Politics House progressives urge Garland to intervene in ex-environmental lawyer Steven Donziger's case
Garland urges Abbott to undo executive order aimed at curbing migration
The U.S. “intends to pursue all appropriate legal remedies" if the Texas order is not reversed.The attorney general called Abbott’s order “both dangerous and unlawful” in a Thursday letter to the governor. “The Order violates federal law in numerous respects, and Texas cannot lawfully enforce the Executive Order against any federal official or private parties working with the United States,” Garland wrote.
Nine House Democrats on Tuesday called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to intervene in the case of a former environmental lawyer who has alleged his prison sentence is in retaliation for his work against Chevron.
The lawmakers sent the letter ahead of Steven Donziger's appeal of his six-month sentence on contempt charges. The letter notes President Biden's assertions of U.S. leadership on climate at the COP26 summit in November, saying "the entire world is watching whether our actions will match our words."
"That an internationally respected human rights lawyer sits in prison right now while Chevron avoids billions in judgments for intentionally destroying the rainforest is an outrage that highlights just how critical our fight against corporate greed is to our future," Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who co-led the letter, said in a statement.
Is Merrick Garland letting Trump’s people off the hook?
The debate over the attorney general’s reckoning with Trump’s legacy, explained.The former federal judge has promised to restore the independence of the Justice Department after years of Trump-related controversies. But a narrative has formed that Garland is too set on moving forward, and not focused enough on bringing wrongdoers associated with the Trump administration to justice.
"Chevron is setting a dangerous precedent that other corporate polluters will follow to avoid responsibility for the devastation they cause, and the DOJ should intervene immediately to rectify this situation or risk endorsing it as a blueprint for turning victims and their lawyers into criminals," Tlaib added.
In addition to Tlaib, the letter is signed by Democratic Reps. Chuy Garcia (Ill.), Cori Bush (Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.).
Donziger sued Texaco in the 1990s on behalf of indigenous Ecuadorians and farmers and secured an $8.5 billion judgment in 2011 in an Ecuador court. That year, Chevron, which acquired Texaco in 2001, countersued Donziger, alleging he secured the judgment through bribery and evidence tampering.
Liberals may end up liking much of Merrick Garland's Justice Department after all
Attorney General Merrick Garland's effort to restore public trust in the Justice Department quietly may be turning into one progressive Democrats like, after months of handwringing among some critics on the left that he would block accountability for Trump-era abuses. © Mandel Ngan/AP In this April 26, 2021 photo, Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice in Washington. In a court filing Tuesday, the Justice Department rejected pro-Trump Republican Rep. Mo Brooks's request to be shielded from a lawsuit related to his incendiary comments before the January 6 Capitol attack.
A federal judge overturned the award and charged Donziger with contempt, after which he was placed under house arrest for over two years. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska sentenced Donziger to six months in October.
Donziger's prosecution has also attracted international condemnation, including from the United Nations' Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which noted Donziger has already been under arrest for longer than the maximum sentence for the charges. Critics have also noted that Judge Lewis Kaplan took the unusual step of appointing private attorneys to prosecute the charges after federal prosecutors declined.
Tlaib also grilled Chevron CEO Michael Wirth about the Donziger case at a House Oversight Committee hearing of energy CEOs. In April, she joined Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman and Bush, as well as Reps. James McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), in a letteron Garland to review the case.
The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.
Fact check: FBI is not using threat tags on parents who protest at school board meetings .
The FBI created tags to track threats against school officials, according to an email exchange between FBI personnel.The nature of the FBI's work in that sphere came into question Nov. 16, when Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote a letter to Garland saying House Republicans received information from a whistleblower that the FBI was using a specific "threat tag" to track potential investigations.