Mshuham2

Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Where in the world is the USS Carl Vinson?

One week after U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) announced that a naval strike group led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson would be moving to the Western Pacific from Singapore, the ships were no closer to their destination.

Ahead of what was eventually a failed North Korean missile test on April 16, news that the strike group was nearby the country was seen as a sign of President Donald Trump’s tough talk and hardline stance on the country’s nuclear weapons program.

White House and military officials have emphasized that they never specified a schedule for the Vinson’s arrival off the Korean Peninsula, but they are facing criticism nonetheless for failing to tamp down on interpretations of the strike group’s movement as a signal to North Korea.

Here’s what we know happened, and when:

April 5: North Korea tests a ballistic missile following another test of several missiles on March 6. “North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says in response. “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment.”

April 7: Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping end a two-day summit at Mar-a-Lago, during which they reportedly discuss deterrents to North Korea’s nuclear missile ambitions.

April 8: “Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, has directed the Carl Vinson Strike Group to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean after departing Singapore April, 8,” the U.S. Navy announces in a press release, adding that the strike group “will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia.”

“Third Fleet ships operate forward with a purpose: to safeguard U.S. interests in the Western Pacific,” strike group spokesman Cmdr. Dave Benham says in a statement. “The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”

“We feel the increased presence is necessary,” an unnamed official tells Reuters, citing North Korea’s worrisome behavior, according to the newswire.

CNN reports, citing an unnamed official, that the strike group’s move came in response to recent North Korean provocations.

Worldwide, media outlets begin to report a “show of force.”

April 9: Fox News’ Chris Wallace asks National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster: “Why the carrier strike force to the Korean Peninsula?”

“Well, it’s prudent to do it, isn’t it? I mean, North Korea has been engaged in a pattern of provocative behavior,” he says, adding later: “The President has asked to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat the American people and to our allies and partners in the region.”

According to the New York Times, the Carl Vinson Strike Group at this point had yet to carry out “another mission before it set sail north: a long-scheduled joint exercise with the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean.”

April 11: “As far as the movement of the Vinson, she is stationed there in the Western Pacific for a reason,” Defense Secretary James Mattis says during a press briefing at the Pentagon. “She operated freely, up and down the Pacific, and she is just on her way up there because that is where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time. There’s not a specific demand signal or a specific reason why we are sending her up there.”

One reporter notes that it is “unusual for us to know about a ship movement in advance. That was sort of what — what got everyone’s attention. So why was that? I mean, why was it put out in advance? Was it just to signal to North Korea that there would be a show of presence there?”

“I believe it’s because she was originally headed in one direction for an exercise, and we canceled our role in that exercise, and that’s what became public,” Mattis replies. “We had to explain why she wasn’t in that exercise.”

However, the exercise hasn’t been cancelled, only a port call in Fremantle, Australia.

April 12: Trump tells Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo in a pre-recorded interview that the U.S. is sending “an armada, very powerful” to the region.

April 15: It’s the birthday of North Korea’s late founding ruler Kim Il Sung, known as a date on which the country has tested missiles in the past. A large parade includes what the country claims are new ballistic missiles.

An official Navy photo places the Carl Vinson in the Sunda Straight, between the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra. That places the ship farther away from the Korean Peninsula than it was on April 8.

April 16: According to unnamed U.S. and South Korean officials, speaking to AP, a North Korean missile test attempt results in an explosion at launch.

April 17: The Navy publishes the photo of Carl Vinson in the Sunda Straight, showing it to be thousands of miles south of where many expected it to be at the time.

Defense News first reports on the strike group’s location, based on the photo.

The publication notes: “Off the record, several officials expressed wonderment at the persistent reports that the Vinson was already nearing Korea. ‘We’ve made no such statement,’ said one official.”

April 18: The New York Times reports on “a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from a premature announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that an American armada was racing toward the waters off North Korea.”

A PACOM spokesperson tells TPM in a statement: “The USS Carl Vinson Strike Group is proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered. After departing Singapore on April 8 and cancelling a scheduled port visit to Perth, the Strike Group was able to complete a curtailed period of previously scheduled training with Australia in international waters off the northwest coast of Australia. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure.”

Navy spokesperson Cdr. Gary Ross told TPM Wednesday that the Pentagon’s transcript of the April 11 briefing is amended Tuesday to include: “[Sic: The ship’s port visit to Fremantle, Australia, was cancelled; the exercise with the Royal Australian navy is proceeding as planned.]”

At a White House press briefing, Sean Spicer doesn’t dispute one reporter’s characterization that the strike group was “steaming up toward the Sea of Japan.”

“I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence,” he says. Earlier in the briefing, he says that the strike force “gives the President options in the region.”

April 19: Spicer denies misleading the press about the ship’s whereabouts: “We answered the question on what signal it sent,” he says. “I’m not the one who commented on timing.”

Speaking in Saudi Arabia, Mattis also makes no mention of misleading the public or fudging the strike group’s schedule: “The bottom line is in our effort to always be open about what we were doing we said that we that we were going to change the Vinson’s upcoming schedule,” he says. “The Vinson, as I said on the record, was operating up and down the Western Pacific and we were doing exactly what we said. That is we were shifting her.”

He adds: “We don’t generally give out ship schedules in advance but I didn’t want to play a game either and say we were not changing a schedule when in fact we had. So we’re doing exactly what we said we were going to do, she will be on her way and I’ll determine when she gets there and where she actually operates, but the Vinson will be a part of our ensuring that we stand by our allies in the northwest Pacific.”

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday that neither the White House nor the military had put out any misleading information last week on the whereabouts of the Carl Vinson Strike Group.

On April 8, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) announced that the strike group would be changing its schedule and going to the Western Pacific. The same day, a spokesperson for the command said that “the number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea.”

However, an official Navy photo from Nov. 15 showed the USS Carl Vinson farther away from the Korean Peninsula than it was a week earlier. On Sunday, April 16, a North Korean missile test resulted in an explosion during launch, according to unnamed U.S. and South Korean officials speaking to AP.

PACOM put out a release talking about the group ultimately ending up in the Korean Peninsula,” Spicer said during his daily press briefing Wednesday, emphasizing that no specific schedule for the group had been announced. “That’s what it will do. I think we were asked very clearly about the use of a carrier group in terms of deterrence and foreign presence and what that meant. That’s what we discussed. I would refer you back to any other issues with that to the Department of Defense.”

Both a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Command, in a statement to TPM, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, in an interview Wednesday, did not acknowledge any misleading statements. 

On April 11, Spicer was asked about the Vinson’s “steaming up toward the Sea of Japan.”

He responded, in part: “When you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence.”

April 11, Mattis said the Carl Vinson was “on her way up there.”

In an interview aired April 12, President Donald Trump said: “We are sending an armada, very powerful.”

The President said that we have an armada going towards the peninsula,” Spicer said Wednesday. “That’s a fact. It happened. It is happening, rather.”

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Vice President Mike Pence said that he does not believe the Defense Department intentionally misled the public about the whereabouts of a strike group in the Pacific Ocean.

Contrary to the claims of many military and White House officials, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and the U.S. Pacific Command, the USS Carl Vinson and its strike group were no closer to the Korean Peninsula on April 15 than they were a week earlier. On April 8, the Pacific Command announced the Carl Vinson Strike Group had been directed “to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean.”

“The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea,” a spokesman for the command said.

“Were these misleading comments deliberate?” CNN’s Dana Bash asked Pence in an interview aired Wednesday.

“Oh, I think not,” Pence replied.”Look, we’ve got an extraordinary commitment of U.S. Forces in this region. And the Carl Vinson and that battle group are being deployed to the sea of Japan and will likely arrive here in the coming weeks.”

He added that the presence of tens of thousands of U.S. personnel in South Korea and Japan “gives me great confidence that the United States presence in the Asian Pacific is strong, and under President Trump’s leadership it will be stronger still.”

In a statement to TPM Tuesday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Command did not acknowledge any scheduling snafu.

“The USS Carl Vinson Strike Group is proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered,” the spokesperson said. “After departing Singapore on April 8 and cancelling a scheduled port visit to Perth, the Strike Group was able to complete a curtailed period of previously scheduled training with Australia in international waters off the northwest coast of Australia. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure.”

Mattis also refused to acknowledge any conflicting statements.

“We were doing exactly what we said, and that is, we were shifting her, instead of continuing in one direction as she pulled out of Singapore, she’s going to continue part of her cruise down in that region, but she was on her way to Korea,” he said Wednesday.

“We don’t generally give out ship schedules in advance, but I didn’t want to play a game either and say we were not changing a schedule when, in fact, we had,” he continued. “So we’re doing exactly what we said we were going to do. She will be on her way. And I’ll determine when she gets there and where she actually operates. But the Vinson is going to be part of our ensuring that we stand by our allies in the Northwest Pacific.”

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The Republican chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced Wednesday that he would not seek another term in 2018.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) made the announcement in a statement on his personal Facebook page:

In an interview with the Deseret News In January 2016, Chaffetz hinted at his future plans.

“I’m not going to be here forever. I would take a serious, serious look at running for governor,” he told the publication. “I want to go as hard and fast as I can in the House and then go home.”

“The more I’m here, the more I’m convinced I don’t want to be in the United States Senate,” he added. “I’ve already invested years in the House and it’s essentially the same job, just more people over here and more competition.”

In the days leading up to Election Day 2016, Chaffetz tied himself in knots explaining that his vote for Donald Trump did not contradict his un-endorsing the then-Republican nominee a month earlier.

The congressman was one of many Republican officials who disavowed Trump after a tape leaked of Trump saying that he could kiss and grope women without their permission because he was a celebrity.

“My wife and I, we have a 15-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person,” he said on Oct. 7, after the tape dropped.

A few weeks later, though, he said he would still be voting for Trump.

“I guess I do see a difference between an endorsement and publicly defending somebody,” he said on Nov. 3.

After Trump’s election, Chaffetz has faced criticism in his capacity as Oversight chair.

He defended Trump, for example, after the President attacked Nordstrom online after it dropped his daughter’s clothing line from stores, seen as an abuse of his bully pulpit for familial financial gain.

A day earlier, Chaffetz recalled of a meeting with the President: “Before my bum even hit the chair, the president said, ‘No oversight. You can’t talk about anything that has to do with oversight.’”

In January, he said he would not go on a “fishing expedition” for possible ethics violations resulting from Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel, whose lease is owned by the federal government.

“The President has a duty and obligation to comply with the law, but again he’s exempt from almost all of these things,” Chaffetz said. “Now the Emoluments Clause, he’s going to have to look at, and we’ll see how that rolls out.”

Chaffetz had gone even further a few days earlier, demanding that the director of the Office of Government Ethics be interviewed by the Oversight Committee for a series of tweets about Trump divesting from his businesses (the then-President-elect had not done so at the time, and still hasn’t).

The OGE director, Chaffetz wrote, was “blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance.”

This post has been updated.

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A Republican state senator from Miami is facing calls for his resignation after it was reported that he used a racial slur in front of two black colleagues. He also called one of them a “fucking asshole,” “bitch,” and “girl,” according to The Miami Herald.

The Herald reported Tuesday night that a day earlier, Sen. Frank Artiles used the n-word to refer to some of his Republican colleagues in Florida’s Senate in a conversation with two Democratic colleagues, Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale, who are black.

Over drinks at the Governors Club in Tallahassee, the Herald reported, Artiles complained to his two colleagues that the state’s Senate president had won that position due to the votes of  “six niggers” in his caucus. Gibson and Thurston told the Herald that Artiles later said he had used the word “niggas.”

Thurston invited Artiles to meet at Gibson’s office to apologize at 9 a.m. Tuesday, but he told the Herald that Artiles didn’t show up. Gibson told the Herald that Artiles didn’t apologize when they were in committee meetings Tuesday, either.

“It was a slang term, and I am not a racist,” Artiles told POLITICO Florida in a text message. “I am not a racist.” The Herald reported that after using the slur, perhaps to justify it, Artiles said that he was from Hialeah, which is home to a large Cuban-American community.

Earlier in the conversation, Gibson told the Herald, Artiles referred to her as “this fucking asshole” and “this bitch,” during a discussion of legislation. Though Artiles denied using the terms for Gibson to Thurston at the time, he apologized to Gibson at Thurston’s urging. An unnamed source told the Herald that Artiles called Gubson “girl.” Artiles said he did not mean to be disrespectful.

Gibson told the Herald, “It’s just the most disrespect I’ve ever encountered.”

Sen. Joe Negron, Republican state Senate president from Stuart, gave Artiles time to formally apologize on the Senate floor Wednesday, the Florida Times-Union reported. On Tuesday Negron said of the incident, in part: “Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in conversation between Senators and will not be tolerated while I am serving as Senate President.”

“In an exchange with a colleague of mine in the Senate, I unfortunately let my temper get the best of me,” Artiles said in a statement Tuesday evening, as reported by the Herald, Times-Union and Politico. “There is no excuse for the exchange that occurred and I have apologized to my Senate colleagues and regret the incident profusely.”

On Wednesday Morning, the Herald’s Patricia Mazzei reported on Artiles’ formal apology from the floor:

Artiles is facing calls to resign from the Florida Democratic Party, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King and others. The state’s Republican Party chairman said in part, according to Politico: “That’s a decision he’s going to have to make. It’s not my job as chair to say what somebody should or should not do.”

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A Democratic congressman from Missouri and his constituent will appeal a district court’s decision in an attempt to restore a painting of police brutality to the U.S. Capitol Building, they announced Tuesday.

On Friday, D.C. Federal Circuit Court Judge John D. Bates rejected Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and his constituent David Pulphus’ attempt to re-hang “Untitled #1,” Pulphus’ work depicting Ferguson, Missouri police as animals. Pulphus had won the Congressional Art Competition in Clay’s district, entitling him to a spot on the Capitol walls, subject to approval from the Capitol Architect, Stephen Ayers.

In 2014, a Ferguson police officer shot and killed the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, prompting nationwide protests. Pulphus has said “the art speaks for itself.”

Bates said in his decision that, rather than being subject to First Amendment protections, Pulphus’ painting had been selected by Clay, a member of Congress, and was subject to the approval of Ayers, the defendant in Clay and Pulphus’ lawsuit. Therefore, Bates said, “Untitled #1” qualified as government speech and could be removed if the Ayers decided it didn’t meet competition rules.

“Our nation was founded on the very principle of freedom of speech, and there are few places where that core freedom warrants greater respect than the U.S. Capitol,” Clay and Pulphus said in a statement announcing their appeal Tuesday. “That is why we are confident that the U.S. Court of Appeals will eventually vindicate not only our legal rights, but those of the American people. We believe our Constitution simply cannot tolerate a situation where artwork can be removed from the Capitol for the first time ever as a result of a series of ideologically and politically driven complaints.”

Clay and Pulphus noted that the painting had hung in the Capitol for more than six months before Republican members of congress — at first just Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) — suddenly began removing it in January, objecting to its depiction of police. Clay re-hung the painting every time it was removed until Ayers, the Capitol Architect, announced that it violated the competition’s rules against “depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy” or those of a “sensationalistic or gruesome nature.”

Volleys over the painting, occurring in the two weeks prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, often grew tense. One video, published Jan. 10 by RollCall’s Alex Gangitano, shows Republican congressmen delivering the painting to Clay’s office themselves:

Judge Bates, though he rejected Clay and Pulphus’ request for a preliminary injunction against the painting’s removal, seemed to acknowledge the that Ayers’ actions were not simply a result of “Untitled #1” violating the rules.

He noted that two other pieces were judged to have violated the competition’s rules in June 2016. One, “Recollection,” depicted bullet holes in an individual’s back. Another depicted Bob Marley smoking pot. They were both allowed to be shown in the Capitol.

“There is little doubt that the removal of the painting was based on its viewpoint,” Bates wrote.

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Contrary to several senior government officials’ assurances last week that a naval strike group led by the Carl Vinson aircraft carrier was on its way to the Korean Peninsula, Defense News reported Monday night that the strike group was instead thousands of miles to the peninsula’s south as late as Saturday, taking part in exercises with the Australian Navy.

On April 8, the U.S. Pacific Command first announced that “Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, has directed the Carl Vinson Strike Group to sail north and report on station in the Western Pacific Ocean after departing Singapore April, 8.”

The strike group, the statement added, “will operate in the Western Pacific rather than executing previously planned port visits to Australia.”

In fact, a week after that announcement, on April 15, an official Navy photo showed the strike group farther away from the Korean Peninsula than it had been at the time of the announcement, passing through the Sunda Straight, in between Java and Sumatra.

“The USS Carl Vinson Strike Group is proceeding to the Western Pacific as ordered,” a U.S. Pacific Command spokesperson told TPM in a statement. “After departing Singapore on April 8 and cancelling a scheduled port visit to Perth, the Strike Group was able to complete a curtailed period of previously scheduled training with Australia in international waters off the northwest coast of Australia. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure.”

The New York Times reported, citing unnamed officials, that there had been “a glitch-ridden sequence of events, from a premature announcement of the deployment by the military’s Pacific Command to an erroneous explanation by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — all of which perpetuated the false narrative that an American armada was racing toward the waters off North Korea.

On April 8, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, Commander Dave Benham, said the command was “a prudent measure to maintain readiness and presence in the Western Pacific,” adding: “The number one threat in the region continues to be North Korea, due to its reckless, irresponsible and destabilizing program of missile tests and pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability.”

On April 11, White House press secretary Sean Spicer didn’t dispute the characterization that the strike group was “steaming up toward the Sea of Japan.”

“I think when you see a carrier group steaming into an area like that, the forward presence of that is clearly, through almost every instance, a huge deterrence,” he said, saying earlier that the strike force “gives the President options in the region.”

The same day, Defense Secretary James Mattis said, “There’s not a specific demand signal or specific reason we’re sending her up there,” adding: “She’s stationed in the Western Pacific for a reason. She operates freely up and down the Pacific and she’s on her way up there because that’s where we thought it was most prudent to have her at this time.”

“We’ve made no such statement” that the strike group was already nearing Korea, one unnamed official told Defense News, referring to reports otherwise. Unnamed Defense Department officials told the Times that the strike group could be expected in the region sometime next week. 

On April 16, the North Korean government attempted to test a ballistic missile, which unnamed U.S. and South Korean officials told AP exploded during launch.

This post has been updated.

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Two days after saying that marijuana was “not a factor” in the in the drug war, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security warned that it was “a potentially dangerous gateway drug” and said his agency would pursue the enforcement of laws against it.

DHS doesn’t have much legal authority to pursue drug-related arrests of U.S. citizens, if they aren’t involved in transnational crime — that responsibility falls to local law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI and others.

But the agency pursues the flow of illicit drugs into the United States through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and considers past drug charges and convictions in the cases of undocumented immigrants who could be deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday, DHS Secretary John Kelly said that marijuana was “not a factor” in the drug war (methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin were, he said). He seemed to change his tone Tuesday in a speech at George Washington University, according to a copy of prepared remarks provided by DHS.

“And let me be clear about marijuana. It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs,” Kelly said, adding: “Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books.”

“DHS personnel will continue to investigate marijuana’s illegal pathways along the network into the U.S., its distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law,” he continued. “CBP will continue to search for marijuana at sea, air and land ports of entry and when found take similar appropriate action.”

And marijuana possession, distribution and convictions thereof, Kelly said, would be considered “essential elements” for ICE “as they build their deportation / removal apprehension packages for targeted operations against illegal aliens. They have done this in the past, are doing it today, and will do it in the future.”

Kelly just finished a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, known for his vocal criticisms of marijuana use, and the subject of speculation over how forcefully he intends to enforce federal law in states and cities where the drug is legal for recreational or medicinal use, or decriminalized.

On March 15, Sessions said marijuana was “only slightly less awful” than heroin. But the same day, he said he thought “much” of the Cole Memorandum was “valid.” The Obama-era policy states that federal law enforcement will not pursue most marijuana charges where the drug is legal at the local level.

“[W]e’re not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades,” Sessions said of the rule.

In an August 5 memo, Sessions announced that subcommittees of the department’s Task Force On Crime Reduction and Public Safety would review its marijuana enforcement policies.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions yet again decried the consent decrees favored by the Obama-era Justice Department on Monday, vowing to free local police forces from what he characterized as federal handcuffs.



“We will not sign consent decrees for political expediency that will cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals,” Sessions wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.



Sessions ordered a review of all such decrees between the Justice Department and local law enforcement earlier this month. By the end of Obama’s second term, the Justice Department was enforcing agreements reached with more than a dozen police departments nationwide and had investigated the practices of many more.

Consent decrees seek to prioritize police-community relations and de-escalation tactics rather than excessive use of force, and are court-enforceable.

Sessions has depicted the agreements, which often came in the wake of high-profile cases of people being killed by police, as part of a larger wave of unjustified scrutiny of law enforcement.

In prepared remarks to the National Association of Attorneys General during his first month on the job, Sessions described an “age of viral videos and targeted killings of police.”

“[M]any of our men and women in law enforcement are becoming more cautious” as a result, he said. “They’re more reluctant to get out of their squad cars and do the hard but necessary work of up-close policing that builds trust and prevents violent crime.”

In his op-ed Monday, Sessions hammered home the same themes.

“[T]oo much focus has been placed on a small number of police who are bad actors rather than on criminals,” he wrote. “And too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.”

Though he acknowledged the need for “common-sense reforms” like de-escalation training and “punish[ing] police conduct that violates civil rights,” Sessions suggested that the federal government wouldn’t play a prominent role in implementing those reforms.

“[S]uch reforms must promote public safety and avoid harmful federal intrusion in the daily work of local police,” he wrote.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said Tuesday that Americans would continue to demand to see President Donald Trump’s tax returns.



In an interview on NBC’s “Today,” host Savannah Guthrie asked Warren if the issue was “over” after Trump won the presidency without releasing any of his tax returns, becoming the first president since Richard Nixon not to do so.



“No, the issue is not over,” Warren said. “He promised during the campaign that he would reveal his taxes. In fact, how many clips have you got here? He would reveal them after this, he would reveal them after that, oh, then he put it off.”

Trump repeatedly promised, before and during his run for the presidency, that he would release his tax returns as a candidate.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed Monday that Trump’s taxes were still under audit, which would not technically preclude them from being released.

Warren said she didn’t know if Trump would ever release the returns.

“But I’ll tell you this,” she continued, “I think that people are going to keep demanding it, and they’re going to keep demanding it and making their voices heard on this. Look, why is it the case that people at the very top should get a bunch of tax breaks, should be able to hide their business dealing, when everybody else pays? Everybody else gets out there and makes our roads and bridges work, makes our schools work. Lets see what Donald Trump is up to.”

After thousands of people took to the streets nationwide Saturday to demand the President release his tax records, Trump said the protestors had been paid, and that “the election is over.”

Watch below via NBC:

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