The Justice Department said the federal government will resume executing death-row inmates for the first time since 2003, ending an informal moratorium even as the nation sees a broad shift away from capital punishment. Attorney General William Barr instructed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule executions starting in December for five men, all accused of murdering children. Although the death penalty remains legal in 30 states, executions on the federal level are rare. “The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” Attorney General William Barr said. The move is likely to stir up fresh interest in an issue that has largely lain dormant in recent years, adding a new front to the culture battles that President Donald Trump already is waging on matters such as abortion and immigration in the lead-up to the 2020 elections. Most Democrats oppose capital punishment. Vice President Joe Biden this week shifted to call for the elimination of the federal death penalty after years of supporting it. By contrast, Trump has spoken often — and sometimes wistfully — about capital punishment and his belief that executions serve as both an effective deterrent and appropriate punishment for some crimes, including mass shootings and the killings of police officers. “I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue,” Trump said last year after 11 people were gunned down in a Pittsburgh synagogue. He’s
"Today, the Democrats maintained their shameless, weekly attacks on this Administration without consideration for the truth," Wilbur Ross, who as head of Commerce oversees the Census, said in a statement. "Here's the bottom line: The Democrats have continued to attack this Administration on dubious grounds, and they aren't going to let the facts get in the way of their own concocted stories."
President Donald Trump has granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump on Thursday directed the U.S. intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s investigation of the origins of the multiyear probe of whether his campaign colluded with Russia. Former intelligence officials and Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump’s move, which marked an escalation in his efforts to “investigate the investigators” as he works to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe . Trump’s announcement came amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings against him. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation. Such a move could create fresh tensions within the FBI and other intelligence agencies, which have historically resisted such demands. Trump is giving Barr a new tool in his investigation, empowering him to unilaterally unseal documents that the Justice Department has historically regarded as among its most highly secret. Warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, for instance, are not made public — not even to the person on whom the surveillance was authorized. Trump explicitly granted Barr declassification power — noting it would not automatically extend to another attorney
A House committee is poised to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress — the opening salvo in what could be a lengthy, acrimonious court battle between House Democrats and President Donald Trump's administration over special counsel Robert Mueller's report .
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler scheduled a Wednesday vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress, citing the Justice Department's failure to provide the full text of Mueller's report by the Monday morning deadline. Nadler, D-N.Y., said Barr's failure to comply with a subpoena left them with "no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings."
The movement to hold Barr in contempt reflects the deepening rift between Democrats and Barr, whom they accuse of spinning the results of Mueller's investigation to Trump's benefit. Barr, in a memo summarizing Mueller's investigation, said there was insufficient evidence that Trump obstructed justice — a conclusion Democrats fiercely dispute.
Congressional Democrats moved closer on Monday to citing Attorney General William Barr for contempt of Congress over his failure to hand over an unredacted version of the Mueller report, escalating a showdown with the White House.
The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee issued a report citing Barr, an appointee of President Donald Trump, for contempt of Congress after the expiration at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) of a second deadline to produce the full report.
Barr missed an initial deadline last week from the committee, which wants to see the entire report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“Attorney General Barr failed to comply with the committee’s request for these documents and thereby has hindered the committee’s constitutional, oversight and legislative functions,” the committee’s contempt report said.
Attorney General William Barr skipped a House hearing Thursday on special counsel Robert Mueller's Trump-Russia report, escalating an already acrimonious battle between Democrats and President Donald Trump's Justice Department. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Barr had already lied to Congress in other testimony and called that a "crime."
Barr's decision to avoid the hearing, made after a disagreement with the House Judiciary Committee over questioning, came the day after the department also missed the committee's deadline to provide it with a full, unredacted version of Mueller's report and its underlying evidence. In all, it's likely to prompt a vote on holding Barr in contempt and possibly the issuance of subpoenas, bringing House Democrats and the Trump administration closer to a prolonged battle in court.
Democrats convened a short hearing that included an empty chair with a place card set for Barr. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York said that if the attorney general doesn't provide the committee "with the information it demands and the respect that it deserves, Mr. Barr's moment of accountability will come soon enough."
“The Attorney General does not swear an oath of loyalty to any one individual. The AG swears an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of the United States. Barr has made clear that he doesn’t swear his loyalty that way & that disqualifies him from being AG. He should resign,” Sens. Elizabeth Warren tweeted.
Democrats have criticized Barr for drawing his own conclusion that Trump did not obstruct justice after Mueller found he couldn’t exonerate the president on that point. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said William Barr is involved in a “staggering public effort” by the Trump administration to put a positive face on Mueller’s findings.