Tag Archives: DOJ

Beware, domestic terrorists

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has laid down the law to those who seek to terrorize Americans from within our borders.

The Department of Justice is coming after them.

Indeed, Garland has experience dealing with — and bringing justice to — domestic terrorists. It was 26 years ago today that a home-grown, corn-fed terrorist detonated a bomb in front of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed 168 people, including 19 children in the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

Police arrested the bomber soon afterward. Garland was a young federal prosecutor who led the charge in bringing the madman to justice. He succeeded and the killer was executed.

The New York Times reported: “Although many years have passed, the terror perpetrated by people like Timothy McVeigh is still with us,” Mr. Garland said. “The Department of Justice is pouring its resources into stopping domestic violent extremists before they can attack, prosecuting those who do, and battling the spread of the kind of hate that leads to tragedies like the one we mark here today.”

Garland Leads Commemoration of Oklahoma City Bombing (msn.com)

Make no mistake, domestic terror is alive and festering. FBI Director Christopher Wray said in 2019 that domestic terrorism presents the single greatest threat to Americans, even more than foreign terrorists.

Indeed, we saw them storm the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 and we have heard members of Congress actually endorse the myriad phony conspiracy theories espoused by domestic terrorists. Imagine that … if you can.

It is with that backdrop that I welcome AG Garland’s renewed commitment to fighting the enemy from within.

Is this true? Really?

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

In the realm of a “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” category of reports, this one really blows my mind.

U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and staunch culture warrior along with being a strident supporter of Donald John Trump, is now being investigated for engaging in a sexual relationship with an underage girl. What’s more, Gaetz is being looked at in a case of sex trafficking.

This is according to the New York Times. Other media have picked up the story.

Gaetz denies the accusation. That’s to be expected.

What is astonishing in the extreme is that this case involves a loudmouth TEA Party/Freedom Caucus conservative who holds himself up as a champion of old-fashioned cultural standards.

This guy is a standard, run-of-the-mill chump. Pure and simple. Now he might be a criminal … allegedly.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

Senate confirms AG … yes!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The United States finally has a new attorney general … who’s going to serve as the people’s lawyer, not someone who runs political interference for the president of the United States.

Welcome to the fray, Merrick Garland. A weary nation has been waiting for you.

The U.S. Senate voted 70-30 today to confirm Garland. It’s a good news/bad news kind of vote. The good news is that 20 Republicans crossed over to vote for the Democratic president’s nominee; the bad news is that 30 of them stayed on their side of the great divide and voted “no” on a man who is highly regarded as a brilliant and fair-minded legal scholar.

The Texas delegation in the U.S. Senate split on this one: Republican John Cornyn voted to confirm Garland while his fellow GOP colleague, Ted Cruz, voted against. Cruz’s “no” vote, I will venture a guess, likely was cast more out of petulance than principle.

Garland will succeed William Barr, who quit in the final weeks of the Trump administration out of anger over the way Donald Trump conducted himself leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection that Trump incited. The period before that, though, is what troubled so many of us, as Barr acted so much as though he was representing Donald Trump and not the interests of all Americans and the Constitution to which he swore an oath to defend and protect.

I do not believe we are going to have that issue with Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Senate votes to confirm Garland as attorney general | TheHill

This is an important step in the reconstruction of a Justice Department decimated by Donald Trump and his legal eagle minions. Garland pledges to put the people’s interest front and center, that he won’t be bullied or coerced into making political decisions. “I am the United States’s lawyer. I will do everything in my power … to fend off any effort by anyone to make prosecutions or investigations partisan or political in any way,” Garland said during his eight-hour Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing.

You know what? I believe him. I also believe he will restore the DOJ to the level of integrity, fairness and toughness that has been its hallmark. Our government needs that guarantee.

Garland: an impressive presence

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Surely I am not the only red-blooded American patriot who watched U.S. Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee to have this thought.

It was that he would make a terrific U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Oh, but wait … he could’ve gotten there had the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate not blocked his confirmation in 2016 after President Barack Obama nominated him to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Oh well. Garland will make a stellar AG by employing the same temperament that would have served him well as a SCOTUS justice.

AG pick vows to take aim at domestic terror

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

America’s greatest enemy well might live, work and play within our own borders.

That potential enemy is going to be the No. 1 focus of the man picked to be the next attorney general. Merrick Garland, a federal judge selected by President Biden to lead the Justice Department, today vowed to battle domestic terrorists wherever they seek to do their evil deeds.

He also vowed to pursue those on extreme left as well as on the extreme right. More to the point, Garland told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that he considers the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill by the riotous mob be the most heinous attack on our government in our nation’s history.

The Wall Street Journal reported: “I think this was the most heinous attack on the democratic processes that I’ve ever seen, and one that I never expected to see in my lifetime,” Judge Garland told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. He added that the current investigation into the riot—which has led to around 250 people facing criminal charges to date—appeared to be “extremely aggressive and perfectly appropriate.”

Merrick Garland Puts Focus on Domestic Extremism (msn.com)

Garland spoke to the Judiciary panel; he is likely to be approved strongly by the committee and confirmed with a significant bipartisan vote by the full Senate. Then he can get to work.

Indeed, there must be plenty of work done. The nation witnessed a horrific attack on our democratic system of government on Jan. 6. The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump just as he was preparing to leave office a week after the attack. He incited the insurrection, but a Senate trial ended with his acquittal when senators fell 10 votes short of convicting him.

The probe must go on. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared the need for a bipartisan investigation into the events leading up to the attack. Now we hear from the presumptive attorney general, declaring that he considers domestic terrorism to be his top priority. That, too, is welcome news.

What’s more — and this is critical — Garland told senators that he won’t be cowed by political pressure from anyone, including the president.

“I do not plan to be interfered with by anyone. I expect the Justice Department will make its own decisions in this regard,” Judge Garland said. “I would not have taken this job if I thought that politics would have any influence over prosecutions and investigations,” he said.

William Barr made a similar pledge as well, but it didn’t turn out that way while he ran the DOJ. Merrick Garland’s reputation commends him for the task he has been asked to undertake.

Rest assured, there will be plenty of American who are watching to ensure he makes good on his pledge to pursue the truth behind the heinous attack on Capitol Hill.

Confirm a new AG, now!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hey, this message goes to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin.

We have a distinguished legal genius waiting to be confirmed as U.S. attorney general. Merrick Garland got the nod from President Biden to lead the Justice Department. The former chairman of the Judiciary panel, Republican Lindsey Graham, decided — no surprise there! — to drag his feet on a confirmation hearing.

Well, Graham has surrendered the gavel to the Democrat Durbin.

We’ve got some judicial/legal matters that need a full DOJ complement of officials on board. That begins with the attorney general.

The hate crimes being committed against Asian-Americans comes to mind right away. Donald Trump seemed to take great glee in referring to the pandemic as the “China virus” and called it the “kung flu.” One consequence of that has been a rash of crimes committed against Asian-Americans.

Garland vows to take aim at hate crimes of all types.

He needs to be installed as attorney general. This man, nominated by former President Obama to the Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in early 2016, was denied a hearing by the Senate; so he went back to work as a judge on the D.C. circuit court.

Now he’s agreed to become attorney general. The task now rests with the Senate to confirm him.

Get busy, Chairman Durbin.

Get well, Mr. President

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden apparently suffers from an ailment that has afflicted millions of Americans just like me.

He is infected with Trump Fatigue. The president took part Tuesday in a CNN-sponsored town hall event in Milwaukee and declared that he is “tired of Trump.” He is tired of talking about his immediate predecessor. He wants to focus on the crises that confront him and plans to deal with them.

“I don’t want to keep talking about Trump,” Biden said, vowing that during his term in office he wants the subject to be “millions of Americans.”

Well … isn’t that a refreshing change?

I am all in, Mr. President.


The town hall also included another fascinating — and in a way a related — notion from the president. He referenced the Justice Department and declared that it isn’t “my Department of Justice.” He said the department doesn’t work for the president, but that it works for all Americans. He noted that DOJ became, during the Trump administration, the “most political” DOJ in U.S. history.

Indeed, I would implore President Biden to shuck the first-person possessive pronoun when referring to the government. President Obama had an annoying habit of constantly referring to “my vice president,” or “my national security team,” or “my Cabinet.” Donald Trump continued that practice during  his term, making reference to “my generals” and “my Justice Department.”

Memo to all presidents: You don’t own these individuals or the departments where they work. All of you, and that includes the individual at the top of the chain of command, are hired by us, you and me, to do our bidding.

So, with that President Biden — in office now for just four weeks — is seeking to chart a new direction for the federal government and for the media that cover it and report on it to the public.

He also must cure himself of the fatigue that has set in.

Get well, Mr. President.

Content of character: does it still count?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Make no mistake that I likely would feel differently were I of African-American or Latino or Asian descent. I am none of those.

Having laid that predicate down, I want to engage in the discussion over who President-elect Biden should select as the nation’s next attorney general.

I practically jumped out of my shoes the other day when I heard an African-American commentator, Jonathan Capehart, say out loud that the three individuals Biden is believed to be considering as AG are too white for his taste. Capehart wants more “diversity” among the finalists.

Hmm. Let’s examine this briefly. The three people Biden reportedly is pondering are U.S. District Judge Merrick Garland, former deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates and U.S. Sen. Doug Jones. They all possess exemplary legal credentials. They also all have committed through their careers to advancing the cause of civil rights.

Their only “shortcoming” is that they aren’t people of color.

President-elect Biden has kept his pledge to nominate executive branch team members who reflect the nation. Has loaded the Cabinet with and top-level staffers with African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, women; my goodness, he even has selected an openly gay man to serve in the Cabinet.

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, only to have his nomination blocked in 2016 by Senate Republicans who wanted to wait for the presidential election outcome that year. Garland has been a champion for minority rights, for gay rights and has staked out a center-left course while serving on the federal bench.

Sally Yates has demonstrated her own commitment to fair and impartial justice as a deputy AG, striving to be sensitive to minority Americans’ concerns over whether the justice system was loaded against them.

Doug Jones, who lost his bid for re-election to the Senate from Alabama in 2020, served as a federal prosecutor and obtained the conviction of the Klansmen who blew up the Birmingham, Ala., church in 1963 that killed four precious African-American girls; it was one of the most notorious hate crimes of the 20th century. He, too, has earned his spurs in fighting for minority rights.

Is it essential that the next AG be a person of color? No. It isn’t. It is essential that the next attorney general refrain from engaging in partisan politics and administer justice dispassionately and in accordance with the law.

I want to remind everyone of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that day in 1963. He spoke of his “dream” that one day black Americans can be judged by “content of their character” rather than “the color of their skin.”

Shouldn’t that noble goal apply to any American?

Trump butchers rule of law

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Call me surprised, but not that Donald Trump would enact a scorched-Earth policy on his way out the door of the White House.

I am surprised at the brazenness of it all. Do I fear permanent damage to our democratic form of government. Not just yet, but the A**hole in Chief isn’t done yet.

The pardons he issued this week apparently portend more to come. Of all the pardons and commutations he has delivered, the set of them that gives me chills and fills me with the most rage involves the four convicted killers who worked as defense contractors in Iraq. Trump’s action on their behalf should give all of us serious cause for fear.

These individuals were convicted after a meticulous and thorough prosecution conducted by the Justice Department into reports that they opened fire on innocent civilians in Iraq. Their victims included women and children.

They are killers. They were serving time in federal prison. No longer. They now are free from their much-deserved bondage because the Crook in Chief doesn’t respect the rule of law. He has acted with utter ignorance of the pardon and commutation process and the protocol that served Justice Department officials well since the beginning of our republic.

How in the name of human decency can this man, Trump, live with himself. Oh, I forgot! He is shameless. Trump has no sense of what is just and fair.

I suppose no one should be shocked at what Trump has done on his way out of office. Some of us — such as me — noted long ago that this loon’s pre-politics background was geared toward one goal: self-enrichment. Public service remains to this very day a foreign concept to this individual. The pardons he dished out this week illustrate that cold and hard reality in stark and frightening terms.

I am going to make this point while realizing I likely am spitting into the wind. It is that Republicans in Congress — in the Senate and the House — need to stand up against the guy who lost a presidential election. He is about to leave office. Donald Trump must not be allowed to continue trashing the rule of law.

To think, too, that this was the moron who campaigned for re-election as a “law and order president.”

This individual is a disgrace.

Is the Texas AG seeking a pardon?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Reports are buzzing with the White House receiving a “flood” of requests from around the country regarding potential pardons from Donald Trump as he prepares to leave the White House.

So here’s the question: Has one of the requests come from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the Republican ally of Trump who sought to nullify millions of votes cast in four states that went to President-elect Joe Biden?

Hey, it’s a fair question. Paxton is being investigated by the FBI on accusations that the AG has committed crimes while abusing the power of his office. Trump has the authority to pardon Paxton pre-emptively, which makes many of us wonder whether the lawsuit filed was intended to prove Paxton’s loyalty to Trump. Thus, he would be a candidate for a presidential pardon.

The U.S. Supreme Court tossed the lawsuit into the crapper, but the Texas AG is still out there … perhaps hoping for a final big favor from his hero Donald Trump.