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Sunday, June 25, 2017
Sally Yates Shows POLITICAL Colors: SLAMS Sessions DOJ in Op-Ed
Fired acting AG parrots partisan talking points panning 'irresponsible' crackdown on drug crime
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump, and the Justice Department for which she once served in a Friday evening Washington Post op-ed called “Making America scared again won’t make us safer.”
Yates, who briefly served as acting attorney general until Trump dismissed her on Jan. 30 after she refused to defend his travel-ban executive order, rebuked Sessions and the Trump administration for touting “the campaign-style rhetoric of being ‘tough’ or ‘soft’ on crime” in implementing policies they’ve called “tough on crime.” In particular, Yates disapproved of Sessions’ major crackdown on drug crime in his approach to promoting “law and order” in Trump’s Department of Justice when she once again re-entered the sphere of partisan political discourse.
Yates denounced Sessions' directive, announced in May, in which he ordered federal prosecutors to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" in drug cases and seek mandatory minimum sentences. Sessions' directive flew in the face of former Attorney General Eric H. Holder's "Smart on Crime" initiate, which pushed criminal justice reform by loosening sentences for lower-level drug convictions.
"First, it is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense," Sessions wrote in a May 10 memo announcing the policy. "This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency. This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us. By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines' sentences, including mandatory minimum sentences."
Sessions did note in his memo that "there will be circumstances in which good judgment would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application of the above charging policy is not warranted." But Yates appeared to be unimpressed.
"But last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back the clock to the 1980s, reinstating the harsh, indiscriminate use of mandatory minimum drug sentences imposed at the height of the crack epidemic," Yates wrote, adding that "Sessions attempted to justify his directive in a Post op-ed last weekend, stoking fear by claiming that ... the United States is gripped by a rising epidemic of violent crime that can only be cured by putting more drug offenders in jail for more time."
Arguing that the Justice Department's "limited resources" should be used to prosecute higher-tier drug offenders with "the greatest impact on our communities," Yates insisted that Sessions' argument "just isn’t supported by the facts" because violent crimes are at "historic lows." In contrast, Sessions had argued that his directive partially was in response to escalating murder rates in U.S. cities.
"Our responsibility is to fulfill our role in a way that accords with the law, advances public safety, and promotes respect for our legal system," Sessions wrote in his memo. "It is of the utmost importance to enforce the law fairly and consistently. Charging and sentencing recommendations are crucial responsibilities for any federal prosecutor."
Yates called the attorney general's approach "irresponsible" in a way that "undermines public safety" and cares little about "human costs."
The Department of Justice under Sessions' leadership has made resorting "law and order" its highest priority, whether through cracking down on illegal immigration, going after lawbreaking sanctuary cities, stamping out illegal-immigrant fueled gangs such as MS-13 or offering law enforcement officers the support and resources they need to fulfill their duties.
Hailed as a "hero" by the left for her so-called "resistance" to Trump and his travel-ban executive order, Yates gained a significant following in left-wing circles following her dismissal from the Justice Department and her testimony before a Senate subcommittee in early May regarding Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Following her testimony, the left-wing site Slate ran an article called "How Sally Yates defied Trump and became a legend." The liberal Daily Beast published an article called "Sally Yates Is the Early Hero of the Trump Administration," and infamously unhinged anti-Trump pundit Keith Olbermann dubbed her an "American hero"on his GQ podcast, The Resistance.