “Rexit” from Foggy Bottom sooner that that.
Both of these sources are familiar with Tillerson conversations with friends outside Washington. Both said there was a noticeable increase in the secretary’s frustration and his doubts that the tug-of-war with the White House would subside anytime soon. They also acknowledged it could have been venting after a tough week, a suggestion several DC-based sources made when asked if they saw evidence Tillerson was looking for an exit strategy.

2) Tax reform next? White House nervous as it eyes clock

Trump pushed again Saturday for GOP senators to resolve their differences and settle on an Obamacare repeal and replace package. The White House wants a win, and worries failure will further damage the President’s political standing.
Some top Trump aides are worried about the calendar — believing all this time spent on health care, without success, might have a domino effect on another top White House priority.
Julie Hirshfeld Davis of The New York Times detailed the anxiety over finding a path toward tax reform.
“What we’re seeing, what we’re hearing, from these meetings that have been going on behind the scenes with Steven Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director and the top congressional leaders on the Republican side is that they’re sort of starting to think about potentially trimming their sales and not doing a big massive tax reform but instead a tax cut,” Davis said. “There is a lot of uncertainty about whether they’re even going to be able to get that this year.”

Why tax reform is so hard

Why tax reform is so hard 02:05

3) A reset — with the media?

New White House communications chief, Antony Scaramucci, is a feisty defender of President Trump
But even as he echoes the President in tossing around the “Fake News” label, he also says he is looking to rebalance the White House relationship with traditional or mainstream media outlets.
The timing, Michael Shear of The New York Times suggests, could at least present a genuine opportunity.
“There could be an opportunity for a press reboot over some of the issues that the press corps has been arguing with the White House for: access to the President, press conferences, on-camera briefings,” Shear said.
“There is a new White House Correspondents’ Association president who is coming in, as it happens, at exactly the same time that we have a new communications director and head of the communications shop.”
The moral of that story? It’ll be a wait-and-see moment for White House reporters.

Scaramucci: Trump unsure of Russia meddling

Scaramucci: Trump unsure of Russia meddling 01:34

4) DREAM Act push — lost cause or a chance for clarity?

Trump has sent mixed signals about policy toward so-called Dreamers — undocumented workers who came to the United States illegally but at an age when they were too young to be responsible for that decision.
During the campaign, he at times promised to reverse Obama administration protections extended to them. He has not done so as President, and he has on several occasions discussed how difficult it is for him to square his tougher views on immigration with understanding and compassion for a group that is otherwise law-abiding and did not make a decision to break the law.
A new push in Congress could offer a chance to bring some clarity to the Dreamer question. The Atlantic’s Molly Ball discussed the possibility of a revised version of the so-called DREAM Act, and its bipartisan sponsors: Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
“It might seem like a strange time to be doing that. But this administration has sent very conflicting signals about DACA,” Ball said.
“There are some state attorneys general that have imposed a deadline on the administration to basically tell them whether this is going to go or stay. They have been issuing work permits. And so Lindsey Graham at the press conference introducing this said, you know, President Trump, you can really sort of act against type, you can solve this problem.”

5) NAACP meets this week — no presidential visit — but a Democratic parade

The nation’s oldest civil rights organization — the NAACP — holds its annual meeting this week amid a host of questions about how to navigate American politics and policy in the Trump years.
Trump declined an invitation to attend Several Democrats thinking about the 2020 presidential campaign are scheduled to speak. CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson shared her reporting on how this legacy organization is trying to modernize its approach.
“The question there, how does this very old, the oldest civil rights organization in the country, reboot and re-imagine themselves in the Trump era and the era of Black Lives Matter? And in the era of resistance? They invited Donald Trump. He said ‘no,’ he wasn’t going to come,” Henderson said.
“Eric Holder will be there. He’ll be talking about gerrymandering — something that’s very important to Democrats particularly. Also, it’s being looked at as something of a 2020 cattle call. Also in attendance, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders, of course, struggled a bit with getting African-American support when he ran last go around. So we’ll see what those folks have to offer.”

Trump: Jeff Sessions Has Treated Me Very Unfairly When He Recused Himself From Russia Investigation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE HILL’ NEWS)

Trump: Sessions recusal 'unfair' to me
© Greg Nash

President Trump said on Wednesday that he would not have picked Jeff Sessions as his attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the investigations into Russian election meddling.

That Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the probe, Trump told The New York Times in an interview, is “very unfair to the president.”

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said ‘thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you,” he continued. “It’s extremely unfair – and that’s a mild word – to the president.”

Sessions recused himself from the law enforcement investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow in March, after it was revealed that he failed to disclose to the Senate two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while he was a surrogate for Trump’s campaign.

The announcement that Sessions would step back from the investigation surprised Trump, who told the Times on Wednesday that the attorney general gave him “zero” warning before recusing himself.

Trump’s young administration has been dogged by ongoing investigations into whether members of his campaign coordinated with Russian officials to help swing the election in his favor.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing or improper activity, and has called the probe a “witch hunt.

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