Dem calls on Sessions to release violent crime task force guidance

Dem calls on Sessions to release violent crime task force guidance
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns MORE (D-Ore.) is calling on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE to release the recommendations he's received from President Trump's task force on violent crime.

The Democratic senator said in a letter to Sessions on Tuesday that the American people have a right to know the basis for enforcement policy changes made by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Wyden noted a memo Sessions sent to the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and DOJ officials in April explaining that task force subcommittees were instructed to review department policies on marijuana, asset forfeiture, hate crimes, immigration enforcement and human trafficking, and make initial recommendations no later than July 27.

Sessions said in a statement last week he has been getting recommendations from the task force on a "rolling basis" and has already been implementing them, but did not provide details on what those recommendations have been. Trump directed Sessions to establish the task force earlier this year.

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Sessions's statement last week came days after he re-established a controversial criminal asset seizure program.

“Already DOJ has made sweeping changes in its treatment of civil asset forfeiture, sanctuary cities and for-profit prisons,” Wyden wrote in his letter to Sessions.

“Yet, Americans remain in the dark about the content of the task force’s recommendations and which of your actions as attorney general are being based on these recommendations.”

Wyden said he’s particularly concerned with the about the secrecy shrouding the recommendations provided by the marijuana subcommittee given Sessions’s past statements opposing state-level legalized marijuana laws.

“The public deserves to know whether recommendations from the marijuana subcommittee are being used behind the scenes at DOJ to justify federal actions that undermine states’ rights to set their own marijuana laws,” he said.

Wyden went on to ask Sessions what DOJ’s justification is for not releasing the task force recommendations, when and from which subcommittee he’s received recommendations and what he's done in terms of implementation.