Harris, Jeffries question why Manafort, Cohen released while others remain in prison

Harris, Jeffries question why Manafort, Cohen released while others remain in prison
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisUndecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability Foreign policy is on the ballot in 2020; so is American credibility Perez on Biden's poll leads: Democrats 'take nothing for granted' MORE (D-Calif.) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) are pushing federal prisons officials to explain why  two associates of President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE were released into home confinement due to coronavirus fears while "tens of thousands of low-risk, vulnerable individuals are serving their time in highly infected prisons."

The two Democratic lawmakers sent a letter on Monday to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Intelligence officials warned Trump that Giuliani was target of Russian influence campaign: report DOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump MORE and Federal Bureau of Prisons director Michael Carvajal over their concern about the process for transferring individuals to home confinement.  

The lawmakers point to the case of Andrea Circle Bear, a 30-year-old woman who was the first female federal prisoner to die after getting the coronavirus. Circle Bear, who had been sentenced to two years for a drug charge, died weeks after delivering a baby via cesarean section. In another instance, a 67-year-old man who had advanced coronary artery disease had his release order rescinded because he had not served half of his sentence.  


At the same time, former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortDOJ veteran says he's quitting over Barr's 'slavish obedience' to Trump Bruce Ohr retires from DOJ Don't forget: The Trump campaign gave its most sensitive data to a Russian spy MORE and former Trump lawyer Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenMichael Cohen writing second book on Trump administration's Justice Department Bruce Ohr retires from DOJ Trump again asks Supreme Court to shield tax records MORE were both moved from federal facilities to home confinement last month.

"These examples make clear that there are two systems of justice in our country—one for President Trump and his associates, and another for everyone else. These examples also heighten our concern about the politicization of the Department of Justice," Harris and Jeffries wrote in the letter on Monday.  

The two lawmakers want to know if anyone at the White House asked or suggested that Manafort and Cohen be transferred to home confinement, and a list of any individuals involved with the decision.  

The letter comes a day before Carvajal will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Harris is a member, on "examining best practices" for detention during the coronavirus. 

The Bureau of Prisons has placed 3,544 inmates in home confinement since a March 26 memo from Barr gave them more leeway for transferring incarcerated individuals to home confinement due to the coronavirus. 

Harris and Jeffries want to know details of the individuals recommended for home confinement since Barr's March memo, including a breakdown by age, gender, race and what they were convicted of. They are asking for similar details on the individuals who have requested home confinement, and what steps are being taken to ensure that the guidelines being used are the same across federal prisons.