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Tom Cotton says Democrats flooded the streets with criminals backing Trump policies

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday accused Democrats of not supporting law enforcement enough, citing in part their support for a prison reform bill that President Donald Trump has defended and enacted in 2018.

Congress approved the measure, known as the First Step Act, by huge bipartisan margins. The vote was 87-12 in the Senate, with most of Cotton’s Republican colleagues on board. But Cotton and a few other conservatives insisted the law threatened public safety.

On Wednesday, amid a tussle over a group of appointed U.S. attorneys, Cotton called the law “the Trump administration’s worst mistake.” He attacked Democrats for voting “at a run” in favor of its passage.

Democrats were quick to point out that Trump and other Republican senators enthusiastically supported the law, touting it as a major criminal justice reform initiative in their calls to win over black voters.

“The Republicans were in the majority… Donald Trump signed it into law!” noted Dick Durbin (Ill.) on the floor, a bemused-sounding Senate Majority Whip.

The law reduced prison terms for some federal inmates whom federal prison officials deemed unlikely to commit future crimes. It also allowed inmates currently serving sentences for crack cocaine offenses to petition the courts for early release, correcting the disparity in sentencing for crack cocaine and powder cocaine.

The fight to the ground boiled over after Cotton got his hands on eight of President Joe Biden’s appointed U.S. attorneys who would serve as top law enforcement officials across the country.

The Senate usually confirms U.S. attorney nominees by voice vote. He last demanded the closure of a U.S. attorney nominee in 1993 and last held a roll-call vote on such a nominee in 1975.

But Cotton has sought to maximize his influence in the Democratic-controlled Senate by opposing the rapid confirmation of nominees to U.S. attorneys. Without the agreement of all 100 senators, Democrats would have to hold a recorded vote on each nominee, which would burn valuable floor time in the process.

“I will not agree to fast-track political appointments to the department while the department drags to dry career police officers,” Cotton told the Senate.

Cotton’s rebuke was that the Justice Department failed to step in to help defend federal law enforcement officers from lawsuits by protesters who claimed they were wrongfully injured by officers during a 2020 seat of the Federal Court Building in Portland, Oregon.

The Justice Department previously told Cotton he was assisting more than 70 officers and had declined a request for representation. The department did not explain why, but said that when it reviews a federal agent’s legal aid applications, it considers whether “the conduct at issue was within the scope of employment” and whether there was wrongdoing.

“Thus, there are sometimes instances where, based on an examination of the facts, it is not in the interest of the United States to provide representation,” the Justice Department told Cotton in a statement. letter earlier this monthadding that he could not go into specifics due to rules of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege.

Cotton complained on Wednesday that the officer who refused to be represented, along with three other officers who had not yet been represented, had not been told why they had been suspended – and why they had also been returned to active duty without restriction.

“It would be quite strange to send them back to the special ops group without any restrictions if they engaged in some kind of misconduct in Portland,” Cotton said.

But when Durbin asked if Cotton had received a privacy waiver from any of the four, meaning he was allowed to receive information about their cases, Cotton said no, so he didn’t. apparently no official information about what happened. .

In December, Cotton briefly threatened to block the rapid confirmation of candidates to US state attorneys. alone represented by the Democrats. He relented after demanding an apology from Durbin over an unrelated matter.

“There were a lot of things I didn’t agree with [in] Trump’s Department of Justice…but I never thought about holding the U.S. Attorney from Arkansas, Arizona, or Illinois because I disagreed with Donald Trump,” he said. said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a former prosecutor, said Wednesday in a speech to the Senate.

Cotton has taken a “tough on crime” policy more aggressively than any other Republican in Congress. Even after the Trump administration freed thousands of federal prisoners under the First Step Act and no crime wave resulted, Cotton vowed the crimes would happen.

“When the law is fully enforced, yes, I think people who get out of jail early will continue to commit crimes,” Cotton said. told HuffPost in 2019. “It’s almost a mathematical certainty.”

Withholding the engagement of US attorneys across the country, however, could undermine Cotton’s “tough on crime” stance. As federal prosecutors, their job is literally to prosecute criminals.




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Sara Adm

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