Instead of engaging in appropriate law enforcement and defending Americans, the Department of Justice is being used to justify Donald Trump's prejudices and appeal to his wounded ego.
The Department of Justice is supposed to be on the front lines of America’s fight against crime, both domestic and international. But a press release issued at the behest of Attorney General Jeff Sessions shows that it is little more than a propaganda outlet for Donald Trump akin to Fox News and Breitbart.
The DOJ sent out a press release accompanied by a tweet in all caps, echoing the sort of style seen in right-wing media claiming a strong linkage between terrorism and immigration. It is no coincidence that this is the same bigoted, xenophobic message pushed by Trump over the course of his short political career.
Sessions argued that “our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety.”
“We currently have terrorism-related investigations against thousands of people in the United States, including hundreds of people who came here as refugees,” he added.
His language immediately sets off warning bells, revealing that the report is cherry-picked fearmongering, designed to back up Trump’s rhetoric. The release even notes that the entire report was kicked into action by Executive Order 13780, signed by Trump in March.
Trump was forced to release that order because the first version, which banned entry to the United States from predominantly Muslim countries, was rejected by the federal courts.
And the report is immediately useless because it limits the parameters to international terrorism. Domestic terrorism is simply not included, despite the threat it poses to American lives, particularly from right-wing groups.
The U.S. criminal justice system is weighted in favor of classifying international terrorism as terror, while domestic terror committed by mostly white males is often charged and classified with non-terrorism language.
Incidents like the terroristic killing of peace protester Heather Heyer in Charlotesville, Virginia, who was mowed down by neo-Nazis, are not included in Sessions’ report. Trump infamously described the right-wing groups involved in the murder as “very fine” people and expressed sympathy for their cause of maintaining monuments to the pro-slavery confederacy.
A report that insists that immigration is connected to terrorism while wholly ignoring domestic terror is not serious or credible.
Over and over, studies have shown the biggest threat to American life comes from white Americans. From Sept. 11, 2001, through 2015, nearly twice as many people in America died from right-wing attacks as those who died in attacks by Muslim extremists. Most of those deadly attacks came from figures like the Charleston church shooter, a young white male who targeted black Americans.
Since 9/11, nine people have been killed every year, on average, by Muslim extremists in the United States. By comparison, 12,843 people are killed every year by guns in the United States. But because the Trump administration caters to figures like the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre including invitations to the White House Christmas parties the report from the DOJ won’t include any of that data.
Sessions is on the outs with Trump, who was upset with his attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. That recusal left Trump without one of his most ardent supporters available to quash the probe like his allies in Congress are trying to do.
This report is in line with Sessions’ efforts to get back in Trump’s good graces, along with using the department to get into conspiracy theories involving Hillary Clinton.
Like much of what Trump does, the report is bigoted and dishonest, interested only in feeding his fragile ego instead of sticking to the mission of fighting crime and keeping Americans safe.
And another American institution has now seen itself tainted through its affiliation with Trump and his underlings.