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Jeff Sessions’ DOJ deletes ‘need for free press’ section in key manual for federal prosecutors

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The Dept. of Justice has revamped a key and critical manual for federal prosecutors, remaking it to reflect the vision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ priorities and goals.

“In: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime policies. Out: A section titled ‘Need for Free Press and Public Trial.’ References to the department’s work on racial gerrymandering are gone. Language about limits on prosecutorial power has been edited down,” Buzzfeed reports.

“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.”

Buzzfeed notes that the manual, technically titled the United States Attorneys Manual, is actually used by federal prosecutors and throughout the Justice Dept.

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.”

In short, Sessions is opting to change the DOJ’s First Amendment focus to preserving and expanding “religious liberty,” and gutting freedom of the press protections.

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The racial gerrymandering section, in part, had read:

“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.”

Under Attorney General Eric Holder the manual was changed to advocate for charging decisions that “fairly reflect the defendant’s criminal conduct.”

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.”

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2020 Election

New report targets 15 House Democrats who ‘deserve’ progressive primary challengers

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As progressive candidates continue to announce their intentions to oust corporate Democrats, a new report names 15 House Democrats to unseat in primary challenges.

Published Monday by the left-leaning group RootsAction, the new report is entitled Bad Blues: Some of the House Democrats Who Deserve to Be 'Primaried.'

The list, the report notes, "is by no means exhaustive—only illustrative."

"There may well be a Democratic member of Congress near you not included here who serves corporate interests more than majority interests, or has simply grown tired or complacent in the never-ending struggles for social, racial, and economic justice as well as environmental sanity and peace," the report notes. "Perhaps you live in a district where voters are ready to be inspired by a progressive primary candidate because the Democrat in Congress is not up to the job."

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‘A true public health emergency’: 70+ medical groups sound alarm on climate crisis

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Groups lay out action agenda to advance climate solutions and strengthen resiliency

Scores of medical groups on Monday called the climate crisis "a health emergency" and laid out what they framed as a blueprint for the public and private sector to take swift action.

The agenda is signed by over 70 groups, including the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the National Association of Social Workers.

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Citing CIA’s dark history, librarians protest agency’s recruiting at their conference

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"Everything they stand for is a violation of the values of librarianship, so we protested."

A group of librarians demanded the American Library Association abide by its values on Friday as they staged a protest of the CIA's presence and recruitment at the professional organization's annual conference.

At the convention, which is taking place June 20-25 in Washington, D.C., the CIA is among the hundreds of exhibitors.

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