REPORT: DOJ declares New York, Portland and Seattle ‘anarchist jurisdictions,’ moves to cut federal funding

WASHINGTON (Washington Times) — The Justice Department on Monday declared New York, Portland and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions,” the first step toward revoking federal funding from those cities.

President Trump earlier this month ordered federal agencies to look for ways to cut off federal funding in Democratic-led cities besieged by violence this summer. The Justice Department’s move escalates the criticism Mr. Trump has been leveling at Democrat leaders, blaming them for the rising crime and violence.

The list of cities is expected to be updated periodically, the Justice Department said.

Much of the crime and looting plaguing the cities has been on the rise since Memorial Day when George Floyd, a Black man, died while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police.

In a statement, Attorney General William P. Barr said the three cities identified Monday “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”

“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Mr. Barr said.

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens,” he said.

New York Attorney General Letita James said she was readying legal action, calling the designation an attempt by Mr. Trump to “scare the country’ into reelecting him.

“The president should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court, which hypocritically lays out the groundwork to defund New York and the very types of law enforcement President Trump pretends to care about,” she said. “We have beat the president and the illegal actions of his DOJ in court before and have no doubt we will beat them again.”

The Justice Department did not detail which federal funds would be cut from the cities. White House Budget Director Russell Vought is expected to issue guidance to federal agencies about withdrawing funds within the coming weeks.

Mr. Barr said a city can be named an “anarchist jurisdiction” if it forbids police from restoring order amid widespread violence; it has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographic area or prevented law enforcement from accessing a certain area; if it has defunded or removed power from the police; or refuses to accept assistance of federal law enforcement.

A city can also be added to the list under any other related factors deemed appropriate by the attorney general, he continued.

Representatives of the cities named by Mr. Barr did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Washington Times.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, earlier this month threatened to sue the Trump administration if it followed through with the funding cuts.

“I believe the president is fundamentally a bully, which I’ve said too many times, and I’ve known him very well for a very long period of time. It doesn’t work in New York because you can’t bully New Yorkers,” he said at the time. We just don’t get bullied. We don’t respond well to it, and I want to talk about facts.”

Mr. Cuomo said he is concerned about the rising crime in New York, but the issue is a local one, not a federal matter.

New York made the list because shootings were up 177 percent between July 2019 and July 2020, the Justice Department said. Amid the rising violence, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council agreed to cut $1 billion from the city’s police budget.

Portland was included because of its more than 100 consecutive nights of violence and protests since the Floyd death. Mayor Ted Wheeler has explicitly rejected federal help as the violence increases.

A skirmish between Trump supporters and Antifa activists last month led to the death of Aaron Danielson. A supporter for the right-wing Patriot Payer Group, Danielson was allegedly murdered by Michael Reinoehl, an Antifa activist killed by authorities days later.

The Portland City Council voted in June to slash its police department budget by at least $15 million.

Seattle, meanwhile, was listed because of its “autonomous zone,” a police-free six-block area in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the Justice Department said.

Seattle voted in August to cut its police budget by roughly $3 million.

Law enforcement was barred from entering the territory where prison-related crime increased by 525 percent in June from the same period last year, according to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department offers funding to support local law enforcement and public safety activities to assist victims of crime, provide technical assistance and training to local police and conduct research.

The two main Justice Department grant agencies are the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office of Justice Programs, which are dedicated to bolstering local law enforcement resources.

It is not clear how much funding from those programs goes to the cities on Mr. Barr’s hit list or if other Justice Department funding programs, such as the Office on Violence Against Women, which doles out funds to combat domestic violence, could be impacted.


Jeff Mordock of The Washington Times contributed to the contents of this report.

TICK TOCK: Gaetz Steps Up Attack Against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Alleging Lies To Congress

WASHINGTON — Rep. Matt Gaetz has filed a criminal referral against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for lying to Congress while under oath, the Florida Republican announced this week.

In a statement, Gaetz alleged that Zuckerberg made materially false statements to Congress while under oath at two separate joint hearings in April 2018.

“Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied his company engaged in bias against conservative speech, persons, policies, or politics and also denied that Facebook censored and suppressed content supportive of President Donald Trump and other conservatives,” the statement reads. Gaetz then went on to allege that James O’Keefe, along with investigative journalists at Project Veritas, uncovered evidence which proved contrary.

“Zuckerberg repeatedly and categorically denied his company engaged in bias against conservative speech, persons, policies, or politics and also denied that Facebook censored and suppressed content supportive of President Donald Trump and other conservatives,” Gaetz argued. “Project Veritas published the results of an undercover investigation featuring two whistleblowers who worked as Facebook’s ‘content moderators,’ revealing that the overwhelming majority of content filtered by Facebook’s AI program was content in support of President Donald Trump, Republican candidates for office, or conservatism in general.”

“This alone is already an indication of bias within the platform,” he added.

In the statement, Gaetz went on to say that he now “questions Zuckerberg’s veracity, as well as his willingness to cooperate with the House’s oversight authority,” and suggested that the Facebook CEO has been “diverting congressional resources during time-sensitive investigations, and materially impeding our work.”

“Such misrepresentations are not only unfair, they are potentially illegal and fraudulent,” said Gaetz.

In addition to referring Zuckerberg to the DOJ for an investigation into the alleged false statements made to Congress by Zuckerberg while under oath, Gaetz personally asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday to investigate Zuckerberg’s conduct.

“Facebook’s AI screening content is not politically neutral,” Gaetz wrote in a letter to Barr. “Neither are the moderators hired to review content flagged by the AI program. This stands in opposition to Mr. Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony and violates the ‘good faith’ provision of Section 230(c)(2)(A) of the Communications Decency Act.”

“Accordingly, I respectfully refer Mr. Zuckerberg to the Department for an investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§1001, 1505, and 1621 for materially false statements made to Congress while testifying under oath.”

When asked about whether Facebook harbors anti-conservative bias while testifying before Congress in 2018, Zuckerberg said:

“First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place. And this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”

‘RIGGED!’: Trump Warns of 20 Percent Voter Fraud If Mail In Votes Permitted

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday warned that if mail in ballots are permitted, the nation could see voter fraud by as much as 20 percent.

“Mail-In Ballot fraud found in many elections. People are just now seeing how bad, dishonest and slow it is,” the president cautioned in a series of tweets. “Election results could be delayed for months. No more big election night answers? 1% not even counted in 2016. Ridiculous! Just a formula for RIGGING an Election.”

“Absentee Ballots are fine because you have to go through a precise process to get your voting privilege,” he continued. “Not so with Mail-Ins. Rigged Election!!! 20% fraudulent ballots?”

During an interview with Fox News‘ “Sunday Morning Futures,” in June, Attorney General William Barr made a similar claims, backing up the president’s concerns, saying vote-by-mail “absolutely opens the floodgates to fraud.”

Lawrence Norden, director of the Election Reform Program for the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York School of Law, told USA Today that Barr’s claim is not based in reality.

“It would be too easy to catch. You just wouldn’t be able to do it,” he told USA Today. “There’s obviously other ways – cyber warfare – of attacking election infrastructure. I think we have to be worried about them. But forging mail ballots is not a serious threat.”

Trump, however, is continuing to stand his ground.

“Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history – unless this stupidity is ended,” Trump tweeted. “We voted during World War One & World War Two with no problem, but now they are using Covid in order to cheat by using Mail-Ins!”

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WITCH HUNT: FBI Ignored Exculpatory Evidence to Proceed With ‘Aggressive’ Investigation of Trump, says Barr

WASHINGTON– Attorney General William Barr came out swinging against the FBI Tuesday, claiming the agency ignored exculpatory evidence which would have cleared President Donald Trump of any wrong doing in order to proceed with it’s investigation against him.

In an interview with Fox News, Barr said the FBI launched a “very aggressive investigation” into the Trump campaign which led the way to the Russia probe.

“I think before the election, I think we were concerned about the motive force behind the very aggressive investigation that was launched into the Trump campaign without — you know, with a very thin, slender reed as a basis for it,” Barr said. “It seemed that the bureau was sort of spring-loaded at the end of July to drive in there and investigate a campaign.”

“There really wasn’t much there to do that on, and that became more and more evident as they went by,” Barr added, “but they seemed to have ignored all the exculpatory evidence that was building up and continued pell-mell to push it forward.”

The attorney general said effort to investigate Trump following the election remained “intense” even after it became “painfully obvious” there was little basis to do so.

“The other area of concern is that after the election, even though they were closing down, some of it as we’ve seen in the [Michael] Flynn case and say there’s nothing here, for some reason they went right back at it, even at a time where the evidentiary support or claimed support, like the dossier, was falling apart,” Barr said. “And it’s — it’s very hard to understand why they continued to push and even make public in testimony that they had an investigation going, when it was becoming painfully obvious, or should have been obvious to anyone, that there was nothing there.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who has been investigating the Russia probe’s origins, says he intends to find out what FBI officials knew in regard to information that may have excluded Trump, who knew it and when.

“I believe it goes to the very top, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Graham said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” “and that means Sally Yates and Rosenstein, and McCabe and Comey are all going to come before the committee and they’re going to be asked, ‘What did you know and when did you know it?’”

STANDING FOR FAITH: Barr Warns Nevada Against ‘Unequal Treatment’ of Churches

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr has fired a warning shot at Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak calling the Silver State’s ban on religious gatherings of 10 or more people “unconstitutional.”

“The flat prohibition against 10 or more persons gathering for in-person worship services — regardless of whether they maintain social-distancing guidelines — impermissibly treats religious and nonreligious organizations unequally,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Nicholas Trutanich and Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband warned in a letter to Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a registered Democrat.

“These directives may violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, unless the government can prove a compelling interest and pursued the least restrictive means possible,” the letter continued, calling on Sisolak to address “unequal treatment of places of worship.”

Sisolak initiated the ban the week of Easter Sunday, claiming reports that religious services in other states had spurred isolated corona virus outbreaks in late March and early April.

The move by Barr’s Justice Department follows President Donald Trump’s declaration on Friday that faith gatherings would be deemed “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now – for this weekend,” Trump said. “If they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” the president warned. “In America, we need more prayer, not less.”

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MICHAEL SAVAGE: ‘Epstein was murdered’

SAN FRANCISCO — Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage on Wednesday told Newsmax TV that he doesn’t buy the official story surrounding billionaire business tycoon Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide and believes the accused pedophile to have been murdered.

Epstein, who was being held in a federal facility awaiting trial on mulitiple counts of child sex crimes was found dead in his cell on August 10.

“He was killed,” Savage told “Newsmax Now” host John Bachman, describing Epstein’s death as a scene straight out of “The Godfather” movie. “You have to be blind not to see he was executed,” Savage said. “The whole thing is absurd. And it was done in plain sight. Right in front of our eyes.”

Savage’s comments follow revelations by Epstein’s former cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, that he has been pressured by security guards at the jail to remain silent on the issue.

“The clear message Mr. Tartaglione has received is that if he conveys information about the facility or about [Epstein’s] recent suicide, there will be a price to pay,” Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, said Wednesday in a released statement. “Whether or not the investigators into the suicide chose to interview Mr. Tartaglione about the attempted suicide to which he was witness or about how the facility is run and the conditions under which the inmates are forced to live, the correction officers know he has information potentially very damaging to the very people now charged with guarding him or their coworkers.”

The coroner who performed the autopsy on Epstein shortly after his death found that Epstein had sustained numerous broken neck bones. The injuries, said the coroner, was more consistent with a victim of homicide than suicide.

“Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple,” the Washington Post reported. “Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensic experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation,” experts said.

It was reported shortly before Epstein’s death that he had communicated a desire to cooperate with federal officials and “name names” of other high profile individuals who had participated in the sexual abuse of children.

Attorney General Barr has called for a formal investigation into Epstein’s death.

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EPSTEIN’S CELL MATE BEGS TO BE MOVED: Fears there will be “price to pay” if he talks

NEW YORK — A former cellmate of accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is begging to be transferred to another prison out of fear that he will be harmed if he speaks out.

Ex-cop Nicholas Tartaglione, who shared a cell with Epstein during his first suicide attempt, is requesting to be transferred because he says prison guards have threatened his safety and told him to “stop talking.”

Epstein, who was found dead in his cell on August 10, had been under suicide watch before his alleged suicide.

The coroner who performed the autopsy on Epstein found that the billionaire business tycoon had sustained numerous broken neck bones. The injuries, said the coroner, was more consistent with a victim of homicide than suicide.

“Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple,” the Washington Post reported. “Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.”

The coroner’s findings have only made Tartaglione more fearful that his life may too be in danger.

“The clear message Mr. Tartaglione has received is that if he conveys information about the facility or about [Epstein’s] recent suicide, there will be a price to pay,” reads a letter from Tartaglione’s lawyer Bruce Barket. “Whether or not the investigators into the suicide chose to interview Mr. Tartaglione about the attempted suicide to which he was witness or about how the facility is run and the conditions under which the inmates are forced to live, the correction officers know he has information potentially very damaging to the very people now charged with guarding him or their coworkers.”

Attorney General Barr, in the wake of the controversy surrounding Epstein’s death, has called for a formal investigation.

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THE FALLOUT CONTINUES: AG Barr outs prison chief in response to Epstein’s death

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William Barr on Monday removed Bureau of Prison’s acting director Hugh Hurwitz from his duties in the wake of billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein’s death while in federal custody

Epstein, 66, who was charged with multiple counts of child sex abuse, was found dead in his cell earlier this month, the victim of an alleged suicide.

Barr, who named Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the prison agency’s director from 1992 until 2003, to replace Hurwitz, made the decision amid mounting claims that prison officials did not do enough to protect Epstein, who had been placed at one time under suicide watch. Barr also named Dr. Thomas R. Kane as the agency’s new deputy director.

Last week Barr ordered the bureau to temporarily reassign the prison’s warden, Lamine N’Diaye, to a regional office and to place the two guards who were assigned to watch Epstein on administrative leave.

Allegations have surfaced since Epstein’s August 10 death that the two guards, who were assigned to check on him every 30 minutes, falsified documents to state that they had.

“I am confident Dr. Hawk Sawyer and Dr. Kane will lead BOP with the competence, skill and resourcefulness they have embodied throughout their government careers,” Barr said in a statement.

Lawmakers from both political parties have called for a formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.

Epstein was arrested July 6 at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, as he returned from Paris on his private jet. He was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking. He faced up to 45 years in prison if found guilty. He pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.

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EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE: Trump blocks Census docs from Congress as contempt vote approaches

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday asserted executive privilege to block details surrounding his administration’s decision to add citizenship questions to the 2020 Census from reaching Congress.

The move came in direct challenge to a subpoena issued by the House of Representatives Oversight Committee as they prepare to vote on holding two members of Trump’s Cabinet – Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr – in contempt of Congress over the issue.

On Wednesday, however, a defiant Trump refused to back down.

“When you have a census and you’re not allowed to talk about whether or not somebody’s a citizen or not, that doesn’t sound so good to me. … It’s totally ridiculous that we would have a census without asking,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Democrats, however, countered that the decision to include the questions had little to do with citizenship and more to do with race.

“Is it really about citizenship? No. It’s about reducing the number of people of color being counted in the census. That’s exactly what it’s about,” Representative Rashida Tlaib told members of the media when questioned on the matter.

“This does not appear to be a good faith effort at negotiation,” Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said during a meeting he convened to vote on holding Ross and Barr in contempt. “Instead it appears to be another example of the administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated authority. … This begs the question: what is being hidden?”

The matter has been a long fought one for the Trump administration. A ruling is due from the U.S. Supreme Court by the end of the month regarding the Trump administration’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that blocked the addition of the questions as a violation of federal law.

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PRESIDENTIAL PRIVILEGE: Trump Asserts Executive Privilege to Block Release of Unredacted Mueller Report

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday invoked executive privilege to prevent the release of the unredacted Mueller report, sparking outrage from Democrats.

The move was seen as a direct challenge by House Democrats as they gathered to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to turn over the document.

Last month Barr released a redacted, 448-page version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, but has since refused to honor a subpoena issued by the House Judiciary Committee to release the unredacted version and its contained evidence. Mueller’s 22-month long investigation looked into whether or not President Donald Trump had colluded with Russian officials to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The report essentially cleared the president of all wrongdoing.

“Every single day the president is making the case. He’s becoming self-impeachable,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The Washington Post, referring to his efforts to restrict release of the unredacted report an “obstruction of justice.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler responded to Trump’s move to block the report’s release as a “clear escalation in the Trump administration’s blanket defiance of Congress’s constitutionally mandated duties,” adding that neither Barr nor Trump are “above the law.”

“I can only conclude that the president now seeks to take a wrecking ball to the Constitution of the United States of America,” Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee said in response to the White House’s announcement.

Meanwhile, Republicans have steadfastly defended Attorney General Barr in the wake of recent attacks by the left, referring calls to have him arrested as just an escalation of an ongoing “witch hunt.”

“What a cynical, mean-spirited, counterproductive and irresponsible step it is,” said Judiciary Committee leader Doug Collins.

Representative Matt Gaetz concurred with Collins’ comments, calling the latest efforts by Democrats “all about impeachment” of Trump and not about justice.

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