Katie Pavlich: The deception of the Obama Department of Justice

Katie Pavlich: The deception of the Obama Department of Justice
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Throughout Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPompeo’s retreat into chaos Barack Obama wishes Michelle a happy birthday: 'You’re one of a kind' NY Times prints special section featuring women of the 116th Congress MORE’s tenure in the White House he’s been accused of leading a lawless presidency and cheapening the rule of law through his Department of Justice. Many say these accusations are simply based in politics, but a closer look at the way the Department of Justice has handled multiple cases in federal court suggest misleading or lying to judges is a habit, not a mistake.

Most recently, we’ve seen this happen in the case surrounding President Obama’s executive action on illegal immigration. Twenty-six states are suing against the action, and in February, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued a stay in the implementation of the order granting temporary amnesty and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. Shortly after blocking the implementation, Hanen found out DOJ attorneys had issued false information to the court. He accused them of misleading the court because Immigration and Customs Enforcement, under DOJ guidance, had ignored his order to halt implementation and gave temporary amnesty and work permits to more than 100,000 people.

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Hanen said during a contentious hearing in March that he fell for the DOJ’s arguments “like an idiot” and questioned if Obama could be trusted on the issue. Hanen is also weighing sanctions against the DOJ for its actions.  

Late last year, U.S. District Court Judge Francis Allegra accused DOJ attorneys of not only being misleading in their arguments but of defrauding the court in the case of retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent Jay Dobyns, in Jay Dobyns v. United States of America.

For some quick background, Dobyns sued the ATF after years of the agency ignoring death threats against his family and for framing him for the arson of his home. In August 2014 that lawsuit and trial came to an end with Allegra ruling in Dobyns’s favor and awarding him $173,000 in damages. In October 2014 Allegra obtained new evidence in the case, including information showing intimidation by the DOJ of a top witness, retracted his ruling and accused the DOJ of defrauding the court.

“On October 29, 2014, the court, invoking RCFC 60(b) and other provisions, issued an order voiding the prior judgment based upon indications that defendant, through its counsel, had committed fraud on the court,” Allegra wrote in an unsealed opinion from December 2014. “The Sixth Circuit has indicated that fraud on the court consists of conduct: 1. On the part of an officer of the court; 2. That is directed to the ‘judicial machinery’ itself; 3. That is intentionally false, willfully blind to the truth, or is in reckless disregard for the truth; 4. That is a positive averment or is concealment when one is under a duty to disclose; 5. That deceives the court.”

Defrauding charges are so severe that Allegra has ordered a special master to be appointed to the Dobyns case. It should be noted that the appointment of a special master is rare.  

When it was discovered in 2013 that the Justice Department was monitoring the private phone lines and emails of Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen and his parents, there were many questions surrounding how the DOJ was able to get approval from a judge to do. The department claimed in an affidavit that Rosen was a criminal co-conspirator who had potentially broken the law and committed a crime for seeking classified information from a source. But when the DOJ was caught monitoring him, it argued plans to prosecute Rosen were never in the works. Did DOJ attorneys lie to a federal judge about the “criminal co-conspirator” classification in order to get court approval to monitor him and his sources? With the department’s history, it certainly isn’t out of the question.  

Moving forward, attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch will certainly have to answer for the cases above and explain how judges can continue to trust DOJ attorneys in court.

“A Federal judge wrote that DOJ attorneys attempted to perpetrate a ‘fraud upon the court’ in a case involving Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agent Jay Dobyns. U.S. District Court Judge Francis Allegra also took the unusual steps of submitting these findings to Attorney General [Eric] Holder,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Lynch earlier this year as part of her confirmation process. “If confirmed will you personally review Judge Allegra’s submission to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action in taken in this case, and will you pledge to provide updates to this committee about the status?”

Lynch has said she isn’t familiar with specific cases, but promised to look into any misconduct should she be confirmed as attorney general.

Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderHolder: If Trump directed Cohen to lie, impeachment proceedings ‘must begin’ William Barr's only 'flaw' is that he was nominated by Trump Protecting voices of all voters is critical to free and fair elections MORE’s Department of Justice has been willing to mislead federal judges, ignore court orders and allegedly defraud the court so long as political goals of the White House are reached. This is the rule, not the exception.

 

Pavlich is the news editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.