Biden’s DOJ Comes Out Swinging Against West Virginia, Arkansas Trans Laws

The Department of Justice argued in court filings Thursday that transgender legislation passed in West Virginia and Arkansas is unconstitutional.

The DOJ filed statements of interest supporting lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against West Virginia’s House Bill 3293 and Arkansas’ “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” otherwise known as the SAFE Act.

The West Virginia bill bans biological males at public schools from participating in women’s sports in middle school, high school, and college. The SAFE Act prohibits physicians from performing gender transition procedures, such as puberty blockers or “top” and “bottom” surgeries, on minors.

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Virginia’s Attorney General Appeals In Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Lawsuit

Mark Herring

Attorney General Mark Herring has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in a lawsuit seeking to have Virginia’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) recognized.

“The United States cannot continue forcing women to wait to be recognized as equal under this country’s founding document,” Herring said in a May 3 press release.

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REPORT: Biden, DOJ Plan to Challenge Laws Banning Biological Boys from Girls’ Sports

boy and girl soccer

President Joe Biden’s administration and the Department of Justice are reportedly preparing to challenge bills banning biological males from women’s sports, multiple sources told the Daily Beast.

“We are having conversations with the Biden administration about additional actions that they should be taking as it relates to anti-LGBTQ bills that we’re seeing in these states,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Alphonso David told the Daily Beast. “But we want to make sure we don’t lose sight of how important those words are, and how important his early actions have been to support and protect LGBTQ people throughout the country.”

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DOJ Considering New Domestic Terrorism Laws Aimed at Violent Domestic Extremism

Capitol protest

In response to continued threats of domestic extremism following the deadly riot on Jan. 6, the Department of Justice is considering new domestic terrorism laws, an official announced Thursday.

The FBI reported an elevated risk of violence associated with domestic extremists after the attack on the Capitol and increased assaults on Asian Americans, Department of Justice (DOJ) Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brad Wiegmann told the House Committee on Appropriations.

Virginia Republican Rep. Ben Cline asked Wiegmann about his proposal to codify a domestic terrorism charge in the criminal code.

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Vanita Gupta, Former Obama DOJ Official and Civil Rights Lawyer, Narrowly Confirmed as Associate Attorney General

Vanita Gupta

The Senate confirmed civil rights lawyer Vanita Gupta to be the Associate Attorney General Wednesday.

Gupta, who will be the third-ranking official at the Department of Justice, was confirmed 51-49, with Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski joining all 50 Democrats voting in favor.

“I have looked at her record, I have had an extensive sit down with her,” Murkowski said before the vote. “I am impressed with her credentials … and the passion that she carries with her with the work that she performs.”

Murkowski acknowledged Gupta’s confirmation was contentious, but said her passion was “impactful.”

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Cofounder of Global Fraud Organization Responsible for Stealing More Than $500 Million Sentenced to Ten Years in Jail

A Russian national, who co-founded a global fraud operation that’s responsible for stealing more than $560 million from millions of victims was sentenced to a decade in jail on Friday, the Department of Justice announced.

Russian citizen Sergey Medvedev, 33, and Syvatoslav Bondarenko, who is from Ukraine, co-founded Infraud, court documents said, according to a Justice Department press release. Infraud, a worldwide criminal organization that engaged in financial fraud and stole identities, bragged about having more than 10,000 participants at its height, according to the press release.

Medvedev, the Russian national, conducted an “escrow” service for illegal transactions in the Infraud network starting in November 2010 until law enforcement shut down the organization in February 2018, court documents said, according to the press release.

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‘Dead Meat’: New York Democrat Warns Cuomo Is ‘Not A Nice Person’ and ‘Doesn’t Have Any Friends’

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “not a nice person” who “doesn’t have any friends,” according to the former lieutenant governor of New York.

Former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch discussed the governor’s fall from grace in an interview with the New York Times after the majority of the New York Democratic congressional delegation called for Cuomo’s resignation.

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U.S. Marshals Contract with Private Prison Ends, Inmates Have Nowhere to Go in Ohio

President Joe Biden is facing his first hurdle in ending contracts with private prisons, a major campaign promise aimed at the progressive wing of the Democrat Party. 

“The Biden administration’s push to end contracts with private prisons has left federal authorities in Cleveland scrambling to find ways to house nearly 800 inmates,” according to a report by Cleveland.com.

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Rep. Swalwell Pushes for a ‘White Nationalism Task Force’

Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell on Monday called for “a white nationalism task force” at the Department of Justice.

“They’re going to need, I believe, at the Department of Justice, a white nationalism task force to make sure that they’re understanding at the earliest of ages how people are being radicalized, if there are in fact training camps,” Swalwell said on “MSNBC Live With Katy Tur.”

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DOJ Investigating Traders Who Triggered GameStop Frenzy: Report

The Department of Justice has opened a probe into the stock market frenzy that led to the meteoric rise of “meme stocks” such as GameStop, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Federal investigators are reportedly looking into whether market manipulation played a role in the increased volatility and meme stock surge, The Wall Street Journal reported. As part of the investigation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) subpoenaed information from stock market brokers including Robinhood, the popular investment platform that many investors used to buy GameStop, AMC Entertainment and others.

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Virginia Court Denies Chincoteague Church Lawsuit Over Northam’s Executive Orders

A U.S. District Court has dismissed a lawsuit by Chincoteague Lighthouse Fellowship Church against Governor Ralph Northam. In April 2020, the church sued over Northam’s Executive Orders 53 and 55, which limited gathering sizes to 10 and issued a stay-at-home order. But in a January 27 decision, Judge Arenda Wright Allen dismissed the suit, saying that the complaint was moot since those executive orders no longer stand.

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Trump Praises Carter Page’s Lawsuit Against FBI and DOJ, Asks ‘Where’s Durham?’

Trump was lamenting that the Justice Department was not investigating allegations of voter fraud in various swing states. He brought up an investigation led by U.S. Attorney John Durham into FBI and CIA intelligence-gathering activities related to the Trump campaign in 2016.

Republicans had high hopes for Durham’s investigation when it started in April 2019, but have recently grown frustrated at a lack of public revelations from the probe.

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NY Gov. Cuomo Goes on Self-Congratulatory Book Tour as DOJ Probes COVID Nursing Home Deaths

As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo embarked on a self-congratulatory book tour this week, the U.S. Department of Justice requested additional data from his administration on coronavirus deaths linked to nursing homes.

According to the New York Post, the DOJ’s inquiry could reveal if the state significantly undercounted the number of COVID-19 fatalities among the residents of more than 1,000 private nursing homes.

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Community Oversight Board Declares Use of Force Consent Decrees for Metro Police

The Community Oversight Board (COB) approved a report issuing use of force consent decree recommendations. Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) will work with the COB to implement these recommendations.
Mayor John Cooper tasked members within the Community Oversight Board to explore use of force policies following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

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Two Minneapolis Men Arrested for Attempting to Aid Terrorist Organization Hamas

Two Minneapolis men were arrested earlier this week for attempting to aid the Islamic Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the arrests in a press release Friday.

Michael Robert Solomon, 30, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, face federal criminal complaints for “conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.”

Solomon and Teeter planned to use revenue from delivering weapons to Hamas to fund their domestic terrorist plans. The pair intended to destroy government monuments, raid white supremacist organizations, and attack police, politicians, and media members. 

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Ratcliffe Says He Is Coordinating with John Durham, Plans to Declassify More Trump-Russia Documents

John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, has been coordinating with U.S. Attorney John Durham and plans to soon declassify more documents related to the Trump-Russia probe, he said Sunday.

“The question now is did the FBI have a proper predicate to begin a counterintelligence investigation at all, and that’s the issue that John Durham is looking at, and also the issue that I’m continuing to look at,” Ratcliffe said in an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

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FBI Agents Pushed for a FISA to Investigate Foreign Government Targeting Hillary Clinton

by Chuck Ross   FBI agents in 2015 sought authorization to surveil foreign government operatives who sought to influence Hillary Clinton, but ultimately settled for a defensive briefing given to lawyers for the Democratic presidential candidate, according to documents released on Sunday. One FBI agent involved in the investigation asked…

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Sen. Ron Johnson Subpoenas FBI Director Christopher Wray for All Crossfire Hurricane Documents

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, subpoenaed FBI Director Christopher Wray last week for all documents related to Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

The subpoena, issued on Aug. 6, calls for Wray to produce all of the documents related to the probe by Aug. 20.

Johnson is also demanding that Wray hand over all records that the FBI provided the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general for its scathing report on Crossfire Hurricane.

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Feds Expand Crime Fighting Operation to Memphis

Federal officials late last week announced an initiative, Operation Legend, to fight violent crime in Memphis and St. Louis.

“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens. Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Memphis and St. Louis, two cities experiencing increases in violent crime that no resident of those cities should have to accept as part of everyday life,” Attorney General William P. Barr said in a statement.

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DOJ Announces Twin Cities Violent Crimes Task Force In Response to ‘Extraordinary Spike’ in Violence

The Department of Justice announced the formation of a new Twin Cities Violent Crimes Task Force Wednesday in response to an “extraordinary spike in gun violence and violent crimes.”

Erica MacDonald, U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota, said the task force will bring together federal and state resources to assist local law enforcement in investigating, arresting, and prosecuting individuals responsible for gun violence.

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Three More Charged with Arson in Connection to Twin Cities Riots

Three more Minnesotans are facing federal arson charges in connection to the late May riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Both Matthew Scott White, 31, and Mohamed Hussein Abdi, 19, were arrested on June 29 and charged with one count of arson.

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35 Democrats Join Steve Cohen’s Resolution to Open Impeachment Inquiry of Bill Barr

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) wants to open up another impeachment inquiry, this time of U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.

After calling for Barr’s impeachment last week, Cohen formally introduced a resolution Tuesday that would authorize an impeachment inquiry into Barr’s conduct.

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Steve Cohen Calls for Bill Barr’s Impeachment

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) called for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr during a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.

In a statement released before the hearing, Cohen claimed the Department of Justice “has clearly been corrupted” under Barr’s leadership. He pointed to the recent removal of Geoffrey Berman, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its criminal case against Michael Flynn as evidence of corruption.

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State Senators to Hold Oversight Hearings on Handling of Minneapolis Riots, Ask DOJ to Investigate Police

Three Republican state senators called on U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice to investigate the Minneapolis Police Department and its response to recent unrest in the city.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) announced plans to hold a series of legislative oversight hearings beginning July 1 on state and local responses to the riots.

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ANALYSIS: DOJ Investigators Involved in Antitrust Probe Don’t Appear to be Scrutinizing Claims of Bias in Google’s Search

by Peter Hasson and Chris White   Department of Justice investigators who are conducting an antitrust probe targeting Google do not appear to be scrutinizing claims that the tech giant manipulates its search function, leaks about the probe and a source familiar with it indicate. Google critics argue that Google…

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Illegal Alien Sentenced to Five Years for Cocaine Trafficking in Memphis

An illegal alien who evaded capture for nearly three years was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison last week for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

According to a Monday statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee, a federal jury in February found Carlos Landeros-Salcedo guilty after a three-day trial and just 40 minutes of deliberation among the jurors. U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman sentenced him to 60 months in federal prison on June 10.

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Fifth Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty in Beating of Tennessee Inmate, Covering Up Incident

A fifth former correctional officer pleaded guilty this week to using unlawful force on an inmate and then conspiring to cover it up while working as an officer for the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Jonathan York, 33, faces up to 10 years in prison for the civil rights offense of using unlawful force and up to five years for the conspiracy offense.

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Judge Sullivan Defends Delay, Says Justice Department Reversal in Flynn Case ‘Unusual’

A federal judge on Monday defended his decision not to quickly approve the Justice Department’s request to dismiss its own criminal case against former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying that the department’s reversal was unusual and he wanted to consider the request carefully before ruling on it.

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Justice Department Says George Floyd Investigation ‘Top Priority,’ Trump Briefed

The U.S. Department of Justice promised a “robust criminal investigation” into the death of George Floyd in a statement released Thursday.

A joint statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office said the investigation into the fatal Monday night incident is “a top priority.”

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Former Nashville Healthcare Executive Pleads Guilty to Embezzling More Than $700,000

The former president of Nashville-based Omnis Health pleaded guilty last week to embezzling $763,887 from the company and evading taxes.

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee said 50-year-old Robert Burton was charged in February with wire fraud and tax evasion related to his embezzlement scheme. Burton was the president of Omnis Health, which sells diabetic testing kits, from July 2013 to May 2017.

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KT McFarland: ‘If the FBI, Mueller Investigation, and Intelligence Communities Can Do That to People Like Us, They Can Do it to Anybody’

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former Deputy National Security Advisor and author of “Revolution: Trump, Washington and We the People” KT McFarland to the newsmakers line.

During the third hour, McFarland talked about her new book and her contentment with positive reviews from both President Trump and his administration. She also weighed in on the new findings of the exoneration of Michael Flynn and gave testimony to the abuse of power she witnessed herself by the FBI and Department of Justice.

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Immigration Hearings Across US Postponed Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The Department of Justice has ordered all initial immigration courtroom hearings in the month ahead to be postponed, following outcry from an unlikely coalition of immigration prosecutors, attorneys, and judges.

In a public statement issued on Twitter, the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) announced late Sunday night that all master calendar hearings scheduled between Monday and April 10 would be put on hold. The announcement marked one of the latest decisions to halt procedures due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

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UT Knoxville Professor Arrested, Charged for Double-Dealing with Chinese Government and NASA

  A University of Tennessee – Knoxville associate engineering professor has been arrested and indicted on three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements for allegedly hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving funding from NASA, the Department of Justice said in a statement.…

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Minnesota Woman Facing Federal Charges for Faking Robberies to Obtain U-Visas for Illegal Immigrants

An Eden Prairie woman has been sentenced to three years of probation and faces a federal indictment for faking armed robberies in order to obtain U visas for illegal immigrants.

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Commentary: Congress Shouldn’t Let ‘Operation Choke Point’ Return to Tennessee

On January 29, the U.S. Congress’ Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing on whether the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is undermining the effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which helps low- and moderate-income communities secure loans. At this hearing, it is critical that Members of Congress speak out against the decisionmakers who have thus far ignored the renaissance of Operation Choke Point throughout the country. The resurrection of this practice, sometimes referred to as biased banking, violates both the CRA and official OCC policy, and, if not stopped soon, will have severe ramifications for Memphis and the State of Tennessee at large.

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Commentary: With Mike Flynn, the Bad Guys Won and Made a Mockery the Justice System

America’s eyes turned to Iraq and Iran over the past few days as President Trump made a bold decision to take out one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists and faced down the Iranian government and their proxies at MSNBC, CNN, the Democratic Congress and Hollywood.

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What to Expect in the Justice Department’s FISA Report

Michael Horowitz

The Justice Department’s watchdog will release a much-anticipated report Monday scrutinizing the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Republicans have eagerly awaited the report, believing it will reveal that the FBI abused the foreign surveillance court process in order to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Democrats hope the report will show that the FBI had a sound basis to investigate the Trump campaign.

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Commentary: Christopher Wray Has Some Explaining to Do

Article 35 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China guarantees “freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, and of demonstration.” Article 36 guarantees religious freedom including the right to believe in any religion. Article 37 prohibits illegal arrests and unlawful searches of Chinese citizens. Article 40 guarantees a Chinese citizen’s right to privacy of correspondence. Article 126 guarantees judicial independence without interference by any administrative organ, public organization, or individual.

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DOJ Inspector General Has Complete FISA Abuse Probe, Says Top House Republican

The Justice Department’s inspector general told Attorney General William Barr on Friday that he completed his investigation into possible FBI abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the Trump-Russia probe, according to the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

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