Donald Trump achievements: Criminal justice, law enforcement, and other DOJ matters

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of achievements by U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and Congress related to criminal justice, law enforcement, and other matters pertaining to the Justice Department.

For DOJ or law enforcement actions related to illegal immigration, see Donald Trump achievements: Immigration, illegal immigration, and border security. Other DOJ or law enforcement actions can be found on other sub-articles.

2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a strong conservative who strongly believed in President Trump's agenda,[1] completely reformed the Justice Department, reorienting it in a strongly conservative direction and with conservative policies, in stark contrast with the Obama Administration.[2] Under Sessions, the DOJ changed its positions on numerous legal matters.[3]

Law enforcement was one of the areas that President Trump prioritized when making political appointments, as seen by the fact that by December 2017, he was ahead of the Obama Administration in filling DOJ positions despite being behind overall.[4]

Legislation signed, 2017

  • June 2, 2017—President Trump signed a bill into law to reduce the backlog of families of fallen police officers waiting to receive benefits due to their status.[5]

Executive actions, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Sessions had made numerous policy changes promoting conservative governance in the DOJ by the six-month mark in Trump's presidency.[6] Despite the fears of liberals, the DOJ strongly enforced hate crime laws,[7] and unlike the Obama Administration, the Trump DOJ began enforcing antitrust law to ensure a free market rather than adding regulations and power to the administrative state.[8]

  • February 2017—Attorney General Sessions rescinded an Obama Administration memo that directed the Bureau of Prisons to begin phasing out private prisons.[9]
  • February 9, 2017—President Trump signed three executive orders pertaining to law enforcement. The first cracked down and strengthens the law against international crime organizations, the second deals with anti-law enforcement crimes, and third with finding a strategy for reducing crime in general, "including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime."[10] Attorney General Sessions proceeded to implement the orders.[11]
  • March 10, 2017—Attorney General Sessions asked the 46 remaining U.S. attorneys appointed by Obama, arguably the most left-wing president in U.S. history, to resign.[12][13] One of those U.S. attorneys was the failed Zachary Fardon, who was lax in his prosecution of gun crimes (Sessions directed the Justice Department to increase prosecutions on gun-law violations and to reinforce harsh sentences for such).[14] When one of those attorneys, Preet Bharara, refused to resign (likely for political gain), he was fired.[15] Later, in May 2017, more Obama holdovers left the Justice Department.[16]
  • April 3, 2017—Attorney General Sessions ordered the Department of Justice to review Obama's agreements with local police departments. Sessions made this order to give back local control to police departments.[17]
  • April 13, 2017—The Justice Department prosecuted two doctors and one other for practicing female genital mutilation – the first such prosecutions under a federal law passed by Congress in 1996 prohibiting the practice.[18]
  • May 9, 2017—Although he previously stated he was not planning on asking him to resign,[19] President Trump, at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, fired Obama-appointed FBI director James Comey for being unfit to serve in the position.[20] Democrats and liberals were dismayed at the decision,[21] but it showed that Trump was serious about shaking up D.C. and "draining the swamp."[22]
  • May 11, 2017—Attorney General Sessions ended Obama and Eric Holder's policy of pursuing light sentences for criminals when he ordered federal prosecutors to pursue "the most serious and readily provable offense" committed by those under prosecution.[23]
  • June 7, 2017—Attorney General Sessions ended a policy begun by Eric Holder where the Justice Department would reach settlements with companies that required them to pay third-party groups, many of which were left-wing organizations.[24] It was reported in August 2017 that the DOJ was investigating Holder's policy.[25]
  • June 20, 2017—Attorney General Sessions launched the National Public Safety Partnership as part of a wider DOJ effort at countering violent crime.[26]
  • June 30, 2017—The Trump Administration sent 20 ATF agents to Chicago to help the city fight gun violence.[27] The local US Attorney said the same day that his office had already prosecuted more Chicago gun cases in 2017 than it had done throughout the entire year 2016.[28]
  • July 13, 2017—The DOJ announced it had charged 412 people for health care fraud schemes that had defrauded taxpayers of $1.3 billion, something Attorney General Sessions described as "the largest health care fraud takedown operation in American history."[29]
  • July 19, 2017—Attorney General Sessions reversed Eric Holder's limitation of asset forfeiture, expanding the ability for state and local law enforcement departments to seize property using federal law, rather than just state or local law. Several safeguards were implemented along with this policy.[30]
  • July 2017—It was reported that federal gun crime prosecutions by the DOJ in the preceding three months increased 23% over the same period in 2016, showing the Justice Department was taking a tough stance on gun crimes.[31]
  • August 2, 2017—The DOJ launched opioid fraud and abuse unit to fight opioid prescription abuses and the opioid crisis.[32]
  • August 4, 2017—Attorney General Sessions and the DOJ cracked down on illegal leaks of classified information from within the government, taking actions such as actively pursuing three times more investigations in the first six months of the Trump Administration than had been open at the end of the Obama Administration and by creating a counterintelligence unit in the FBI for these investigations.[33] Despite this, by the end of 2017, few leakers had been caught.[34]
  • August 28, 2017—President Trump signed an executive order reversing Obama-era limitations on police departments' ability to buy surplus military equipment and re-establishing a program ended by the Obama Administration to help the police departments acquire the equipment.[35]
  • September 15, 2017—The DOJ changed a program run by its Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, turning it from one from reforming police departments and dealing with use of force in the departments to one that would help departments fight violent crime.[36]
  • September 2017—The DOJ announced it had charged 3,800 suspected gang members from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, something which showed the DOJ's effort in combating criminal activity and gangs like MS-13 and 18th Street.[37]
  • October 5, 2017—The DOJ announced several initiatives for reducing violent crime, including recommitting to Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program intended to combat violent crime, and fast-tracking the process of tracing guns used in shootings back to the people who originally purchased them.[38]
  • October 23, 2017—Attorney General Sessions designated MS-13 as a priority for the DOJ's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces program, allowing the program to use a wide variety of laws to prosecute MS-13 members.[39]
  • November 17, 2017—Attorney General Sessions ended the Obama-era practice of issuing "guidance memos", which are used to enact new regulations and even to effectively change existing federal laws.[40]
  • December 21, 2017—Attorney General Sessions rescinded 25 guidance documents that dated back as far as 1975 for being "unnecessary, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper."[41]

Pardons, 2017

  • August 25, 2017—President Trump pardoned ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, noting his over 50 years of "exemplary" public service and fighting illegal immigration in the White House statement of the pardon.[42]

Appointments, 2017

  • President Trump appointed Noel Francisco, a strong conservative, as the U.S. Solicitor General, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him on September 19, 2017.[43]

Other achievements, 2017

While the following achievements were not official United States government policy actions by the Trump Administration, they were closely related to the Trump Administration and its policies:

  • President Trump expressed strong support for the police and strong opposition to violence directed at police.[44] Some law enforcement leaders described Trump as the biggest supporter of police in 2017 and argued that his support played a role in the reduction in anti-police violence that year.[45]
  • At a campaign-style rally held in Arizona on August 22, 2017, President Trump criticized the Antifa for its violence.[46]

Failures, 2017

  • The Trump DOJ was overly reluctant to pursue criminal charges against certain individuals. For example, in late 2017 and early 2018, Trump Administration ended the Obama Administration IRS scandal by settling with the affected organizations and apologizing,[47] but it still declined to investigate or prosecute IRS official Lois Lerner for her key role in the scandal.[48]

2018

Executive actions, 2018

Attorney General Sessions continued promoting conservative law-and-order policies as he did the previous year.[49] The Trump DOJ reversed the Obama DOJ position on four Supreme Court cases decided in 2018, and the Trump DOJ won all four of them.[50]

  • January 4, 2018—Attorney General Sessions issued a memo reversing a 2013 Obama-era policy that required U.S. Attorneys not to enforce the federal ban on Marijuana in states where it was legal.[51] In April 2018, however, President Trump reportedly pledged not to crack down on marijuana in states with legalization laws and to support states' rights on the issue.[52]
  • January 29, 2018—Attorney General Sessions announced the creation of a new team, the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE), to fight illegal online opioid sales.[53]
  • February 2, 2018—Going against intense opposition from Democrats and bureaucrats at the FBI and DOJ, President Trump chose to declassify a memo drafted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee detailing abuses made by FBI and DOJ officials in obtaining a FISA to spy on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.[54]
  • March 12, 2018—Despite also proposing gun control measures such as totally banning "bump stocks",[55] the DOJ also took measures to better enforce existing gun laws, such as giving federal agencies 45 days to verify full compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.[56]
  • March 16, 2018—Attorney General Sessions, on the recommendation of the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe for ethics violations less than two days before he was planning on retiring – the same date he would become eligible to claim a pension.[57]
  • March 21, 2018—Attorney General Sessions issued a memo directing federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty on certain drug cases.[58]
  • May 20–21, 2018—The DOJ and the FBI, upon pressure from President Trump, agreed to look into claims of FBI impropriety in its investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia.[59] Also on May 21, President Trump ordered his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, to make sure Congress would receive documents it requested from the FBI, DOJ, and other intelligence agencies.[60]
  • June 4, 2018—Attorney General Sessions announced the DOJ was hiring about 300 additional federal prosecutors in order to combat illegal immigration, the opioid crisis, and violent crime.[61]
  • The Trump Administration DOJ took several actions to fight sex crimes. For example, it and HUD began and expanded a program to counter sexual harassment in housing,[62] and the DOJ announced in June 2018 that it had arrested 2,300 suspected child sex offenders between March and May of that year.[63]
  • June 28, 2018—As part of the administration's efforts to address the opioid epidemic, the DOJ charged 601 people in the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action.[64]
  • July 3, 2018—The DOJ rescinded 24 Obama-era guidance documents on various topics, including affirmative action and asylum seekers.[65]
  • July 11, 2018—The Drug Enforcement Administration finalized a new rule allowing it to limit opioids used for abuse.[66]
  • July 11, 2018—President Trump signed an executive order – which the DOJ implemented the same day – creating a multi-agency consumer fraud task force.[67]
  • August 22, 2018—Attorney General Sessions announced several actions to combat opioids, including temporary restraining orders on two Ohio doctors for overprescribing opioids, indictments on two men living in China for illegally importing fentanyl to the U.S., and combating drug sales on the dark web.[68]

Pardons, 2018

By 2018, President Trump had pardoned several prominent conservatives – or made pardons connected to conservative causes – in addition to some celebrities.[69] He became the first president since George H. W. Bush to issue pardons within the first two years of his term.[70]

  • March 9, 2018—The White House announced that President Trump had pardoned Kristian Saucier, a Navy sailor who unlawfully took pictures of a classified room in a submarine and whose crime was compared to that of Hillary Clinton who was not punished for herself mishandling classified information.[71]
  • April 13, 2018—President Trump pardoned Scooter Libby, an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney who had been convicted in 2007 for obstruction of justice after a special counsel investigation criticized by conservatives.[72] Though many conservatives advocated for pardoning Libby prior to Trump's action, former President George W. Bush only chose to commute his sentence.[72]
  • May 24, 2018—President Trump posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, the first boxing champion who was black, something previous administrations such as the Bush and Obama administrations refused to do.[73]
  • May 31, 2018—President Trump pardoned conservative activist Dinesh D'Souza, who had been convicted in 2014 for making an illegal campaign contribution.[74]
  • July 10, 2018—President Trump pardoned Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers who were given unusually long sentences for setting a controlled fire that speak to federal lands, something which had inspired protests from conservative ranchers including Ammon Bundy.[75]

References

  1. Boyle, Matthew (July 25, 2017). Jeff Sessions: A Man Who Embodies the Movement That Elected Donald Trump President. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  2. Multiple references:
  3. Kendall, Brent; Bravin, Jess (January 5, 2018). Trump’s Justice Department Takes U-Turns on Obama-Era Positions. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  4. Boyer, Dave (December 26, 2017). Trump having trouble appointing swamp-drainers. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  5. Multiple references:
  6. Starr, Penny; Mason, Ian (July 25, 2017). Jeff Sessions’ Tenure at DOJ Marked by Progress on President Trump’s America First Agenda. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  7. Mason, Ian (July 2, 2017). Jeff Sessions to DOJ Hate Crime Summit: ‘We Will Not Tolerate the Targeting of Any Community in Our Country’. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  8. Carney, John (November 20, 2017). The Trump Era of Antitrust Enforcement Dawns. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 2, 2017.
  9. Chakraborty, Barnini (March 16, 2017). Trump administration reversal on private prison use faces pitfalls. Fox News. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  10. Fabian, Jordan (February 9, 2017). Trump signs executive actions aimed at crime crackdown. The Hill. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  11. Wheeler, Lydia (July 26, 2017). Sessions acting on violent crime task force recommendations. The Hill. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  12. AG Sessions asks remaining 46 US attorneys to resign. Fox News. March 10, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  13. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Seeks Resignations of 46 US Attorneys. Breitbart News. March 10, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
  14. Hawkins, Awr (March 11, 2017). Jeff Sessions Asks Chicago’s Failed Obama-Appointed Federal Prosecutor to Resign. Breitbart News. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  15. US attorney Bharara is fired after rejecting Sessions' step-down request. Fox News. March 11, 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  16. Mason, Ian (May 26, 2017). More Obama Holdovers Flushed Out of Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  17. Multiple references:
  18. Multiple references:
  19. Rodriguez, Katherine (April 12, 2017). Trump Does Not Intend to Ask FBI Director James Comey to Resign. Breitbart News. Retrieved April 13, 2017. However, President Trump later stated that he had been planning on firing Comey from the beginning of his presidency:
  20. Multiple references: It should be noted that at the time of his firing, Comey was very unpopular, moreso than the president:
  21. Multiple references: However, liberals and Democrats changed their positon on firing Comey, thus acting as hypocrites:
  22. Boyle, Matthew (May 10, 2017). The Unconventional President: Donald Trump Shakes Washington to Its Core by Firing Comey. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  23. Multiple references:
  24. Multiple references: See also:
  25. Mason, Ian (August 4, 2017). Exclusive – Jeff Sessions Orders Look into ‘DOJ Slush Fund’ Payments to Leftists. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  26. Mason, Ian (June 20, 2017). AG Jeff Sessions Vows to Counter Rise in Violent Crime, Launches ‘National Public Safety Partnership’. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  27. Multiple references:
  28. The Latest: Feds prosecuting most Chicago gun cases in years. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  29. Multiple references:
  30. Multiple references: Some conservatives opposed this action:
  31. Multiple references:
  32. Multiple references:
  33. Multiple references:
  34. Nelson, Steven (December 30, 2017). Despite threatened crackdown, few leakers caught under Trump and Jeff Sessions. Washington Examiner. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  35. Multiple references:
  36. Multiple references:
  37. Multiple references:
  38. Multiple references:
  39. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references:
  41. Multiple references: See also:
  42. Multiple references: See also:
  43. Multiple references:
  44. Multiple sources:
  45. Noble, Andrea (December 26, 2017). Law enforcement leaders say Trump’s strong support for police saves lives. The Washington Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  46. Spiering, Charlie (August 22, 2017). Donald Trump Calls Out Antifa for Violence. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  47. Multiple references: The last settlement was announced on February 1, 2018: See also:
  48. Multiple references:
  49. Multiple references: See also:
  50. Swoyer, Alex (June 28, 2018). Sessions' reversals on four Obama positions validated by Supreme Court. The Washington Times. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  51. Multiple references: The memo issued by Sessions: See also: By June 2018, Sessions's memo had made little impact on the federal government's effective marijuana policy:
  52. Multiple references: See also:
  53. Multiple references:
  54. Multiple references: See also:
  55. Multiple references:
  56. Multiple references:
  57. Multiple references: See also:
  58. Multiple references:
  59. Multiple references:
  60. Multiple references:
  61. Multiple references:
  62. Multiple references:
  63. Multiple references: See also:
  64. Multiple references:
  65. Multiple references:
  66. Multiple references:
  67. Multiple references: See also:
  68. Multiple references:
  69. Multiple references: See also:
  70. Multiple references:
  71. Multiple references:
  72. 72.0 72.1 Multiple references:
  73. Multiple references: See also:
  74. Multiple references: See also:
  75. Multiple references: