Sessions Deletes Guidance on Press Freedom and Racial Bias

Sessions Deletes Guidance on Press Freedom and Racial Bias May 1, 2018

Not for the first time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is deleting and rewriting sections of the guidelines for federal prosecutors to reflect the twisted, authoritarian priorities of the Trump administration. That means deleting an entire section on balancing press freedom with the pursuit of criminal charges and rewriting the section on racial gerrymandering.

“The changes include new sections that underscore Sessions’ focus on religious liberty and the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on government leaks — there is new language admonishing prosecutors not to share classified information and directing them to report contacts with the media.”…

Part of the section of freedom of the press that was deleted said that “careful weight must be given in each case to the constitutional requirements of a free press and public trials as well as the right of the people in a constitutional democracy to have access to information about the conduct of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts, consistent with the individual rights of the accused.”…

“The Voting Section defends from unjustified attack redistricting plans designed to provide minority voters fair opportunities to elect candidates of their choice and endeavors to achieve racially fair results where courts find…that redistricting plans constitute unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.”…

It now reflects Attorney General Sessions’ memo that orders federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offenses. By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”

So basically they want prosecutors to throw the book at any reporter who receives classified information from a source, throw them in jail to make them give up their source, no need to balance press freedom with the zeal to go after those who reveal wrongdoing on the part of the government. And don’t bother prosecuting anything that prevents racial bias and prevents people from exercising their right to vote unless the case is so obvious that they can’t possibly avoid filing charges.

Both of these changes clearly reflect the priorities of Trump and Sessions, both of whom are incredibly racist and want the administration to be able to act with impunity to break any law they want without the public ever finding out. Trump is disturbingly authoritarian when it comes to freedom of the press, basically wanting it written out of the Constitution. He very much wants to have the authority to do anything he wants.

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