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tv   AG Sessions on Justice Department Budget  CSPAN  April 25, 2018 2:29pm-4:53pm EDT

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mr. attorney general, welcome to the committee. we're here to examine the department of justice's fiscal year 2019 budget request. i'm pleased to welcome you to the subcommittee. my colleagues and i are very much interested in hearing from you and your hearing your testimony considering your testimony today. your input is not only helpful but necessary, as we review the president's spending priorities for the justice department. this hearing is about the department's fy 2019 budget request, i would suspect that you will hear about a number of
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other issues unrelated to the department's resource and funding needs. my focus is better understand your top funding priorities and emphasize those that are important to our nation. the department of justice is responsible for and involved in many important national priorities. arguably, the greatest responsibility includes keeping americans safe, which carries a new meaning given the growing national security threats of today and upholding the rule of law. this requires that congress adequately fund our nation's larnlt efforts, including counter terrorism and cybersecurity initiatives. in kansas, the department recently successfully investigated and convicted individuals who conspired to bomb residents of somali immigrants to our state. the work done by the fbi, by the liberal kansas police department, the sheriff's department, the ford county sheriff's department, the garden city police department, the dodge city police department, along with the kansas highway
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patrol and kansas bureau of investigation and the united states attorney's office showed, in my mind, a model for federal and local partnerships. i trust the department will seek to replicate the successes of these entities with the funds in this request. the president's fy 2019 budget proposal of $28.4 billion for the department of justice, i note that -- however, i note that the many agencies and departments this budget request was created and produced before the recently enacted fiscal year 2018 bill, which was finalized and recently become law. for example, both fix nix act and the stop school violence act authorized important safety initiatives but were signed into law in the 2018 after your fy 2019 budget submission. as a cosponsor of both pieces of legislation, i look forward to
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hearing the department's plan to implement these policies. this administration made it a priority to combat violent crime. which is reflected as one of the department's highest priorities. specifically, the administration seeks $109.2 million to combat transactional criminal organizations in the fy 2019 budget request. for example, the department requested increased funding to expand the project safe neighborhood initiative. project safe neighborhoods' main focus is the extradition of illegal firearms -- i'm sorry, the eradication of illegal firearms and violent gang activity. it's designed to improve police and community relation which is is strongly supported by many from law enforcement officials in my state of kansas. the subcommittee looks forward to hearing more details about this program. i also look forward to hearing about the impact of emerging technologies such as those being utilized by the national
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integrated ballistics network. it allows law enforcement officials to share ballistic intelligence across the united states making law enforcement resources more efficient and effective. the department administration also prioritizes solving the problem of illegal immigration. the fy 2019 request seeks $65.9 million in immigration-related programs. for example, the 2019 request outlines that this funding would hire 150 attorneys for the executive office for immigration review, which oversees the nation's immigration courts and the board of immigration appeals and provide $25 million for technology improvements to transform current paper operating system to electronic filing system. the department is also involved in helping to combat ongoing opioid epidemic. according to the center for
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disease control and prevention, opioid overdoses in the u.s. have surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the number one cause for accidental death in the country. the crisis needs to be aggressively addressed. i look forward to working with the department to ensure adequate resources are provided to do that. lastly, mr. attorney general, i want to thank you for your attention and acknowledgment of a letter that senator shaheen and i sent to you exactly one week ago regarding the executive office of immigration review legal orientation and immigration help desk programs. we spoke on the phone earlier this week, and i would appreciate it if you address the matter in more detail in this hearing. i know that you would agree that ensuring congressional direction is followed is extremely important. again, i thank you for your services as our attorney general and the important testimony we'll hear from you today is our subcommittee begins its work on the fy 2019 budget for the department of justice.
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i now recognize the senator from new hampshire, senator shaheen. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. this is our first hearing together. so i look forward to working with you on this subcommittee. i'm pleased that the attorney general sessions is here with us this afternoon. thank you for being here. and thank you for taking time to speak with me last week on the phone. i want to begin by thanking the 115,000 career employees of the department of justice. they're working hard every day to keep americans safe from crime and terrorism. the breadth of issues that the department handles on a daily basis is vast. i do have a concern that as i look at the budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, the department has requested addressing these missions with less funding. a reduction of $1.9 billion, which is 6.2% less than the
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level we passed last month. while i was very pleased to see the funding levels preserved for life saving grant programs under the office of violence against women, i'm concerned about some of those drastic reductions and eliminations that have been proposed for other programs. as you know very well, the justice department is on the front lines fighting the deadly, uncontrolled opioid epidemic. as senator said, and every member of this subcommittee knows, this is an epidemic that we have seen across this country. it's an epidemic that is gaining strength. i just came from a group of family members from the addiction policy forum who are here to advocate, who talked about the challenges that they face and they reminded me that we lost, as senator moran said, about 63,000 americans last year
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to the opioid epidemic, and for every one of those people lost, they have a family who is suffering and is experiencing that loss. so i certainly support enforcement and prosecution efforts, but i believe they should be paired with prevention and treatment responses, as well. this balanced approach is something that i've heard from police chiefs, judges, and from other criminal justice professionals in new hampshire. the critical need to help children and families grappling with the opioid crisis in their neighborhoods and within their own families is very real. even the dea has focussed on a comp hen comprehensive approach with their strategy that targets enforcement, diversion control, and community outreach. manchester, new hampshire, which is our largest city, and i know as attorney general, you've already been there. we appreciate that. it was one of the first
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locations chosen for the 360 program and the dea has seen real success there. not only in tackling heroin and opioid trafficking, but by partnering with social service and other community groups like the boys and girls clubs of manchester to provide that prevention and education programs for young people that are so critical. new hampshire is also grappling with the dramatic rise of fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin, 100 times more powerful than morphine. unfortunately new hampshire leads this nation in overdose deaths from fentanyl. sadly, it's now spreading across the country and it's something that has overwhelmed state crime labs already backlogged with testing crime scene evidence. we provided a total of $447
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million more than the fy 2017 budget to help communities respond to the opioid crisis with a balance of enforcement, treatment, and prevention programs. i'm interested to hear how the department plans to expand these programs, and what your fy 2019 budget request will do. i'm concerned that right now it calls for eliminating key programs like the cops anti-heroin task forces, which we funded at $32 million. it calls for dramatic cuts in programs like the program which we talked about. i know it's something you care a lot about. because you authored that legislation. i'm also concerned about the continued hold on the fy 2017 burn jag awards to our states. this program is the backbone for helping states and local law enforcement with crime prevention efforts across the country. i know that my police chiefs in
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new hampshire are very frustrated waiting to receive funding that they had expected months ago. according to the police chief in manchester, nick willard, a city that responded to 800 overdose calls last year, he has fewer police officers on the street conducting drug operations without their burn jag funding. i know you would agree that getting these grant awards to law enforcement for programs like this is critically important. now, when we spoke last week, you indicated that once a decision was reached in the pending seventh circuit court of appeals case, that the justice department would release burn jag funding for 2017. the court did issue its decision on april 19th, so i'm interested to know when these awards will be released and i'm concerned when i see that the justice department has filed yet another motion on monday evening that will further delay these awards.
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so, mr. attorney general, thank you, again, for being here. i look forward to your testimony and our discussion today. >> senator shaheen, thank you very much. and the newness of the moment of actually having the gavel in my hand, i failed to acknowledge my desire to work closely with you and to make certain this subcommittee does its work in a timely and bipartisan way. we tell you that the previous subcommittees i've chaired, both of those bills have passed through the full committee with unanimous vote. i look forward to accomplishing that in this arena, as well. i would say i have a high priority of making certain all 12 appropriations bill that our full appropriations committee will address march their way across the senate floor and signed by the president. i want it work and i pledge to do everything i can to accomplish that goal in that regard. i'm honored to recognize the chairman of the committee who has stated on so many occasions this committee is going to do its work. and i look forward to not only
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hearing senator shelby's remarks today, but in particular, working with him to make sure that we accomplish our goals in this subcommittee. the senator from alabama, the chairman of the committee is recognized. >> thank you, senator moran. i will be brief. i want to welcome my former colleague, jeff sessions, attorney general of the united states to this appropriation hearing. we will be working with the justice department to help fund rec sit programs. of course it includes the fbi because it has to be done. and i hope under the chairman and ranking member shaheen we can move this bill to the floor as fast as possible and not go from crisis to crisis. with that i'm going to have a number of questions, but i would like to note for the record. i would ask unanimous consent that my opening statement be made part of the record. >> without objection. so ordered. the honor of recognizing the ranking member of the full committee, the senator from
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vermont, senator leahy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, i'm glad to hear what you said. senator shelby and i have been working closely on that. we had a long meeting the two of us with the republican and democratic leaders last night. and plotting out ways to get most of the bills done within the fiscal year. attorney general sessions, welcome. it's the first appearance here in 16 months because we have to make it appropriations. then we have to ask to makes appropriations how the funds are expended. and in my years in this committee, and i think it can be said by members of both sides of the aisle, that we consider the oversight operation to this
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committee very important. and the operations of your department there is an urgent need for oversight. you and i may disagree on many policies, i have known you long enough to know that one area where we are in total agreement, total agreement and that is we care deeply about the integrity of the justice department. you and i felt that way whether we've had a republican or democratic president. we are concerned about the integrity of the justice department. and i worry that through all intended to protect the independence and credibility are at the risk of crumbling.
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i'm very concerned how the president's relentless and baseless attacks on senior doj and fbi and leadership including attacking you for your recusal for the russia investigation. something you were required to do. you just followed the law. you did the right thing. that's simple my without precedent. and i believe it's wrong. we've also learned that the president wanted to fire robert mueller last year. the president was on television apparently at the direction of the white house requiring your second in command, rod rosenstein, some in the congress talked about impeaching rosenstein. now i've been here 44 years, i've never seen such attacks.
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again people for the democratic or republican administration. i worry that they're being done to interfere with your department and the department of justice a place that you and i have always tried to protect. they're going to complete an investigation into how and with whom russia attacked. you're at the helm of the justice department. this is your chance to talk about how you're going to protect it. and in that regard, don't let the justice department turn its back on a proud tradition of being equal justice for all. including the most vulnerable in our society. the most disadvantaged. be careful.
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it was the most vulnerable in our department of justice is there for all of us, for every american, and i want to make sure that the attorney general has the tools and the ability to do that. >> thank you very much. we now will recognize our witness today. i welcome once again attorney general sessions so this subcommittee hearing and recognize your opening statement. >> thank you very much, chairman moran, and ranking member shaheen, distinguished members of this committee, friends and former colleagues, thank you for the opportunity to be with you. i'm particularly pleased to be able to gre able to congratulate my former senior senator for 20 years,
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shelby for being chosen to chair this historic committee. it is a tremendous honor and mycin ser congratulations to you. and you can knoll how much i've appreciated our good relationship for 20 years. it's been an honor of a lifetime to serve as the attorney general of the united states. and to represent the men and women of the department of justice. you can be sure, really sure that i understand the importance of the office i hold, and i'll strive to be worthy of it. every single day the 115,000 men and women of the department work to protect our national security against terrorist threats, reduce violent crime in our communities, stop deadly drug dealers and their organizations, and strengthen the rule of law. so today i'd like to layout some of the priorities reflected in our budget request. first of all, the department has rapidly moved to improve
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partnerships with the 85% of law enforcement officers who serve at the state, local, and tribal levels. we know that we cannot succeed without them to make america safe. and yesterday we were once again reminded of the sacrifice we asked of our men and women in blue. officer crystal almeda rwent toa routine call in dallas. but they did not return home. and today we mourn with the officer of santander and pray for the recovery of almeda. the law and women of law enforcement deserve our respect and support and our commitment and our work to reduce crime. after two decades, of declining crime in 2015 and 2016, the violent crime rate went up by
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nearly 7%. assaults went up 10%. rape went up nearly 11%. murder increased in those two years more than 20%. that's the largest increases since 1968. president trump, our federal officers, our local law enforcement partners are determined that this crime rate rise will not continue. our prosecutions of illicit drugs, violent crime, gangs, opioids and immigration offenses are going to go up, too. in 2017, we brought cases against more violent criminals than any year in decades. we charged the most federal firearms prosecutions in a decade. we convicted nearly 500 human traffickers, and 1,200 gang members. your strong support, congress's support for our work means that we can sustain our project safe
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neighborhood program where our united states attorneys will meet with your local community leaders and law enforcement leaders to develop crime reduction plans based on local needs. this is a program that has proven to work si, scientifical it's been and lysed and i feel great support when i travel around the country. indeed, there are good signs in the preliminary data that increases in murder hand violent crime appear to have been slowed and violent crime may have actually gun to decrease. we also embrace the president's goal of reducing prescription drugs sold in the united states by one-third over the next three years. this is an important step in reducing addiction and overdose deaths. we are simply prescribing too many drugs in this country. this department is going after drug companies, doctors, pharmacists, and others who violate the law. and we will use civil, criminal, and sound regulatory powers to
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do so. i've directed every united states attorney's office establish an opioid coordinator to focus on this dramatic problem. as senator shaheen noted, the largest cause of death for americans under age 50 is overdose, drug overdoses. that is a stunning statistic. we have to do something about t we have already charged hundreds of people suspected of contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis, including over 50 doctors for opioid-related kriemgs, some very serious criminals. 16 of these doctors prescribed to more than 20.3 million pills illegally. our organized crime drug task forces have also indicted more than 6,500 and more than $50
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million. with powerful drugs like fentanyl and heroin on our streets we have seen deaths we have never seen before. this must end. we are out of time. we have to see results now. and i truly believe we can change this dynamically. amazingly in the last month alone, the dea seized more than 2.2 pounds per kilogram of suspected fentanyl in cases from detroit to boston. fentanyl is 50 times as powerful as heroin. and it's so powerful that an amount equivalent to a pinch of salt is powerful enough to be deadly. so we must acknowledge that the vast majority of fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine first come across our southern border, it almost all is coming across the southern
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border. and we are working with our homeland security partners to reduce and ultimately end illegal immigration which will also help us to take on transnational criminal organizations and reduce the drugs pouring across the border. we are streamlining prosecutions and targeting criminal aliens. congress has provided us, thankfully, enough funding for 100 new judges, and the recent omnibus which will help us keep up with the case load. mr. chairman, i'd like to address one matter that i know is important to the committee, the legal orientation program. you and senator shaheen both raised it with me. i reviewed the situation. and i have previously expressed some concerns about the program. and the executive office for immigration review has expressed its intent to pause two parts of the five part program pending the results of a formal review of the program.
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i recognize, however, that this committee has spoken on this matter, and out of deference to the committee, i've order thad there be no pause while the review is being conducted. and i look forward to evaluating such findings as are produced, and we'll be in communication with this committee when they are available. our explicit goal for the department of justice are to reduce violent crime, reduce the surging increase in homicides, reduce overdose deaths, and to reduce prescription opioids. i believe these priorities are the priorities of the american people. and i believe your priorities. so finally let me say, with all the strength that i can muster, no nation has a finer group of law officers than those who comprise the fbi, the dea, the atf, and the united states marshal service, they are now in 24 hours a day in every corner
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of america working courageously and faithfully to protect this nation and our people. and when we face criticism, we are not going to be defensive. when questions arise, even if misplaced, we will take necessary action to establish that concerns are either not true or take strong action against any wrongdoing. this department above all others can never get too big for its britches or think itself in any way as above the law that we must apply to others. we know the government always wins when justice is done. so, mr. chairman, i'm looking forward to discussing these matters with you and members of the committee. >> mr. attorney general, thank you very much. let me first use this opportunity to say how wholeheartedly i agree with your assessment of the law enforcement officials at the department of justice and across the country and how worthy they
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are of our respect and support, and i appreciate the sentiments that you expressed on their behave, and i would assume i join all my colleagues indicating our full faith and belief in those who work every day to protect the lives and safety of americans here at home. so thank you for those strong words. and i commend you for them. secondly, let me thank you for your response. as i indicated in my opening statement, senator shaheen and i corresponded with you in regard to the pause, legal orientation program, and i want to thank you for your recognition of congressional words, actions. the pause would be in contra convention of this subcommittee hand full appropriations committee and congress direction no pause occur. and i appreciate you again recognizing the rule of law and your support for members of this committee and our desire to see that program continue. so thank you for the response
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that you gave us here today. i'm pleased to hear it. now, let me turn to my questions. let me first say that opening statements by other members of the subcommittee can be made part of your seven minutes or made as a request by unanimous consent to be made part of the record. let me ask about the census. mr. attorney general, this past december the department of justice sent an official letter to the census bureau requesting it reinstate a question on the citizenship status to the 2020 census forms. this subcommittee also has jurisdiction over the funding of the census. so just let me give you the opportunity to explain why the department made this request, and will you elaborate on how the data gathered would be used? >> i would be pleased to discuss it as much as i can.
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the matter is in litigation, so i have some handicap in discussing all matters that you might be interested in. the census, i believe, it's common sense, and it would be appropriate to ask whether or not an individual being surveyed is a citizen of the united states or not. it had previously been in the census and remains a part of the annual survey that's done. so i this i that's where we are. it can help us in determining a number of issues, particularly in our civil rights division, and our attorneys have compiled some legal reasons we think that would justify that question and would be pleased to send that to you. >> general, thank you very much. let me turn to the cops program. your fy 19 request proposes transfer the cops office -- i'm
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sorry the cops office to the department office of justice programs. but in executing this transfer the program itself will take a $176 million reduction from fy 18 enacted levels. as you know the cops program has received broad bipartisan support from this committee in the past and attorney general could you explain to me, to the committee, why this restructuring is useful or necessary? >> well, it is popular with this committee, and popular with the congress. most presidents often have not been as supportive as the congress has. so once again our budget is below the request you had requested. we do believe that we can save money and provide more money for the grants themselves by consolidating the comps program in the bureau of office of justice programs and its sub
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component bureau of statistics. they have the infrastructure and capability of managing grants and we think that would be good move. it would not undermine the program. it's very popular with our law for for enforcement officers and recommending more money available to them for violence in schools. >> thank you for your response. let me turn to high intensity drug trafficking areas. your fy 19 request you propose to transfer the hida program from the office of national drug control policy under the executive office of the president to the drug enforcement administration. so hida initiatives provide assist thans through state
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grants operating in areas determined to be critical drug traffickings region in the united states, including uc unfortunately several in kansas. often they work hand in hand with the drug enforcement. i know some are dedicated solely to the hida program. while i understand the rational for transporting the program to dea, i also recognize the concerns expressed by some of my colleagues and certain law enforcement entities in kansas that this transfer may hamper an important and successful grant program by moving it to an agency with no grant making experience. can you address these concerns? and elaborate on why you believe that this problematic shift is necessary? >> chairman moran, the president challenged all of us to seek to improve the efficiency and productivity of the government. you are correct that dea and the
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hida organization have worked closely together for many, many years. i guess, actually since the beginning. i remember when it was created. the hida reports through are two ondpc. the office of national drug control policy. that is a policy function. bill bennett was the first i believe director. and it was supposed to coordinate the various federal agencies that deal with drugs. and to make sure that our budgets were properly constructed of all, whether the state department, defense department, or health and human services, wherever money is being spent on drugs. so i think it is a better organizational structure that that function of ondpc remain as its priority and the investigation investigating and prosecuting cases be done through the dea. but the hida teams, the hida
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people, the community leaders that form the councils that lead the hidas will remain in effect. the only difference would be that the grant money would come out of -- be managed through dea and we hope that would engender a closer relationship. >> general, thank you. it's now my opportunity to recognize the ranking member of the subcommittee for her questioning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you attorney general seeg see sessions on the legal program. i'm pleased to hear you have responded to the concerns we have raised. >> i would just point out one of the other requests in the letter was methodology efficiency study under way. so i would hope that we-tinformn would be forthcoming as soon as
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" it's available. >> i'll make sure that happens. >> okay. i want to follow up on one of his questions hida program because that's has been important in new hampshire, and i'm sure when you were there how helpful it's been in helping us address our opioid epidemic and actually capturing some of the drugs that has been coming across the border into new hampshire. and i appreciate the interest inefficiency, although i've heard from the folks who participate in hida in new hampshire that they are very happy where they are. but my question is, as senator moran pointed out, and as you acknowledge, the dea is not a grant making agency. so what is the plan for managing funding with this proposed move? >> well, we at the department of justice have tremendous experience in grant programs, in managing. we will be very supportive of dea, which is our subordinate
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agency, and helping them to establish that kind of activity. but, again, i would say the actual funding, of course, will be congress's decision. the leadership and the hida community organizations would remain the same, but the grant money would be managed from dea, which i do believe would help make that a tighter and better relationship but still have their own independence and own leadership teams. but i think it could enhance that. and i do believe odnpc probably never was cree eigated to be a program of this kind. >> so any assessment what the cost of setting up that grant making that mechanism would be within dea? >> i believe there is some expense in the initial set yup,
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b -- set up, but i believe we could do the grant program, certainly no more expense than currently exist, and maybe better with our deep experience in grant making in the department of justice. so it would go from the basically the white house ondcp office to the department of justice. >> well, i look forward to hearing more about that. as i said in my opening statement, i am hearing from police chiefs throughout new hampshire about their concern that the expected funding from the burn jag program has not yet been forthcoming. so the 7th circuit released their decision on april 19th that the justice department exceeded its legal authority in placing conditions on burn jag. when you and i discussed this on the phone, you pointed out that win or lose, those grants would go out. so i just wondered what i should tell the police chiefs in new hampshire about when they might
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expect shaheen, we intend to get that money out sooner is better than later. but the litigation is an important piece of litigation. and we placed only the most minor of requirements on the grant program. we asked our state and local partners if you want to get the burn law enforcement grant, we ask them to do two things. one was to give us notice 48 hours before an illegal alien who you've arrested for some crime is released, and to allow us to pick that individual up at the detention facility. rather than releasing them on the streets and having our i.c.e. officers and others have to find a criminal that needs to be arrested. and that's a very dangerous thing, places law officers at risk. that's what the homeland security officials pleaded with us to ask for. so we paired it down to a
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minimal thing we ask of them. we didn't ask the police to interview people. we didn't ask them to arrest people for us or anything like that. only to give us notice before release and to allow us to pick the individual up. far more safely at the detention facility. >> well, this is a long standing congressionally mandated formula grant program. so why does doj think it can place conditions on this program that's been operating for so many years based on the mandate that congress has given it? and could you also address whether you plan to hold on funding for fiscal year '18 in the same way that how far been holding it for '17? >> well, to the first part of your question. this is a statute congress passed. 34 usc 1010206.
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and it says the assistant attorney general of ojp shall exercise such powers and functions as may be invested in the assistant attorney general pursuant to this chapter or by delegation of the attorney general, including placing special conditions on all grants and determining priority purposes for formula grants. so we felt when we went to court that these minor conditions for receiving a federal grant were very reasonable and deeply disappointed that the court has not at least to this moment seen itself able to agree. and we'll of course abide by the law, but we do want to review the situation and see if we cannot improve it. >> and i'm out of time. but just briefly, i know that doj filed another motion with the 7th circuit on april 23rd. so do you expect to continue to
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go all the way up to the supreme court with your motions if you are denied again in the 7th circuit? >> i'll have to talk with our lawyers. they worked hard on this case. and we have not seen -- so one thing about it, it's one thing to deal with the merits, it's another matter to deal with the preliminary injunction. so we have an injunction that i think went beyond the law in the sense that the case was first raised in chicago. had its own unique set of laws and policies. but the judge issued an order bound the entire united states. many of those perfectly happy to comply with these requirements of the department of justice. so it's a frustrating matter. it's like a big deal. and i just would -- i think i have to say i have been
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appreciative of our law enforcement leaders who i think by and large agree that these minimum requirements are legitimate. so they have been patient with us. but i am worried about it. we are working hard to bring it to a conclusion. >> well, thank you. i appreciate that for states like new hampshire where we have no sanctuary cities it puts us at a special disadvantage. >> thank you. i recognize senator leahy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. . attorney general, last week i sent you a letter regarding your commitment to recuse any future investigation of any matters related in any way to the campaign for president. are you recused from the federal investigation of the president's attorney michael cohen which purpose he had
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purpose -- purportedly relates to possible campaign violation? >> senator, lehigh i'm honoring the recusal in every case and every matter that comes before the department of justice. the i've committed to that in my confirmation hearing and i have honored that and i'll continue to honor that. >> does it include michael cohen? >> it is the policy of the department of justice that those who have recused themselves not state the details of it or any -- or confirm the existence of an investigation or the scope or nature of that investigation. >> i understand that. >> and so i feel i'm following the rules of the department which i'm trying to teach all our people to do, that i should not taens that question. it would be inappropriate for me
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to do so. >> i know the question was not a surprise to you nor is your answer a surprise to me. but recusal is not discretionary. it's required by justice department regulations when you have a political relationship with the president which you've already acknowledged. and the president has a specific and substantial interest in the investigation. now, the federal judge granted the president's request to formally intervene in this matter, which is here in judge kimbal woods orders. and i'll be glad to give you a copy of this if you'd like. but judge wood allows the president to intervene. so he is a member -- or he is part of that investigation. and i would suggest he has a specific and substantial
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interest. so wouldn't by justice department regulations, doesn't that require you to be recused? >> senator leahy, i am required to be recused from any matter involving the substance of the cases, matters that you raised in your opening statement, absolutely. and i'll comply with that. but it is a policy of the department that if you get in to discussing the details of those matters, you can reveal the existence, scope, or breadth or nature of a matter that might be inappropriate. i think the best answer for me given it some thought is to say i should not ha nouns that.
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in fact, recusals that happen all the time in the department are not made public, but they are internally binding. >> have you sought any advice or career ethics officials whether you should or should not recuse yourself in the current matter? >> i have sought advice on those matters. and i have not met with the top ethics person on it t but i can assure you i've not violated my recusal. >> and you do agree that the justice department regulations require recusal when you have a political relationship with somebody who has the specific and substantial interest in the investigation? that is basically the regulation, is it not? >> that is the regulation, i believe, 600.1.
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that's the regulation that i felt required me to recuse myself. >> as reported last week, you told the white house counsel you would consider resigning as attorney general if the president fired deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. i'm not going to ask about that conversation. but if the president were to improperly fire either the deputy attorney general that supervised the russia investigation, or the special counsel, would you resign in opposition? >> senator lee hay, that calls for a speculative answer and i can't answer that. >> even though it answers? you don't have to answer that. are smile answers the question. and lastly you've been asked
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about lp. whatever studies is being done there, that would be open and transparent, will it not? >> we will do so. and, look, i have some doubts about that program. the committee believes in that program. we'll talk about it. and before any action occurs. >> yeah. because we have appropriated the money and we have directed the program to go forward. so i would hope that you do not take any action on it without being in touch with the committees, both the senior republicans, and senior democrats of the committees that have instructed. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator from maine, senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and let me first congratulate you. and i very much look forward to working with you and the ranking
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member. mr. attorney general, before i turn to my questions, i want to thank you for your leadership on an issue that matters greatly to me. and that is fried scams directed against our senior citizens. you've really taken a leadership role on this. i know the department announced in february that more than 250 defendants had been charged with scamming more than a million americans for a total amount in excess of a half a billion dollars. it's an issue we have been trying to get the department to pay attention to for a number of years and i really much appreciate your leadership. i'd now like to turn to my questions which might not be as pleasing to my ears as my thank you. the administration has now lost third daca case in federal
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court. that program and the fate of the group of young people for whom there is pretty wide consensus that we should try to help, continues to be clouded by uncertainty. given the repeated failures in court, and the fact that the president has repeatedly indicated that border security remains a high priority for him, wouldn't it make sense for the administration to revisit the bipartisan daca compromise that was proposed earlier this year that received 54 votes on the senate floor, which would have funded the president's border security program in its entirety, while providing a pathway to citizenship for daca young people who have good
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records? >> sflenator collins, i do belie there is an opportunity for legislation by congress. i served 20 years on your side of the table. my feeling is that that's possible. i've said that in a number of hearings that i've been in since i've been attorney general. so i think that's possible. i would say that two district courts, one in new york and california, did issue injunctions stopping the simple removal of the memoranda, really is all it was, of the homeland security, to enact daca. daca was basically rejected by congress. congress did not pass it. and the president had said repeatedly he could not do it on his own. but once it was not passed in congress, then the president got
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his homeland security team to enact this matter. i think it was unlawful. it's pretty much the finding of the 5th circuit in related case involving daca. and there was a court in maryland that rejected this kind of injunction. so three courts ruled on this daca. two said it was not sustainable. and one said it was. so we believe that the right thing is legislation. i would like to see law enforcement -- look, i'll be frank. in my view, it's a plan that will end the illegalalty, along with some relief from the daca, young people is possible. it can be done. and the president has layed out a number of options, and it's
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been unfortunate that it hasn't come together. >> well, mr. attorney general, many of us on this panel worked very hard to try to get that done and to put daca in law. and i think that had the department of homeland security not issued a very misleading press release the night before the vote, accompanied by a veto threat by the president, we were there. at one point i could count the 60 votes. but we want to legislate in that area, i agree with you that it should be legislated. and i hope that with the court rulings, that there is an extra impetus for the administration to work with us. and it's also an opportunity for the president to get a very high priority of his in strengthening the border, which we also need
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to do. so i thank you. >> senator, let me say, i think this is doable. but it cannot be done if we haven't fixed the illegal immigration flow. my concern about the bill that you referred to was it did not sufficiently close the loop holes and fix some of the problems that we have. if we can get that done, i think the possibility of a successful legislation would be great. that's what the president said. and i think it can be done. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator shots. >> thank you, mr. chairman. congratulations mr. chairman. i'm looking forward to work wg you. i'll miss you on the subcommittee but i understand and forgive you. mr. attorney general, thank you for being here. i want to follow up on a question that chairman moran asked about the citizenship
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question on the census. communities of color, advocacies -- excuse me advocacy organizations around the census are frankly worried that the presence of that question is going to discourage participation in immigrant communities. and i understand that it's on the long form and i understand it's not without precedent we are doing that but i have two questions for you. first, how do you respond to those communities of color who are worried that this will simply scare people to not respond to the census at all? number one. and number two is, you indicated that the civil rights division wants the data, and i'm wondering why? >> i'll be glad to send you the letter we produced regarding the issue of advantages of it, having the information. i do float that it is being
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asked on t asked -- i do note that it is being asked on the other survey. and i would suggest that i've learned it's the 12th question on the form, the last question, i believe. it shouldn't scare people. they don't have to answer it, really. so i would think that that's a very reasonable thing. and i believe the concerns of it are overblown. >> okay. let's move on. i really appreciate what you are doing on opioids and i am easily pleased this committee and others are working bipartisan fashion to solve this problem. and i want you to interpret the following line of questioning not in an adversarial way. i want to ask you about medical marijuana. and i want to tell you i'm the son of a principal investigator
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and i came to marijuana with great skepticism. but there are credible scientific studies that show where medical marijuana is legal, opioid deaths have gone down and these studies are published in the journal of the medical association and the rand organization with the institute drug abuse. the opioid epidemic is major crisis. and i'm wondering whether you think, given your history, as a successful conservative politician with a certain set of beliefs about marijuana in particular, whether given two things happening at once, there is all kinds of new data that shows inverse correlation between the availability of medical marijuana and opioid deaths and opioid prescriptions and opioid illegal activity, and your commitment to try to reduce this opioid epidemic, do you
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have at least an aperture to look at these data and reconsider your opposition to medical marijuana and marijuana in general? >> medical marijuana as one physician told me, whoever heard of taking a medicine when you have no idea how much medicine you are taking and ingesting it in the fashion that it is, which is in itself unhealthy. however, i think there can be, there may well be some benefits for medical marijuana. and it's pure effectually appropriate to study that. i do not believe at this point that -- i think one study that suggested that there is some sort of inverse relationship between increased marijuana use and reducing of deaths. i did see that.
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i've asked my staff to take a look at it because science is very important. and i don't believe that will be sustained in the long run. america medical association is absolutely resolutely opposed to marijuana use. i think so the paid at rick association. so it's matter of science. >> sure. my final question called for applications to produce more federally approved research grade marijuana. since then the department of justice has received 25 applications but none of them have been responded to either with approval or denial. what is the status of those applications? >> we are moving forward. and we will add fairly soon, i believe, the paperwork and reviews will be completed, and we will add additional suppliers of marijuana under the controlled circumstances. but there is a lot of people didn't know, i didn't know, a
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treaty, international treaty of which we are a member that requires certain controls in that process. and the previous proposal violated that treaty. we have now gotten language, i believe, complies with the treaty, and we'll allow this process to go forward. >> if the chair will indulge me one final comment. we are all evolving on this issue, some quicker than others, maybe some too quick. and i really believe that we have to do this in the proper way. i think there are good civil rights reasons for decriminalizing and for pursuing a federalist approach around this. but if we are narrowly addressing the question of whether or not this is medicine, then we do need the department of justice, fda, and everybody to work together to pursue that question, double blind studies and all. and i also think we need to understand we are in a humanitarian crisis whether it comes to opioid epidemic wri
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means we may have to cast aside some of the things that we believed all of our lives as it relates to other drugs and look at harm reductionment and i appreciate you keeping an open mind along those lines. >> thank you, senator shatz. >> senator, thank you. senator from oklahoma, senator lankford. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me add to that kfrngs a little bit before i jump into questions. i'm one of the skeptical individuals that so far has not evolved on this issue of marijuana. i have a hard time believing if only more of our parents smoked more marijuana our kids and families would be so much better and employment would be so much better if more of our employees smoked more marijuana. i have a hard time believing that. as far as med inial issues this is issue this nih has done work on. it has several billions dollars that appropriations has allocated to them to be able to study pain medication that is are nona tick tive to try to address that. was entirely appropriate to do. we have an opioid epidemic.
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i've not stwap an opioid epidemic switch to marijuana hand say we solved the problem. we didn't solve the problem long-term. so i would love to continue to maintain this. there are ways to manage other different kinds of thing to manage pain. but our preference would be our nation doesn't become more addicted to marijuana to solve our opioid addiction. with that let me mention a couple of things. budget related you made recommendations moving some things around specifically with atf. and i'd like to get a chance to talk to you more about that what proposals are you making with atf in particular to work on some of that? >> atf originally came out of department of treasury because revenue collected revenue. the old moon shining chasing atf guys because you weren't paying taxes on your moon shine. so that's the history of it. but over the years atf has
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shifted far more to being in the frontline agents on violent crime, bombs, explosives, arson, and firearms. so that's where the trend has gone. so this agreement i think is a smart one. it moves the tax part of atf that still exists back to treasury, and keeps a leaner, more focused atf on firearms and explosives in the department of justice. >> how long do you think it would take to make that transition? >> i think we can do it within the year. we would expect to if our congress would approve it. atf has accepted it. their leadership is supportive. so i believe it's something it would be good, it would be efficient, and a smart realignment of resources. >> okay. any other areas of realignment of resources that you'd recommend with dea, atf, fbi of those that you would recommend similar to that? >> well, we made a number of
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recommendations for consolidation in bureau of prisons, made some within some of the regional offices of community relation service. we have had a number of other changes that we are proposing. >> all right. >> we believe that every dollar that we can properly expend at the point of the sphere effectively carrying out the taxpayer desire rather than feedi feeding a bureaucracy is good for america and that's our goal. >> that would be helpful. your predecessor eric holder had multiple conversations over the years about atf and processes how they do an investigation. fbi has one set of processes atf has another. it came out most evident in the fast and furious time period around 2010 and 11 when there was a close examination of the processes that atf went through to do that investigation for fast and furious. and the fbi agents immediately stepped up and said we would never be allowed to do what atf
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did. so during that time period a lot of kfrngss i had with eric holder is there a study to look at to try to figure out if these two processes need to be more aligned if atf needs to have structure like fbi. eric holder said he would look into it but i don't think i got pa report look noog that. can you take a look into that? if we have good established process sz why do we have two different sets of pros es cesses in two different entities? >> i would be glad to discuss that with you and see what kind of problems exist. i don't think there is any processes that should have justified fast and furious where assault weapons are allowed to walk, as we call it, across the border. >> that was the in um one thing i heard from fbi. >> i don't know how that happened yet. i know you dug into probably anyone as deeply in congress.
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so thank you for that. >> let me ask one more strange question. are we out of crime victim needs? so the crime victims fund is out there. it has about $10 billion sitting in it. do we have that fully established all crime victim issues taken care of and we don't need to allocate additional dollars towards that area? >> dplo. >> that $10 billion set there is called changes in mandatory program year after year. and had fake spending year after year. i did notice in your budget you are recommending that we not use that as a pay for, that we set a ceiling on that spending, save that money for crime victims, and not try to shift that over to somewhere else. >> our budget would eliminate that procedure. it's something i've opposed but it's stuck. perhaps as a member of this committee something might happen. but it's something that's continued for a long time. we propose fixing that problem.
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>> i met yesterday with a group of crime victims. and they had a real concern that that money is used not for crime victims but used for a gimmick in congress. and they would love to see that money actually go to crime victim organizations and uses for that. with that, i yield back. >> thank you. senator, thank you. senator von holland. >> thank you, mr. chairman, congratulations and i look forward to working with you and others. mr. attorney general, welcome. and i want to associate myself with the comments of senator collins with respect to daca and that's obviously part of an ongoing discussion, but we have to address this critical issue. we all have an interest in protecting the integrity of the justice department. and as a member of the senate judiciary committee, you made a statement at a hearing that i thoroughly agree with, and i'm kwoelting, the power to pardon is a legitimate power. it is one that ought to be exercised with great care. and then you ended it saying i believe in the role of the
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pardon attorney, unquote. the pardon attorney is an office within the doj, is it not? >> it is a position in the department of justice. >> and can you think of any pardon during the eight years of the obama administration that did not go through the office of the pardon attorney? >> i don't recall. i know a number did during the clinton administration. >> starting with the obama administration. i don't think there was one. >> i don't know actually. >> and i don't think there was a single pardon during the presidency of george w. bush that did not go through the office, the pardon office. and you are right the comment you made was in connection with pardons made by president clinton. but my question to you is do you stand by that statement that you made back during that hearing, that the pardon attorney -- the pardon power ought be to be executed with great care and you believe with the role in that
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process? do you stand by that statement? >> i don't think that statement needs modifying. but it's obviously in context that the president of the united states clearly has the constitutional power to do a pardon. >> i understand. >> let me finish. execute pardons without inquiring of the pardon attorney. it's been done very infrequently in history. >> mr. attorney general -- i'm not dispute tg the president's pardon authority. i'm just quoting a statement you made that i agree with with respect to the role of the pardon attorney. and at the time you made comments in the hearing saying that not going through that process was an abuse of power. so my question to you is whether or not you think not going through the pardon attorney is an abuse of the power? not an unauthorized power, but do you think it's an inappropriate use of that power? >> i don't know use i use that phrase abuse of power but clearly not.
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clearly within the power of the president to execute pardons without the pardon attorney. if you are doing a the lo of pardons and want to have a lot of cases and you want to have them reviewed by independent pardon attorney provides a real asset to a chief executive before executing a pardon. >> did the pardon of sheriff joseph a par owe go through the pardon office? >> i don't believe it did. >> did the pardon of scooter libby go drew that pardon office? >> i don't believe it did. >> but do you agree with what you said earlier, that that is the appropriate course of action for a pardon? i'm not asking you what the president's authority s i'm asking you what you think the appropriate course of action is to make sure that the public has confidence in the integrity of the process? >> there are opportunities that the pardon attorney can be utilized very effectively. and it has been over time.
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but i don't think it's in anyway required that any president -- >> it's not a requirement. i'm quote frg a statement you made saying it was abusive process in a particular case made by president clinton. let me ask you about something else that i also think we agree on in part. >> well, i would just say that pardons that president clinton were made were stunning, shocking and unacceptable on the merits. but the power was 80 some years of age and convicted of misdemeanor. and mr. libby is well-known in the circuit court in that case. >> in both decisions. >> contributed greatly. >> what you described was the appropriate pros stes. let me ask you about psp which is a program established by the administration to help fight violent crime, one that i support. the city of baltimore was invited to apply in a letter from the justice department back
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in 2017, the justice department said to the city, we have concluded you have jurisdictions natural violence. they they got the three criteria listed by the department with respect to what you are referred to as sanctuary cities. and the city's application was denied. here's what i want to say at this point in time. baltimore city does not have jurisdiction over the detention centers in baltimore city. that's a state of maryland decision. so we may have differences on the criteria you set out with, and as senator shaheen said the 7th sir yet has reviewed that, and i think those decision also ra ply also to your criteria in the national public safety partnership program. but setting that a side, i hope you'll work with me on this baltimore city, we have a violent crime program, and the city of baltimore does not have
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the laws or state laws regarding dhs, access the department of homeland security the jail. so i ask for your commitment if we can look for a way to see if they can qualify for the funds? >> i would be glad to do that. we have had some -- i think more than one, at least one -- circumstance in which the jo was run by somebody else other than the jurisdiction. so that created a problem and actually led to the approval on the grant. so i'll be glad to look at that. >> thank you. >> senator, thank you. senator murkowski. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and to both you and the ranking member know i look forward to work wgwg -- working with you. mr. attorney general, it's good to see you again. thank you for the conversation last week. i wanted to raise again with you the subject of marijuana. alaska is one of those states
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that has moved forward not only with the medical marijuana but also the sail and cult vie tags of recreational use, a very aggressive state regulation. this was not something that i had supported through that statewide initiative. in fact, i worked against it. but it was passed resoundly through the state. my constituents expect me to work to represent them. mr. chairman, i'd like unanimous consent to enter into the record a resolution recently passed by the alaska legislature. >> without objection. >> this is hjres 21 passed unanimously out of both houses and urges the federal government to respect the authority of the state of alaska to regulate marijuana use, production, and distribution, and generally respects states rights. mr. attorney general, we have talked about this in the aftermath of your decision to withdraw the coal memorandum.
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i had been disappointed with that. and expressed that i was concerned that the department of justice was less than a full partner with the states. i do understand that the white house has expressed support for legislation that will respect state supremacy when it comes to regulation in the spirit of federalism. i think that the comments that were made by my colleague from hawaii in terms of members evolving on this is important, but i do think as we are seeing the states move forward, legislation like this is timely. the states are telling us, though, that they need the department of justice to be a partner in the orderly administration of states regulatory regimes and not standing in the way as an obstacle. so i understand your position on this. again, we've had many conversations. but i would hope that we could have your assurance that within
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the department of justice, that the department will not be an obstacle to the consideration of this sort of legislation that may move forward. >> well, i can't make a commitment about what position we would take at this time until we know exactly what's involved. but it's not so much on a question of supremacy as a question of simple law. alaska can pass laws about drugs that make certain drugs illegal that washington does not make illegal. and, therefore, can't be prosecuted in federal court, but could be in alaska. likewise, the federal government has passed some laws regarding marijuana that i'm not able to remove from the books. congress, you have passed them. they are on the books. and i just feel like that our priorities, look, i'll be frank, our priorities fentanyl, heroin,
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methamphetamine, cocaine, people are dying by massive amounts as a result of those drugs. we have very few, almost zero, virtually small marijuana cases, but if they are a big dealer and illegally acting and violating federal law, our federal agents may work that case. i don't feel like i'm able to give a pass, some protection, some sanctuary for it. that's maybe the only difference we have at this point, and how it will play out. >> i do understand that. again, i recognize that if there is a venue or an opportunity for us to advance legislation on this that there is that open door for conversation about truly the inherent conflicts that we're seeing coming out of the states and working on the federal level. let me ask you -- >> i would be glad to look at
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it. >> -- about another case i regarded earlier and that's support for tribal justice programs. in the fy-'18 budget we were able to include a funding stream for victims of slept -- victims of crime act funds for tribes. it's a set-aside, 5% set-asides, about $130 million to help for victims on tribal lands. we had completed a study in alaska -- well, actually it was a broader study. it was a 2016 study from the national institute of justice. more than four out of five alaskan native and american indian women report having experimented violence in their lifetime. more than half report having experienced sexual violence in their lifetime and 40% have experiment experimented violence in the past year and statistics when it comes to alaska native women
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and -- and -- i think that we're making a small step forward with this small set-aside. small set-aside and first time ever to see anything going towards -- towards those on tribal -- tribal lands and in alaska where we have different issues in the sense of not having indian country but a recognition that we must address this. so, 5%, i would like to see map creased. i would hope that we'd be able to work with the department of justice to address this issue because we've not made a difference in reducing these horrible statistics. >> senator murkowski, thank you, actually for raising that. i'm hearing -- i heard that before i was confirm. you and i talked about it. i've traveled the country meeting with u.s. attorneys and
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hearing a lot in their districts and just came back from albuquerque, and we talked about the navajo tribal lands and the problems that they have. this budget, the president's budget, actually is frugal compared to -- it's a frugal budget, but it has more for tribal issues than the -- than even the 2018 budget, and it does it the way you suggested, through set-asides. a 7% set-aside is recommended for the office of justice programs. all those programs, 7% would be set aside for tribal individuals and 5% of the crime victims' fund. i believe the congress has not yet got to those numbers, but i do agree with you that it is a very difficult situation, and
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alaska has particularly an unusual situation without having specific tribal lands that receive specific funds from the government so i would be glad to continue to work with you on it. >> good. that's why so many of these funds, whether it's the burn grants, the funding, the dna backlog, the crime act, funds for children, all of these activities are so important for us. let me put those on the list. >> i would note that just yesterday i had a meeting with the united states attorney here in d.c., brian schroeder. he's on my 15-member attorneys general advisory committee and he and the u.s. attorney from northern oklahoma chair the subcommittee on indian affairs, and they -- we both talked about this specifically. they would like to see us do
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some things better than we have in the past. they are providing strong leadership, and i know he would be glad to share his thoughts with you and your staff. >> good. they are good guys. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator. the senator from california, senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and welcome back attorney general. i'm sure you miss us terribly. i want to follow up on something that senator collins said. senator collins and senator manchin essentially convened a large group of bipartisan senators on the daca situation to try to see if some proposal could be put together. virtually everything went down on the floor, and in conversations since what i've learned is that in negotiations with the president, senator schumer tried to consummate a deal where the president essentially got what he wanted with respect to border security if the daca bill went through.
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well, that was clearly not successful. you referred to certain loopholes in your conversation with senator collins. i'm wondering if you could be more precise because we are really very interested and involved in trying to find a solution. >> well, thank you. your support for this would be very important. i think there's a bipartisan opportunity to join together and say once and for all we believe we should have a lawful system of immigration, and we're going to support things that actually work to help achieve that. i've not so jokingly said for years that congress will pass anything on immigration as long as it doesn't work. if it works, somehow it never passes, but we've got the flores
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consent decree in place for 20 years causing monumental problems, particularly in california. we have the situation where you say, as the critics say, magic words and you're in. backlog case systems, people get released on bail. they don't show up for their hearings and all of that. there's a whole host of problems like that that i think most members of congress of both parties would probably work to fix. >> well, is it the number, the number in the bill that senator graham and senator durbin were co-sponsors of. i think the total number was 3.3 million. was that the problem? >> that is a big number. >> i don't know what the problem was in the bill. >> that's a problem. >> because it was discussed and discussed and discussed and then it all came a cropper in the votes, so it would be very helpful if you could be helpful to us and just identify some
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specifics that we could look at and try to put something together. >> well, i -- >> would you do that? >> that's certainly a fair request, yes, i will. >> okay. let me go on then to bump stocks. doj recently started the rule-making process to ban bump stocks under the national firearms act, and i have it in my assault weapons bill which has some 29, 30 co-sponsors right now, but atf has said for years it can't ban bump stocks because the national firearms act doesn't allow it. atf repeated this position in april of 2017 and has repeatedly stated in public that atf cannot ban bump stocks under current law. that's why we have proposed legislation to do so. how long do you expect this rule-making to take, and if you find out what we found out, will
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you support a legal ban? >> i would need to review the legislation, but we have done intensive legal research. it always seemed to me that a bump stock converts a gun to effectively a fully automatic weapon. how can this be a close call? however, i acknowledge that the lawyers that atf did a lot of research, a lot of complicated -- it's a complicated matter, and they concluded it was not. we've continued to review that. we believe we've changed that view in the department of justice, and we believe the regulation could be -- could be effective to solve the problem, and now it's up for comment now made public. hopefully that would move forward and would solve the problem. >> by when do you expect the
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rule-making will conclude? >> i think it won't be much longer. i'm not sure, but i think it's just a few months. 90 days i believe is what's left on the time. >> okay. thank you. the justice department announced a policy change one month ago indicating that it would remove records of certain fugitives from the fbi's nics background check databases. now, previously all fugitives were recorded in the nics database so they couldn't buy guns. now, only fugitives who cross state lines are included in the database. i understand that local law enforcement organizations have strongly opposed the change. it's puzzling to me as to why the department would do that, why you would want armed fugitives. >> well, the issue i'm most
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familiar with is the one involving whether or not a warrant for your arrest and a person is, therefore, a fugitive if they are running from arrest but haven't been convicted. the statute is pretty clear. you have to be convicted before you can have a gun -- your second amendment right to possess a firearm. >> even in the case that the fugitive had committed a major felony? >> apparently that is the law. in other words, you lose your right if you've been convicted of -- >> crossing state lines. i don't understand what the department sees is the need to do this. >> well, i am -- i would -- i'll review the state line question. i should know -- should be able to answer that, but i'm not able to, but i do know the warrant
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problem is a product of statutory language. >> okay. i'm over my time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator feinstein. the senator from -- the senator from arkansas. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> no, i'm correct. >> okay, good. thank you, mr. charges and thank you, attorney general sessions, for being here. we do appreciate your hard work and the great job that you're doing. >> thank you. >> i would like to talk a little bit about the burn jack also in the sense that in arkansas we're doing a good job of helping -- helping you in your efforts regarding following the law and being helpful. as i go around the state and i talk to my county sheriffs, and i talk to my local law enforcement and individuals regarding, you know, the importance of this, this is not a whole lot of money, but it really is the difference in being able to stand up the drug
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task force forces that they have. you know, these are small departments. i'm out and about as much as anybody as were you, you know, when you were a senator representing your folks, but when you talk to the people that are on the ground, again, not having this funding really is making a big difference in a very negative way. can you talk about for those states, for those kids that are doing a good job when it's going to get released? >> senator boozman, it's just maddening to us that people who totally support our i.c.e. officers and allow them to do the minimal things they ask of local law enforcement can't get this money, so what happened was a suit was filed in chicago that said that they may or may not be in violation of our grant
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conditions and they not only wanted to block us from denying chicago, they denied the whole -- the judge issues a nationwide injunction. >> right. >> and chicago's law and circumstances are unique. all these other people who comply with the department of justice, all the other people that have other different laws and backgrounds are joined by the same single federal judge, 1 out of 600. now, the whole process is stopped. law enforcement has been impacted, and we are determined to try to deal with this issue in an appropriate way. it's painful for me not to see the money go out, particularly to people who want to help us and work with us every day, but they have been pretty supportive and understanding, i've got to say, although i know it's difficult for them. so, i hear you. we're working on it. it's a high priority of mine. >> good. we appreciate that.
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and it is an important -- an important issue. another thing that i would like to talk to you a little bit about is the -- when we look at the fiscal year 2019 budget request, it would reduce the drug court funding by more than 40%, reduce veterans treatment courts by 70%. when you look at the recidivism rate as a result of being in drug court, it's dramatically lower than those people being incarcerated. also, when you put somebody in jail, you know, they are required to work when they are in drug court, but when you put somebody in jail, not only -- not only are you, you know, the recidivism rate and all that, but also the family is going to wind up probably on some sort of public welfare assistance because you've lost an income earner, and so i would really appreciate it if you would look at that and just kind of review that, look at the statistics and things.
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i think those programs, if there's an answer instead of reducing those programs, i think they should be increased dramatically. >> well, congress works its will, and we have a tight budget, but i do agree with you, senator boozman. i helped initiate the establishment of a drug court in mobile, alabama, in the early 1980s. >> right. >> one of the first in the country, and it's still in existence, and i think it's a positive thing in general. i've kept up with it over the years. it deals with the kind of state cases that are often smaller offenders, addicted offenders, single mothers, single fathers, whatever, that it's just a difficult time, and some of them can work their way through that drug court and stay with their families and save the cost of incarceration. >> you're exactly right. again, have to work, have to
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stay clean with the drug test or the judge has the hammer, you know, to actually put hem in prison. >> right. if they misbehave, they come before the judge repeatedly, and he addresses them directly. it has a real impact >> well, thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> madam chair. >> thank you, senator boozman. senator manchin, yes, senator manchin. >> thank you, madam chairman. the thank you, mr. justice. good to have you here. lets me say, first of all, i want to thank you. we had a major drug raid, and you all were very much involved in that and made it happen, and i personally want to thank you for the state of west virginia. it was a major drug wing between detroit and hupdington west virginia. you all led it, all involved it. had all agencies working together. it made a big, big impression and made a big help on us, so thank you for that, sir. >> thank you. >> also, i want to say the bureau of prisons routinely uses a process known as
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augpresidentation to assign custodial teachers to staff, teachers, plumbers and all that. at the hazleton federal correction center in west virginia, there's been over 60 major security incidents since the beginning of this year, including one inmate -- inmate's death earlier this month. i said the recently omnibus bill curtails over reliance on augmentation. people that didn't have these types of experiences and instead hire additional full-time correctional staff before continuing to augment existing staff. so despite all this, the director of bureau of prisons, mr. mark inch, sent a memo out last week stating that augmentation is an important mechanism used by our agency to operate safely and efficiently, so anything i can ask, mr. justice, what do we have to do to get mr. inch's attention and ask for some help? >> well, the augmentation has gone on for a long time, senator
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manchin. >> yeah. >> and it's an established policy, and everybody that participate in augmentation is supposed to, and i believe is also trained in the incarceration management, number up. so i -- >> this is a tough one. this is a tough prison. >> facts can be different in different situations. >> sure. >> but the augmentation program, to eliminate that would be highly expensive. means you would have to hire entirely new guard for one person to spend two hours through the lunchroom helping keep an eye on things. >> we're just understaffed. i think that's it in a nutshell, and that prison with the amount of population base we have, if you could just look into that, sir, and if your staff could give us the attention that we need that we'd be greatly
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appreciative because they are having serious problems there. staff morale is low. having a hard time keeping people because of the danger. that's all we're asking for. i know you will do that. i have another one. . proud to have fbi presence in clarksburg, west virginia, as you know, the nics unit is there. they perform a wide variety of functions such as housing the national information system where the background system is located and provides a cutting-edge study of biometrics, being a resource for cyber security and combating cyber crime. in order to protect the important work conducted at these facilities, there are approximately 75 police officers assigned to the site in clarksburg. additionally, there are about 173 other officers serving at sites in washington, d.c., quantico, virginia and new york city. because of an inadvertent error committed while drafting the legislation intended to
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establish the fbi police force, these officers, these -- they are not being receiving the same pay and benefits that they are entitled to with what jobs they are doing. i think it's a snafu when all of this was written. i mentioned this to director wray yesterday, so he knows it and his staff has it, but i wanted to also put it on your radar screen, sir, so i would just like to have, you know, your help if you will on this because it's just an unfairness in the system that we've about trying to correct. this was done in 2002. we had the code to section and everything else and whoever you want us to work with on your staff to check that out i'd be happy to do. >> well, that's a reason. request, and we'll follow up with director wray, and if we could be of assistance we will. >> the opioid addiction that we have, and we've discussed this before, trying to change the law back to where the dea can do its job. you and i have talked about it. >> right. >> and you were tell me you need
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the language from us to do that, or do you have the ability to change that? >> i appreciate the conversations we've had on it. i thought we were -- had reached an accord on the language, but if not i'll be glad to follow up and see if we can't get that done. >> yeah. >> okay. >> i appreciate your interest in leadership on it. >> well, we're ground zero. west virginia is number up. 990 deaths out of a population of 1.8 million people so we're just off the charts. but your attention is going to be greatly appreciated, but it's helping immensely. this drug raid made a big difference, and we can do more. >> the u.s. attorney mike stewart is so excited. i got a letter from him and it reminded me when i was a young u.s. attorney. he was on steroids compared to me. he was so excited. >> got a good guy. >> really fired up to make some changes there, and we're going to support him. >> he's well-liked, and he'll do
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a good job. really proud to have mike. thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> senator from south carolina, senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general, i think you're doing a very good job for our country and many of us up here a have your back and i want you to know that. >> thank you. >> as to the budget, it's a 6% reduction over fy-'18 levels. do you think now is the time to reduce the department of justice's budgets given the threats we face? >> well, we submitted a frugal budget. it comes through the office of management and budget and trying to achieve a total number for the government. >> let me just ask -- >> i would follow up to say it was submitted before the 2018 appropriations that did in fact raise -- raise -- helped give us some money extra. >> so the money you got extra you think you can spend it wisely to make -- >> we're going to work very hard to do that.
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>> thank you. >> absolutely. >> all right. the wire act. i know you've recused yourself from reviewing the wire act. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> i talked to mr. rosenstein about that months ago, and senator feinstein are very worried that a bizarre interpretation of the wire act by the obama will lead to holy hell in public spaces when it comes to internet gambling. could you please tell him to give me an answer or do i have to tell him? >> deputy rosenstein. >> i'll pass along your request. >> other than that one glitch, do you agree with me he's doing a good job? >> he works every day to do the job that he is called upon to do that got dropped in his lap -- >> do you have confidence in him? >> i do have confidence. >> i do, too. gitmo, the president issued an executive order saying he would use gitmo when appropriate. do you agree with that? >> yes. >> do you think we're ever going
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to use it in my lifetime? >> nobody -- well, you and i have spent a lot of time working on it together. since i've been attorney general and before. >> right. >> so i don't know. i'll just have to be honest with you. it could be certainly if we have a surge in arrestees. >> well, we've got 489 priss norse that we're captured from our operations around raqqa. they are going to get out of jail, in a makeshift prison held by the syrian democratic forces, not a nation state and these are really hard-core killers, some of them. two of them were the beatles, not the rock group but the beheaders. >> i do know the beatles. well, two of these people are in our custody. they are insisting on a fair process. i intend to give them one, but they cut off the heads of american citizens and our allies, and i -- i know where you're at. i would appreciate it if you
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would push the administration to live up to the president's promise to use it wisely when it comes to gitmo. would you please do that? >> i will remain focused on that. >> okay. now when it comes to the war on terror, raqqa may have been taken back, but we've got to hold it. from your point of view, the threat streams you're aware of, are they growing radical islam threat towards the homeland? >> we don't think there's been any significant reduction. i do believe general mattis deserves credit for his tactics of crushing isis, and i think a lot fewer of them got out than perhaps they intended which means there are fewer of them available to come to america to kill americans, but i think time will tell how many come out of
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that war zone and attack us. >> is this a priority -- >> there's definitely many that prefer to do that and desire to do that. >> is this a priority of your department to make sure that we're up and running when it comes to these threats? >> it is. the fbi, almost a third of its budget is national security matters. i asked them was that enough some time ago, and i was told the right answer, and the answer was, well, we've got enough because we'll assign anybody doing anything to focus on terrorism if it's a threat to us. it's our number one priority. >> one of the tools they use to recruit out of area, out of theater, is the social media outlets like facebook and other social media devices. they use it actively to recruit. i know you're aware of the recent dustup with the cambridge analytica, but terrorist organization using social media to recruit terrorism in our own
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backyard, would you support congress weighing in and trying to find some control over this? >> senator graham, i think it's a growing real problem. the fbi has a great deal of insight into this program. we want to encourage them to be forthcoming about ideas to deal with the future, but you are correct. it needs more attention. >> congratulates on the cloud act. it really helps our ally great britain, and your office was terrific, thank you. >> and senator graham was the number one advocate for that which is was one of our top priorities in the department of justice, and without your help it would not have have passed. >> senator coons. >> thank you, chairman moran, and welcome to your new position here at cjs and look forwarded to working with you and ranking member shaheen.
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mr. attorney general welcome. i enjoyed working with senator graham and think that the cloud act was an important step forward. i have three questions to ask, if i might. i think i'm the last man standing to work through them. >> as long as they occur within five minutes. >> i'll do my best. first, as you know, attorney general, my home community of wilmington has faced some significant levels of gun violence, something that the department has worked on in the past, and i've tried to find ways that the federal government can help local law enforcement to confront this challenge. i'm working with senator toomey, we've had crafted a bill called the nics denial act which recognizes someone a convicted fell op, adjudicated and determined mentally ill, convicted of domestic violence, goes into a gun shop and fills out the background check form and says yes, i can buy a gun and they are denied. that's information that would be helpful for local law enforcement to know. would you agree that's helpful for state and local law
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enforcement? >> yes, it would be. >> there would 120,000 nics denials last year. state of pennsylvania, state of virginia. they run it -- the state police run it so they know when there's a nics denial and they have prosecuted hundreds of people. my home state, about 30 others, it's run independently of state law enforcement. all this bill would do is to require notification to state law enforcement when there is a denial of a nics application. the do you think that would be a constructive step forward in terms of empowering state and local law enforcement to take timely action where a person prohibited is trying to get access to a weapon? >> i would be pleased to review that. i'm aware that you were offering something of that nature, but i haven't studied it. i think it's got potential and would be pleased to do so. we also are directing our united states attorneys to prosecute more aggressively people who lie
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to get a gun, and some of those are caught -- well, most of them are nics denials of basically people who have lied. >> we call it the lie and try offenses. >> yes, we call it the lie and try. >> the other thing i wanted to ask about is the high intensity drug trafficking program under ondcp. i worked hard to make sure newcastle delaware county, our northern most county, was included in the camden and haita area and i understand that you're looking to focus on enforcement activities but not gating addiction. the program and other dnc p programs have balanced with community enforcement efforts to fight addiction. why reinvent the wheel when
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undcp has been always providing that activity? >> this has been an area of discussion for years. we've been asked to make the government more effective. the haida investigative teams that are funded through the grant program have been a part of the ondcp, the office of drug control policy. it was set up as a policy entity, and a little bit like the national security council that says we're spending all this money. let's make sure that the departments are doing it in a right a coordinated way so we think that ondcp needs to focus back on that and that the actual management in the field of task forces that prosecute and investigate drug use is better coordinated with the dea, but the haida officials, the people
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of the local communities that serve on the haida boards would be retained. the grant money would simply be managed by tedea, and i think it would create a closer working relationship. >> i look forward to looking into that further. we may disagree on how to enact it. let me close with a few questions about the u.s. attorney's office in the southern investigation district and the investigation of michael cohen. if i understand your exchange with senator leahy. i want to make sure you understand. if you discover any connection between this investigation of mr. cohen and the allegations of russian interference or anything related to the 2016 election. would you recuse yourself? >> yes. >> thank you. >> have you discussed that investigation into mr. cohen with nip outside of doj including the president? >> i don't think in any significant -- well, i'll just say this. the communications i might have
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to anyone in the white house i believe are the kind of communications that should not be revealed. i believe i have the right and responsibility to maintain confidence in those so i'm just not able to go down that road. >> so in exerting executive privilege, they are asserting executive privilege there i'll move forward. last question. has the president or anyone in the administration discussed with you the possibility of president trump pardoning michael cohen? >> i am not able to reveal the contents of any communications i might have with the president of the united states or his top staff. >> given the previous conversation you had with senator van hollen, it's my hope that if president trump proceeded to pardon michael cohen in violation of long-standing policy and did not consult with a pardon attorney, did not consult with doj, that you would express strong objection to that and would consider resigning if that step were taken.
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hopefully, it will not come to that. thank you for the chance to question you today and thank you for your service, mr. attorney general. >> thank you, senator coons. >> mr. attorney general, we're about to conclude our hearing. we'll have a quick round -- i was hoping that senator coons would leave before i indicated the potential of a senator round. senator coons, anything you want to add to your questions for the attorney general? >> thank you very much for the opportunity. no, i've completed my questions. >> i'll recognize senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to follow up on the issue that senator graham raised about guantanamo, and he specifically mentioned the beatles. on march the 5th i sent the justice department a letter based on discussions that we have been having with families of the americans who were killed, we think, by the beatles, one of whom was a constituent of mine, james
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foley, also includedp steven sotlof and kayla mueller, and one of the things we heard very strongly from the families of those americans murdered by the terrorists, executed really, is that they wanted to see that the people who killed them were brought to justice, and they didn't feel like putting them in guantanamo where no one would know and other terrorists would not be able to see that they were brought to justice and held accountable for their deeds was an appropriate way to deal with them, so i wonder if today you can tell me if you as the attorney general and the justice department will advocate with this administration that those terrorists be brought to justice either in some international venue or in civilian courts in
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the united states. >> well, i believe i can say with certainty that they will be brought to justice. there has been a discussion. senator graham, for example, believes, and he's stated this for years. he's actually on his military diet, spent time in prisons in afghanistan in places so he's an expert, and he thinks the normal and best procedure is for people to be brought to guantanamo where they are not -- as prisoners of war, that they can be interrogated as normal prisoners of wars. they are not provided attorneys and not set for trial and don't get discovery from the government and then if a decision is made to bring them to the united states for trial or tried by military commission in guantanamo, that's the best approach. i have advocated that with him when i was in the senate. so that's my general view of it.
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we have had success bringing -- trying a lot of these cases in federal court even though the rules of evidence are stricter. the discovery rules require the government to produce more evidence, sometimes can tend to reveal how they got caught and how techniques of catching them and our intelligence that way, but we are -- there's no dispute about these individuals being brought to trial. i have been disappointed frankly that the british, they were british citizens. they renounced their citizenship, were rejected or had it pulled, but they are not willing to try the cases but tend to want to tell us how to try them, so -- and they have certain evidence that we need, so it's a complex matter. we are spending a good deal of time on it. i believe you can say with confidence that we expect to
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have these individuals tried and held accountable for their horrific acts. >> well, thank you, and as you point out we've been successful in federal court when we brought those terrorist cases before the court, and, in fact, we've been more successful in civilian courts than we have in military tribunals, and i would urge you and the administration to take into account the wishes of the families who lost their loved ones because of those terrorists, and not provide another opportunity for terrorists to be able to use guantanamo as a recruiting tool, so i -- i certainly hope you will do that. i would like to change the subject now to -- there's been -- there's been a number of questions here relative to your recusal from issues relating to the 2016 presidential campaign and the work of special counsellor mueller. and i do have a couple of
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general questions that i hope you can answer despite your recusal from questions regarding the mueller investigation. outside of minister conduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest or other good cause, the conditions outlined in 28 cfr 6 up, can the attorney general or his designee fire a special counsel? >> well, let me just say this. i expected somebody would press this, but i -- i am recused from that matter and there's one matter at stake and i'm recused from that, so i believe it's not appropriate for me to opine or give my thoughts at this point
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given the fact that i'm recused. so i appreciate your inquiry, but i think that it is not appropriate for me to comment. >> so will you also not comment on whether in your legal view the president can fire a special counsel appointed under the same regulation? >> i feel the same way about that question. >> okay. mr. chairman, if i can just ask up more question with. i know i'm over my time. >> please continue. >> i want to go back to the census questions because you have talked about -- and there have been some questions about the citizenship question that is on -- to be included in the next census. my understanding is that the last time this question wad included in the census was in 1950, and so i -- i have a question about why now the justice department feels like it needs to include that question.
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the answer that i've been given is that because it's used in enforcing the voting rights act, but since we haven't used it since 1950, why is it necessary now, and does the justice department plan on using the information from the question for immigration enforcement? >> well, we've submitted a written statement about that. the matter is under litigation today, and i am reluctant and it really wouldn't be appropriate for me to discuss the merits and argue the pros and cons about it if you'll forgive me on that, but we have a written document to the census bureau, and they are -- we are representing them in court. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator shaheen. the senator from louisiana. the. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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general, i think you're doing a wonderful job. i'm going to tell you that first. >> thank you. >> you're a better man than i am. i can tell you you've shown a lot of patience. you know, first they want you to recuse yourself and then they want you to answer questions about it. you and i have talked about this before, you know. we are a nation of immigrants which we're proud of. you know, i think we let in more folks from other countries into our country than any other nation, and it's -- i'm flattered that people want to come here. i mean, when is the last time you read about somebody trying to sneak into china? you know, they want to come here, and that's great. but we're a nation of laws, and we're not following our laws on immigration. is there anything we can do
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about sanctuary cities in terms of legislation that would help you? >> absolutely. for example, i think we could authorize explicitly, i thought it was already sufficiently authorized, but explicitly authorize or pass legislation that mandates a cooperative relationship with state and local areas. also -- >> i would have thought that that would be implicit, you know. >> you know, senator kennedy, there's nothing like the improvement we've seen in law enforcement. you have -- in louisiana you've got cities, you've got parishes and cities and all these jurisdictions each have their borders and jails, and we honor each other's holes and hold
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people until they can come pick them up because there's charges in another jurisdiction or to another state or to the federal government, and this is an ideological open borders radical policy that a city or a county refuses after they have apprehended somebody who has entered the country unlawfully, who has committed perhaps a major crime. they refuse to honor the i.c.e. officers who they come to pick them up, and that means the i.c.e. overs having to out in the community, place themselves and maybe neighbors at risk to try to apprehend sometimes dangerous criminals, and i cannot agree to that. i cannot accept having our officers placed at that kind of risk, and it's important matter. it's not had a little matter, and i think these cities need to re-evaluate what they are saying. i don't think they know what they are saying. i don't think they understand
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the implications of them to cooperate with brother and sister officers like our ice officers. we cooperate with them, and that's why we've been -- that's been a part of the 30-year decline in crime is this partnership between federal and state officers. this is the biggest breach of that relationship i've seen in my 40 years of law enforcement. >> well, it just strikes me -- i mean, we've talked a lot lately about the rule of law and the mueller investigation which i'm not going to ask you to comment on because you did correctly recuse yourself. we talked a lot about the rule of law, but it doesn't seem to apply when we talk about immigration laws. there are parts of immigration law i don't agree with, but i'm going to follow it, and i'm going try to help my colleagues and federal, state or local government to follow it until we change it, if we ever change it.
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and i just don't get it. i'm sorry, i don't. i understand the politics of it. but when you have the mayor of a city pick up the phone and, you know, tip off some folks who are in violation of federal law that they may be arrested, you know. the federal agents are coming in. i don't understand a world like that. i don't. >> well, it -- if a person can cross the border on monday and end up in san francisco on wednesday hauling dope and gets arrested with cocaine or heroin, why would not the city want the i.c.e. after they have served their time to take them out of the country like the law contemplates? i find, like you, that's amazing. i also want to thank you -- >> we're spending billions and billions. i think i saw a figure of 36 billion. that may be inaccurate. my memory is bad that we spend on border enforcement but if you get through, and i'm sorry, in
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my state if you can make it to new orleans you're home free, and i know our mayor disagrees with us on that, but it's an attitude. anyway, if there's -- i'll call you separately. i want to stay within my time, but thank you for your service. >> thank you, and thank you for being alert to this issue and helping us and raising it. >> general sessions, i think we're about to conclude. let me ask just a couple of follow-up questions that i have. the department has requested funding for 75 new immigration judges and support staff to help alleviate the immigration court system backlog. as you would know, this committee provided funding for 100 addition a.m. immigration judges in the fy-'18 omnibus. can you explain how these additions will enable the court to decrease that backlog and also speak to the expedited hearing process that the department has developed? >> we've had a real problem for
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a number of years. in 2014, we only had 284 judges. with this funding we believe we'll hit 559. that still may not be the on the much number, but it's a monumental improvement. we simply have more and more individuals who are making facial claims for asylum or other relief that justifies hearings, and it's just placing more and more stress on it. we have to be able to have prompt hearings, give people fair adjudication and really they need to be held in custody until the hearing is over because when you release them from custody, because you can't bring them to speedy trial that they are entitled to, you can be ordered by the courts to release them and they aren't coming back
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for trial. it's a loophole of monumental proportions, and there are a number of them, but that's one of the biggest, and the judge -- more judges will -- i can't tell you how appreciative we are to the congress for doing that. it also helps the -- the legitimate immigrant claimant to get his or her case heard promptly. >> well, general, i have a lot to learn in this new capacity. one of the surprises was to learn that the executive office of immigration review utilizes a manage president system that's based on paper, and your request includes $25 million to include an electronic case management system. can you tell us about how this will work and what a difference it will make? >> we are looking to get more productivity and more legitimate and a better decision-making
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process from our judges, and we think the $it a million will pay for itself many times over, and we would appreciate that reform, and i believe it will help the system considerably. >> is this a one-time request, or will there be additional requests for funding for this purpose in the future? >> i think the initial costs will be the most significant. whether we'll have the annual costs in the budget line item or not i don't know. probably so. >> are you aware of other places within your department in which you're still operating off of a paper-based system? >> i think the -- we're working to improve the atf process by which firearms. and their serial numbers are noted. that's not sufficiently computerized either, and it slows that down and costs money we think in the long run so we
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would like to be able to get a much quicker turnaround on that, and we're planning to improve that system also. >> let me ask finally about a spend panel. i look forward to receiving the department's spend plan that's required by section 532 of the cjs bill. as you know, several programs within the department such as veterans courts and tribal assistance grant programs received a significant increase. we talked a bit about that in the conversation that you had with one of my colleagues. they received a $14 million increase and $35 million increase respectively. as we also indicated, there's a fix nics and stop act passed in the omnibus bill and which i hope will be outlined in your spend plan, how you intend to spend and implement those laws, and additionally the appropriations committee included 3.3 billion to fight
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against opioid and prescription drug abuse crisis. of this amount 299.5 million was specifically included for the department to fund anti-opioid grant programs. can you speak to the type of comprehensive planning and initiatives that the department has undertaken to ensure these investments will have a maximum benefit. >> i can. we're excited about that. i will share to you, chairman and ranking member, we are determined to use that money quickly. we don't needham ham waiting or without having its deaths reduced. we've got a series of ideas with dea such that we can extend people from 67 to age 60. if we go through the normal hiring process, it may be two or three years before we get to the numbers that we are authorized
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to get to. so we could do that. we can take even people who have already retired can work 20 years -- 20 hours a week. we're thinking about contracting with state and local police departments to -- with people who have retired from them, experimented narcotics officers, very highly experienced, we could contract with them and the dea has at my request in meeting with ron patterson and rob patterson he's on top of it. we're going to have 400 added to task forces that we'll be able to fund that, so i guess what i -- by may 7th i believe is the date, we are -- intend to have you a plan. deputy rosenstein and i have talked about it. our jmd leader who is behind me and helping me and has been at this for many years. we're determined to try to meet
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that goal and have plans that we can use the money that you've given us and not three years from now but now because we face a crisis. >> general, thank you. i had expected that perhaps a more proforma response to my question, and i'm pleased to see that you're moving with alacrity. that's a -- that's an encouraging development. let us know how we can be of help. we want to see the results when we authorize the spending. >> thank you. >> i think -- let me ask just this final question about that. on this opioid battle, how well can you assure me of the cooperation and coordination between the department of justice and other federal agencies in this battle? >> well, the president reached a bipartisan solution i ups to spend 6 billion additional on the opioid crisis. that is a sizable increase, no
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doubt about it. we had getting only a small part of it. i don't know exactly what percentage, but it's certainly not the major. i expect the prevention program which i totally support will be funded, but it doesn't need an unlimited amount of money. you can run a very good prevention program for reasonable amount of money, and you've got treatment which is very expensive, and i'm sure that will get more money. there will be some research and i'm talking about fda, the department of homeland security, the department of health and human services, the va, all of them have roles to play and others in the drug matters, and i would say you're entitled to keep an eye on all of us and probably need to because you run a massive department, and you
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get some more money for certain project and then the secretary's got a million challenges to deal with, and sometimes things don't get done with the alacrity we would like to see. >> we have a funding responsibility as a congress. we have an oversight of equal value in my view, and we need to do both better. general, thank you very much. i appreciate your testimony. it's been a long afternoon i'm sure for you, but i appreciate the responses that you've given. i always ask when i chair a hearing the witnesses if they have anything they would like to add for the record, something they want to correct or add, a question that they had been asked that they would like to answer. you may feel like you've been asked everything. >> well, i don't have much to add except i would appreciate it if i have misspoken in any way, i'll try to correct, that and i thank you because really the
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2018 appropriations was beneficial, and it provided us additional resources, and we are going to do our best to use them as you would like us to. >> general, thank you very much. if there are no further questions this afternoon, the senators may submit additional questions to the subcommittees -- for the subcommittee's official record, we ask the department of justice respond within 30 days of the subcommittee now stand adjourned.
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the senate judiciary committee tomorrow will consider legislation aiming to provide protections for special counseling by setting
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requirements for firing a essential counsel. you can see live coverage tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on cspan 3. friday morning, we're in salt lake city, utah, for the next stop on the cspan bus 50 capitals tour. the governor will be our guest on the bus during "washington journal" starting at 99:45 a.m. eastern. sunday morning on 1969, america in turmoil. we lock at the media's role in shaping how americaning experienced the events of 50 years ago. our guests, former cbs and nbc journalist and founding director of harvard university's center on media, politics and public policy. and david hume kennerly, pulitzer prize winning photographer who covered kennedy's presidential camn,

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