web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Trump, Donald J

Federal Budget Would Raise Spending by $320 Billion

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158074476_64635c03-fbc9-4e66-b951-0f927a68b120-facebookJumbo Federal Budget Would Raise Spending by $320 Billion United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy National Debt (US) Mnuchin, Steven T Federal Budget (US)

WASHINGTON — White House and congressional negotiators reached accord on a two-year budget on Monday that would raise spending caps and lift the government’s debt ceiling, likely averting a fiscal crisis but splashing still more red ink on an already surging deficit.

If passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, the deal would stop a potential debt default this fall and avoid automatic spending cuts next year. The agreement would also bring clarity about government spending over the rest of Mr. Trump’s term.

But it is another sign that a Capitol once consumed by fiscal worries simply no longer cares — even as the government’s red ink approaches $1 trillion a year.

“It’s pretty clear that both houses of Congress and both parties have become big spenders, and Congress is no longer concerned about the extent of the budget deficits or the debt they add,” said David M. McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that advocates for free-enterprise.

The agreement, struck by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, would raise spending by $320 billion, compared to the strict spending levels established in the 2011 Budget Control Act and set to go into effect next year without legislative action. Spending on domestic and military programs would increase equally, a key demand of Ms. Pelosi, offset by about $75 billion in spending cuts, far lower than the $150 billion in cuts that some White House officials initially demanded.

The deal would lift the debt ceiling high enough to allow the government to keep borrowing for two more years, punting the next showdown past the 2020 elections. The negotiators hope to enact the accord before Congress leaves for its August recess.

The president said he was pleased with the added military spending and made no mention of the mounting deficits that he and Republicans once railed against.

The deal is a coup de grâce for the Budget Control Act of 2011, which President Barack Obama signed into law after House Republicans, led by the current acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, pushed the government to the brink of defaulting on its debt. The law, once seen as the Republicans’ crowning achievement in the Obama era, set strict spending caps, enforced with automatic spending cuts.

But since 2014, a succession of budget deals has waived the Budget Control Act caps, and the new deal not only lifts them again but allows the whole law to expire in 2021.

Meantime, the federal debt has ballooned to $22 trillion. Despite healthy economic growth, the federal deficit for this fiscal year has reached $747 billion with two months to go — a 23 percent increase from the year before.

“It appears that Congress and the president have just given up on their jobs,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which blasted out a statement arguing the tentative deal “may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history.”

“The economy is great and able to accommodate changes,” she said in an interview. “But we’re about to make things worse due to nothing other than the lack of political will.”

The rising costs of an aging population, with the baby boom generation drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits, and Washington’s spending habits have led to increases in both federal spending and interest costs on the growing national debt. During the first two years of the Trump administration, the debt increased by more than $2 trillion, in part because of the 10-year, $1.5 trillion tax cut and large spending increases Mr. Trump signed into law.

The president has repeatedly called for deep spending cuts in the budgets he has submitted to Congress — then signed several laws that have boosted the deficit even further.

As president, Mr. Trump has overseen both a binge in discretionary spending and a plunge in expected tax revenues as a result of the tax cut legislation that stands as his signature legislative achievement. The federal budget deficit has increased by an average of 15 percent for each fiscal year he has been in office. (Mr. Obama ran large deficits in his first term in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But his second term saw deficits fall by an average of 11 percent per fiscal year.)

In that first Obama term, which included a large government stimulus package to jump-start job creation in the depths of the recession, discretionary spending on military and domestic items rose by about 3 percent per year, on average. In his second term, such spending declined by an annual average of nearly 2 percent.

Mr. Trump is currently on pace to increase discretionary spending by an average of nearly 4 percent per year.

Mr. Trump’s tax cuts, which reduced rates for businesses and individuals, have not paid for themselves, as some administration officials said they would. Instead, they have reduced individual and corporate tax revenues by about 8 percent per year, compared to what budget forecasters expected before the cuts were passed into law.

Combined with increased costs from paying interest on a larger national debt, the tax cuts are on pace to add nearly $400 billion to the national debt in the course of the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office.

But Democrats are not inclined toward austerity either. In the first round of Democratic presidential debates, the national debt was barely mentioned.

Still, passage of the budget agreement is not certain. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Mnuchin, who have led the negotiations in private phone calls over the last week, will have to sell the deal to their parties ahead of an anticipated House vote this week, before that chamber leaves on Friday. The Senate is scheduled to leave for its recess next week.

In her caucus, Ms. Pelosi must wrangle votes from both her fiscal hawks and liberal members opposed to increased military spending. Mr. Mnuchin must secure the president’s signature and wave off critics of government spending such as Mr. Mulvaney.

But the threat of an economically disastrous default on the nation’s debt, coupled with widespread desire to avoid automatic cuts to military and domestic programs, are likely enough for the proposed measure to become law.

“I can’t imagine anybody ever even thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge,” Mr. Trump said on Friday. “We can never play with it.”

Once a deal is enacted, lawmakers have to race to agree on how to allocate the money before Oct. 1, when current spending laws expire.

Meantime, the deficit hawks are getting more disheartened.

“Everybody getting what they want is not bipartisan compromise, it’s irresponsible policymaking that harms the next generation,” said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an advocacy group for debt reduction.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Administration to Expand Fast-Tracked Deportations Across the U.S.

Westlake Legal Group 22dc-dhs-facebookJumbo Trump Administration to Expand Fast-Tracked Deportations Across the U.S. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Immigration and Emigration Homeland Security Department Executive Orders and Memorandums Deportation

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Monday it would speed the deportations of undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States for more than two years, allowing federal agents to arrest and deport people without a hearing before a judge.

The shift, published in the Federal Register, will more aggressively enforce immigration laws that, until now, generally called for the deportation of migrants who had been in the United States for only a few weeks and remained 100 miles from the southwestern border. It was announced a week after Trump administration officials said they would severely restrict asylum at the border.

Critics warned that the new rule, set to take effect on Tuesday, could also prevent asylum seekers from applying for refuge in the United States before they are deported.

“It’s a pile-on,” said Royce Murray, a managing director of the American Immigration Council, a nonprofit advocacy organization that plans to challenge the program’s expansion in court.

The administration, she said, was “definitely throwing everything they have at asylum seekers in an effort to turn everyone humanly possible away and to deport as many people as possible.”

“There’s no other conclusion to draw,” Ms. Murray added.

Kevin K. McAleenan, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said the expanded rule would “help to alleviate some of the burden and capacity issues,” including freeing beds at detention facilities.

In the 2018 fiscal year, the department expedited deportations for migrants who had been held for an average of 11 days. It usually takes an average of 51 days to remove migrants from the United States, officials have said.

The new rule would ensure that deportations could be carried out over “weeks — not months or years,” said Theresa Cardinal Brown, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Taken together, the Trump administration’s recent spate of restrictive immigration policies could bar significant numbers of people from seeking asylum in the United States.

Last week, the administration announced that it would deny protections to immigrants who fail to apply for asylum in at least one country they pass through on their way north. The shift prevents nearly all Central Americans who are seeking asylum from entering the United States, and was challenged in court by a coalition of immigrant advocates the day after it was announced.

Former homeland security officials and immigration advocates agreed that the policy announced on Monday would also likely be challenged in court.

The former rules for fast-tracking deportations, as enacted in 1996, made clear that the program could be expanded in the future if faced with a surge of illegal immigration.

Ms. Brown, who worked at the department from 2005 to 2011, said officials then were concerned about how someone stopped by immigration agents could prove they had been in the United States for more than two years.

Immigrant-rights advocates, who had been preparing for the announcement since early in President Trump’s term, shared those concerns on Monday.

“This is a national ‘show me your papers’ law,” Ms. Murray said, referring to a now-infamous Arizona immigration statute that required the police to question the legal status of anyone who was suspected of being in the United States illegally.

“The burden is on the individual to prove that expedited removal does not apply to them,” she said. “So if you don’t have the necessary paperwork on you — to show that you have a lease, or that you have status — then you could be taken into custody to try to fight this. And the problem is that this is a fast tracked process.”

Immigrants who are eligible for asylum and placed into expedited removal proceedings will still be entitled to an interview with an asylum officer if they claim a fear of returning to their country.

Given the administration’s attempt to restrict asylum, Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration at Cornell Law School, said that some immigrants could be removed in violation of their due process rights.

“Some U.S. citizens may also be erroneously expeditiously removed because they can’t prove their citizenship to the satisfaction of an immigration agent,” Mr. Yale-Loehr said. “This notice is the latest attack in the Trump administration’s war on immigrants.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Tentative Federal Budget Would Raise Spending by $320 Billion

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158074476_64635c03-fbc9-4e66-b951-0f927a68b120-facebookJumbo Tentative Federal Budget Would Raise Spending by $320 Billion United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pelosi, Nancy National Debt (US) Mnuchin, Steven T Federal Budget (US)

WASHINGTON — White House officials and congressional lawmakers are nearing a deal that would boost government spending levels over the next two years and raise the federal borrowing limit. If passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, it would avert a default crisis this fall and avoid automatic spending cuts next year.

The agreement would raise spending by $320 billion, compared to the strict spending levels established in the 2011 Budget Control Act and set to go into effect next year without legislative action, according to three people familiar with the negotiations who requested anonymity to discuss the unfinished deal.

The accord, which negotiators hope to enact before Congress leaves for its August recess, includes equal increases in domestic and military spending, a key demand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, according to one person familiar with the talks. It would also include offsetting spending cuts of about $75 billion, far lower than the $150 billion that some White House officials initially demanded.

The deal would lift the debt ceiling high enough to allow the government to keep borrowing for two more years, punting the next showdown past the 2020 elections.

People familiar with the negotiations stressed that the talks were continuing, but all sides have strong incentives to come together quickly. Without action, Congress will either have to postpone departure for its monthlong August recess or rush back early to finish the deal before the government runs out of money, which could be as early as September.

At the White House on Monday Mr. Trump said, “we are having very good talks” on the budget and the debt limit. He said he was pleased with additional investment in the military.

Ms. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who have led the negotiations in private phone calls over the last week, will have to sell a deal to their parties ahead of an anticipated House vote this week, before that chamber leaves on Friday. The Senate is scheduled to leave for its recess next week.

In her caucus, Ms. Pelosi must wrangle votes from both her fiscal hawks and liberal members opposed to increased military spending. Mr. Mnuchin must secure the president’s signature and wave off critics of government spending like Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, and Russell T. Vought, the acting head of the Office of Management and Budget.

Some Republican lawmakers and officials within the administration want to reject any budget that is not fully offset by spending cuts or that does not carry a promise from Democrats that they would drop liberal policy changes from future spending bills.

But the threat of an economically disastrous default on the nation’s debt, coupled with widespread desire to avoid automatic cuts to military and domestic programs, may be enough for the proposed measure to become law.

“I can’t imagine anybody ever even thinking of using the debt ceiling as a negotiating wedge,” Mr. Trump said on Friday. “We can never play with it.”

Mr. Trump criticized the Republican Party in 2013 for agreeing to lift the debt ceiling, and Mr. Mulvaney and his allies in the House used a looming debt default in 2011 to force passage of the Budget Control Act, which set the spending caps that the new deal would once again lift.

Since 2014, a succession of budget deals has waived the Budget Control Act caps, and the deal in its current form does not revive them past their expiration in 2021.

Meantime, the federal debt has ballooned to $22 trillion. Despite healthy economic growth, the federal deficit for this fiscal year has reached $747 billion with two months to go — a 23 percent increase from the year before.

“It appears that Congress and the president have just given up on their jobs,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which blasted out a statement arguing the tentative deal “may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history.”

“The economy is great and able to accommodate changes,” she said in an interview. “But we’re about to make things worse due to nothing other than the lack of political will.”

The rising costs of an aging population, with the baby boom generation drawing Social Security and Medicare benefits, and Washington’s spending habits have led to increases in both federal spending and interest costs on the growing national debt. During the first two years of the Trump administration, the debt increased by more than $2 trillion, in part because of the 10-year, $1.5 trillion tax cut and large spending increases Mr. Trump signed into law.

Lawmakers and officials who once raised alarm over the growing debt — including Mr. Trump himself, who warned in 2015 that debt over $21 trillion would “have effectively bankrupted our country” — have largely fallen silent. In the first round of Democratic presidential debates, the national debt was barely mentioned, with candidates choosing to focus on countering economic inequality and beefing up government programs.

Once a deal is enacted, lawmakers have to race to agree on how to allocate the money before Oct. 1, when current spending laws expire. The House has passed 10 of the 12 spending bills needed to keep the government open afterward, but that legislation will have to be updated based on funding levels from any budget deal.

The Senate has not yet begun work on any of the bills, which need to be reconciled with the House legislation and approved by the president.

“I want to go to work, I want to do our jobs as appropriators,” said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It kind of makes the Appropriations Committee the nothing committee.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims That Democrats Are Radical Socialists

WASHINGTON — President Trump has made branding Democrats as out-of-the-mainstream, economy-wrecking socialists one of the centerpieces of his re-election strategy. He has sought to do so partly by making four junior Democratic members of Congress — all women of color who are on the left side of the party’s ideological spectrum — the faces of the party, and conflating their views with the Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination.

It is a message he has repeated with varying degrees of intensity and accuracy for weeks. And while a few of his fellow Republicans have expressed unease about how he has framed his scathing criticism of one of those four Democrats — Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia and immigrated to the United States as a refugee — as a call for her to “go back” to her native country, Republicans have embraced the president’s broader efforts to cast Democrats as socialists.

How much truth is there to Mr. Trump’s characterization of the Democratic Party? Here is a fact check.

What Mr. Trump said

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream.”

First things first: All Democrats are not socialists. Most Democrats are not socialists. Of the 24 candidates for president, only Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont identifies himself as a democratic socialist. (Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the four House members the president has taken to trashing, rose to fame after running on a democratic socialist platform.)

The rest of the presidential field has rejected the socialism label. While in many cases their policy positions are well to the left of where the party was just a few years ago, that development has other prominent Democrats concerned. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and former Representative John Delaney of Maryland are arguing that the Democratic Party cannot be defined by a candidate who embraces socialism.

Even Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is the most ideologically aligned with Mr. Sanders among the 2020 contenders, says she is not a socialist. When she is asked about the difference between her and Mr. Sanders, her stock answer has been that she is “a capitalist to my bones.”

It is true that every Democratic presidential candidate vying to replace Mr. Trump has called for increasing the federal commitment to health care, education and the environment, among other proposals. Those plans would generally require substantially more government spending, higher taxes, an increased public-sector role in private markets and a reversal of the deregulatory push championed by Mr. Trump.

While the Democratic agenda is consistent with policies the party has pursued for decades, some proposals from the more left-leaning candidates would be more far-reaching than the party’s platform in the past several election cycles. The proposal supported by some of the 2020 candidates to eliminate private health insurance would be a clear turn to the left, and calls for policies like a wealth tax are unapologetically redistributionist at a time of growing inequality.

But Mr. Trump has hardly produced an Ayn Rand meritocracy during his presidency.

In May, the Agriculture Department said it would give $16 billion in aid to farmers hurt by Mr. Trump’s trade war with China. Farmers in the Midwest — particularly in Iowa, home of the nation’s first presidential nominating contest — have said the funds do not come close to matching income they have lost because of falling commodity prices that followed China’s retaliatory tariffs.

And Mr. Trump’s fellow Republicans have long advocated various government giveaways to corporations, which Mr. Sanders and others have deemed “corporate socialism.”

What Mr. Trump said

“There’s a rumor the Democrats are going to change the name of the party from the ‘Democrat Party’ to the ‘Socialist Party.’”

Putting aside the fact that it is called the Democratic Party and stipulating that it is impossible to disprove a rumor that Mr. Trump may or may not have heard, no, the Democrats are not changing their name to the Socialist Party. And there are few similarities between what Democrats are proposing and the types of outcomes Mr. Trump tries to link them to, especially when he invokes Venezuela and its economic and humanitarian crisis as a warning that socialism is a harbinger of catastrophe.

There are, of course, very different strains of socialism. To an immigrant from Cuba or Venezuela who fled countries with centrally planned economies and neighborhood spies who inform on dissenters to the government, socialism means a very different thing than to Mr. Sanders, who envisions a northern European-style social safety net that drastically increases public spending on health care, education and environmental protection.

On economic issues, Democrats in the United States are far to the right of the governing parties in most other western democracies.

Canada and Britain, for instance, have single-payer universal health care systems that are politically sacrosanct, even among their mainstream conservative parties. Northern European governments — Denmark, Norway and Sweden — subsidize far more of their citizens’ lives and tax income at far higher rates than have been proposed by Mr. Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist.

The Nordic countries — with their high tax rates and generous social benefits — are often cited as examples by Mr. Sanders and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez as models to emulate. Tax revenue made up more than 40 percent of the gross domestic product in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, for example, in 2017, compared with 27.1 percent for the United States. That revenue finances child care, basic and advanced education, health care and care for the countries’ older residents.

What Mr. Trump said

“You have some of these socialist wackos, they want to double and triple your taxes, and that won’t come close to paying for it.”

The slew of programs many Democratic candidates have supported — universal health care, affordable child care, and higher education and a higher minimum wage — are more accurately labeled proposals of social democrats rather than socialists, said Peter Dreier, a professor at Occidental College and scholar of the left.

But “nobody has a plan to take government ownership of the means of production,” he said, referring to the dictionary definition of socialism. “Nobody’s talking about the government taking over Microsoft or Walmart or Wells Fargo or Disney.”

Some of the Democratic plans — especially when it comes to health care — would entail substantial changes in the way the economy operates now. Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, for example, would eliminate private health insurance entirely, putting all Americans in a government-run system.

Other proposals would be very expensive. Mr. Sanders wants to eliminate the student debt of nearly 45 million graduates and eliminate tuition and fees at public four-year institutions and community colleges. He estimates the cost at $2.2 trillion, to be paid for with a tax on financial transactions.

The big unknown when it comes to cost is health care. The Congressional Budget Office was asked this year to look at the costs of “Medicare for all” programs like the one advocated by Mr. Sanders.

“Government spending on health care would increase substantially,” the report said, but it declined to provide any specific estimates because of the wide range of options about how such a plan would work.

Studies of plans like the one promoted by Mr. Sanders have concluded that patients would spend far less on health care than they do now, and the government would spend far more, presumably requiring higher taxes. For some people, any tax increase might be more than offset by reductions in their spending on premiums, co-payments and other health care costs. But others could end up paying more in new taxes than they save.

Mr. Sanders and other Democrats make the point that Americans already pay far more for health care than people in other countries but often get inferior care.

What Mr. Trump said

“Don’t underestimate the power of socialism to get a vote.”

There is some evidence that more Americans are open to socialism. A Gallup poll released in May found that 43 percent of Americans believe socialism is a “good thing” for the country, as opposed to 51 percent who said it was a “bad thing.” In 1942, the split was 25 percent saying it was a good thing compared to 40 percent saying bad thing — a spread that was twice as large as it is now.

Trying to frame policy proposals that expand the social safety net as socialism is a time-honored tradition in Republican politics, one intended more to motivate Republican voters to turn out than to change minds among Democrats.

Ronald Reagan began his political career calling Medicare “socialized medicine” that would doom the country. The Republican campaign to block the Affordable Care Act, before and since it was enacted, has consisted largely of suggesting it represents the creep of socialism into the country’s health care system.

But Mr. Trump won election in 2016 after promising to maintain the Medicare system and replace the Affordable Care Act with a health care law that would cover all Americans.

In Another About-Face, Trump Refuses to Condemn ‘Send Her Back’ Chant

July 19, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158179401_82d231d7-038d-4a43-9845-79d662047a1a-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims That Democrats Are Radical Socialists United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Socialism (Theory and Philosophy) Presidential Election of 2020 Omar, Ilhan Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Democratic Party
Examining Trump’s Claims About Representative Ilhan Omar

July 18, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158094711_dd7d39ae-f445-4617-b114-d2dd6188d351-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims That Democrats Are Radical Socialists United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Socialism (Theory and Philosophy) Presidential Election of 2020 Omar, Ilhan Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Democratic Party
Trump Tells Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to the Countries They Came From

July 14, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 14dc-trump-hp-promo-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims That Democrats Are Radical Socialists United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Socialism (Theory and Philosophy) Presidential Election of 2020 Omar, Ilhan Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Democratic Party

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

These Michigan Voters Show How Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Attack May Help Him

PORT HURON, Mich. — As President Trump presses his attacks against four women of color in Congress, suggesting they are unpatriotic and should leave the country, many voters in this city on Lake Huron are embracing his “America — Love It or Leave It” message, saying they do not see it as racist.

And though they dismiss Mr. Trump’s Twitter broadsides as excessive or juvenile, they voiced strong support for his re-election and expressed their own misgivings about the four women.

“They happen to be black or colored,” Dennis Kovach, 82, said of the women, as he watered the lawn of his home near the lake this weekend. “But I don’t think that viewpoint is a racist viewpoint. I think it’s — quit the bitching, if you don’t like it, do something different about it.”

Tim Marzolf, 57, sitting on a nearby porch on one of the hottest days of July, had a similar view, saying he had been turned off since Day 1 by Representative Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian-American lawmaker from Detroit who is one of the women the president has attacked.

“Something struck me wrong,” said Mr. Marzolf, a factory worker, referring to Ms. Tlaib’s call for Mr. Trump’s impeachment. “She got elected and came out with the F-word on Trump.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158255949_1f8f808c-a063-48d5-82b1-f28f2387e11c-articleLarge These Michigan Voters Show How Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Attack May Help Him United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J St. Clair County, Mich. Presidential Election of 2020

Dennis Kovach, 82, said he didn’t see a viable presidential option in 2016 so he didn’t vote for either candidate. Since then, he has come around to Mr. Trump.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

As Mr. Trump signaled his intent last week to rely on nationalism and identity politics to propel his re-election campaign — portraying Democrats as out of sync with American values — his message did not appear to be backfiring with the conservative voters he hopes to bring out in force in 2020. In this overwhelmingly white district an hour north of Detroit, where his popularity remains high, his comments left people in the familiar position of having to choose a side in the aftermath of another Trump-instigated outrage. And they chose his.

Mr. Trump carried St. Clair County, an auto parts manufacturing center on the Canadian border, with 63 percent of the vote in 2016, cementing a narrow statewide victory and Michigan’s crucial 16 electoral votes. The margin of victory — less than 11,000 votes — was his slimmest in any state.

[Falling trust in government makes it harder to solve problems, Americans say]

Michigan is an important piece of Mr. Trump’s path to re-election and is already the focus of some of the Republican Party’s most extensive get-out-the-vote efforts. On Friday, the state party and the Trump campaign kicked off what one party official described in an email to supporters as “the largest and most robust ground game Michigan has ever seen.”

In truth, Michigan could be one of the purest laboratories to test a central paradox of the president’s re-election strategy: To win while he remains widely unpopular — his approval rating is consistently less than 50 percent in national opinion polls — voters don’t need to like him as much as they need to dislike the Democratic nominee.

And as his actions over the last week have shown, he is trying to ensure that happens, by inflicting as much damage as he possibly can to the Democrats’ brand.

Mr. Trump carried St. Clair County, an auto parts manufacturing center on the Canadian border, with 63 percent of the vote in 2016.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

In Port Huron, many residents said they were willing to ignore Mr. Trump’s outbursts, pointing to strong hiring in local factories as evidence he was doing a good job. Some raised fears about a move toward socialism within the Democratic Party, and suggested that Mr. Trump’s remarks might even gain him support by showcasing just how far left the Democratic Party has shifted.

The racial divisiveness of his attacks seemed to be pushed to the side.

Fred Miller, the Democratic clerk of nearby Macomb County, a national bellwether that voted twice for Barack Obama but then flipped to Mr. Trump, attributes the lack of outrage to a cultural disconnect over the way many people define racism.

“When some people rightfully call out Trump for these offensive, disgusting comments, I think a lot of other people see themselves in Trump,” he said. “They may not have a college degree, they might not speak about race in P.C. terms, but they don’t think they’re racists.”

So when the president “turns around and says, ‘I’m not racist,’” Mr. Miller added, “I think there are a lot of people who think they don’t have a racist bone in their body either. And Trump gets that.”

Democrats are seeing clear signs in their own research that the president is not as weak politically as he might appear. Last week, lawmakers were presented with the findings of a new poll that looked at sentiment in the so-called pivot counties like Macomb. The poll, commissioned by the progressive campaign finance reform organization End Citizens United, found that a generic Democratic presidential candidate beats Mr. Trump by only 2 points in these counties, 48 percent to 46 percent.

“People get upset about what he says, but he’s still doing his job,” said Catherine Plichta, 63, an Air Force veteran, of the president.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

Even so, Representative Paul Mitchell, the conservative Republican who represents the Port Huron area, struck a note of caution. “I do believe this strategy will be damaging to this election,” Mr. Mitchell said in a telephone interview. He has asked for a meeting with the president, hoping to add his voice to other Republicans who have urged Mr. Trump to restrain himself.

All of the women whom Mr. Trump told to “go back’’ to their countries — Ms. Tlaib and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — are United States citizens, and only one, Ms. Omar, was born outside the country, in Somalia.

[The conservative radio host Michael Savage is skeptical about President Trump. But his audience isn’t.]

“I was appalled by the chanting ‘send her back,’” Mr. Mitchell said of the crowd at Mr. Trump’s rally Wednesday in North Carolina, where the chant was directed at Ms. Omar. For Mr. Mitchell, the message struck close to home. “My youngest son was born in Russia,” he said. “We adopted him. He’s an American.”

Mr. Trump’s attacks on the congresswomen — he renewed them Sunday with a Twitter post saying they were not capable of loving America, and again on Monday when he called them “a very Racist group of troublemakers’’ — could also hurt him by motivating black voters and increasing their turnout.

A crowd by the Black River in downtown Port Huron during the Blue Water Fest’s Boat Night on Friday.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

At Port Huron’s St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Sandra J. Woodard was preparing for the church’s 100th anniversary. “What I can say is that the comments are certainly not something that a person who has feelings for others would make, particularly a president who is supposed to be representing all people,” Ms. Woodard said.

Mr. Trump’s strength in 2016 was — and remains — largely dependent on how he fared against a widely mistrusted opponent. Roughly 75,000 voters in Michigan did not vote for president at all but did vote in races further down ballot, suggesting that there were enough Michiganders who found both candidates so unappealing that their absence helped put Mr. Trump over the edge.

There are some cautionary signs for his 2020 campaign, a prognosis reflected anecdotally and in Republicans’ private polling in Michigan. When the president is matched against a Democratic opponent like Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, he loses. Crucially, he has not reached 50 percent in any polls taken in Michigan, a perilous position for any incumbent.

[Which Democrats are leading the 2020 presidential race this week?]

But the version of the Democratic Party that voters here are seeing is also unpopular, as the two dozen presidential candidates debate issues that seem antithetical to their concerns — like decriminalizing illegal border crossings and offering Medicaid to undocumented immigrants.

“I hear it all the time from other people who say: ‘I’m a Republican. I didn’t vote for him, but I don’t see how I can’t this time,’” said Greg McNeilly, a Republican strategist from Western Michigan, a party stronghold. “People have become desensitized to his conduct. And now, given where Democrats are landing on policy, I think that is really frightening people.”

Eric Hayden, a retired food service director, had plastered his Facebook page with criticism of the four freshmen congresswomen.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

The state has some sentimental value for the president as one he was not expected to win, and Republicans on the ground are taking nothing for granted.

“Our team is out in the field as we speak conducting trainings, activating volunteers, registering voters and communicating directly with the people of our state,” said a memo circulated to party insiders on Friday, which called the 2020 race “one of the most critical elections of our lifetime.”

Representative Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat whose district is a potpourri of partisanship, stretching from the liberal redoubt of Ann Arbor to the industrial communities south of Detroit, said in an interview that her party cannot afford to be lulled into complacency by the president’s low approval ratings.

“People are engaged earlier than I’ve ever seen,’’ said Ms. Dingell, one of the few Democrats who warned the Clinton campaign in 2016 that Mr. Trump was stronger than he appeared in the state. “And if I had to guess, I’d say most people have made up their minds.”

Now, she added, “I wouldn’t make a prediction about how the election is going to go.”

Saul Anuzis, a former state Republican Party chairman, said that while the president was mostly energizing his base by attacking the four women, the Democrats’ shift to the left could also work to Mr. Trump’s advantage among swing voters in 2020.

There are some cautionary signs for Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign. He has not reached 50 percent in any polls taken in Michigan, and matched against a Democratic opponent like Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, he loses.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

The congresswomen “very much represent the loony left, from my perspective,” he said, “and I think mainstream Democrats don’t necessarily agree with these folks.”

On Saturday, Port Huron staged its biggest party weekend of the year, with a street festival and an annual boat race to Mackinac Island. Several downtown workers, partygoers and sunbathers said they feared what might happen if Mr. Trump lost.

“People get upset about what he says, but he’s still doing his job,” said Catherine Plichta, 63, an Air Force veteran, as she ate lunch on Main Street. “I voted for him and I’m going to vote for him again. He supports veterans.”

Eric Hayden, a retired food service director, had plastered his Facebook page with criticism of the four freshmen congresswomen.

“Those women are a little extreme,” Mr. Hayden, 54, said as he was leaving his home for a cocktail party at the yacht club. “They’re actually doing Trump a favor every time they open their mouth. Anti-Israel, for starters. That’s not a good thing. The other is, you know, just their programs. I paid back my student debt.”

Sitting outside their lake cottage as a giant tanker navigated the harbor nearby, Les and Michelle Smith also said they had supported Mr. Trump and would do so again, despite reservations.

Ms. Smith, 54, a certified medical assistant, said she was worried about what would happen with immigration if the Democrats take over. “We’re letting too many people in,” she said.

For his part, Mr. Kovach, watering his lawn by the lake, said he didn’t see a viable presidential option in 2016 so he didn’t vote for either candidate. Since then, he has come around to Mr. Trump.

“I think the economy has done very well since he’s been in office,” said Mr. Kovach.

Asked about the Democrats, he said he once worked in a factory in Romania where he had observed the Communist system.

“No thanks,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Conservative Michigan, Voters Want to Love Trump, Not Leave Him

PORT HURON, Mich. — As President Trump presses his attacks against four women of color in Congress, suggesting they are unpatriotic and should leave the country, many voters in this city on Lake Huron are embracing his “America — Love It or Leave It” message, saying they do not see it as racist.

And though they dismiss Mr. Trump’s Twitter broadsides as excessive or juvenile, they voiced strong support for his re-election and expressed their own misgivings about the four women.

“They happen to be black or colored,” Dennis Kovach, 82, said of the women, as he watered the lawn of his home near the lake this weekend. “But I don’t think that viewpoint is a racist viewpoint. I think it’s — quit the bitching, if you don’t like it, do something different about it.”

Tim Marzolf, 57, sitting on a nearby porch on one of the hottest days of July, had a similar view, saying he had been turned off since Day 1 by Representative Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian-American lawmaker from Detroit who is one of the women the president has attacked.

“Something struck me wrong,” said Mr. Marzolf, a factory worker, referring to Ms. Tlaib’s call for Mr. Trump’s impeachment. “She got elected and came out with the F-word on Trump.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158255949_1f8f808c-a063-48d5-82b1-f28f2387e11c-articleLarge In Conservative Michigan, Voters Want to Love Trump, Not Leave Him United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J St. Clair County, Mich. Presidential Election of 2020

Dennis Kovach, 82, said he didn’t see a viable presidential option in 2016 so he didn’t vote for either candidate. Since then, he has come around to Mr. Trump.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

As Mr. Trump signaled his intent last week to rely on nationalism and identity politics to propel his re-election campaign — portraying Democrats as out of sync with American values — his message did not appear to be backfiring with the conservative voters he hopes to bring out in force in 2020. In this overwhelmingly white district an hour north of Detroit, where his popularity remains high, his comments left people in the familiar position of having to choose a side in the aftermath of another Trump-instigated outrage. And they chose his.

Mr. Trump carried St. Clair County, an auto parts manufacturing center on the Canadian border, with 63 percent of the vote in 2016, cementing a narrow statewide victory and Michigan’s crucial 16 electoral votes. The margin of victory — less than 11,000 votes — was his slimmest in any state.

[Falling trust in government makes it harder to solve problems, Americans say]

Michigan is an important piece of Mr. Trump’s path to re-election and is already the focus of some of the Republican Party’s most extensive get-out-the-vote efforts. On Friday, the state party and the Trump campaign kicked off what one party official described in an email to supporters as “the largest and most robust ground game Michigan has ever seen.”

In truth, Michigan could be one of the purest laboratories to test a central paradox of the president’s re-election strategy: To win while he remains widely unpopular — his approval rating is consistently less than 50 percent in national opinion polls — voters don’t need to like him as much as they need to dislike the Democratic nominee.

And as his actions over the last week have shown, he is trying to ensure that happens, by inflicting as much damage as he possibly can to the Democrats’ brand.

Mr. Trump carried St. Clair County, an auto parts manufacturing center on the Canadian border, with 63 percent of the vote in 2016.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

In Port Huron, many residents said they were willing to ignore Mr. Trump’s outbursts, pointing to strong hiring in local factories as evidence he was doing a good job. Some raised fears about a move toward socialism within the Democratic Party, and suggested that Mr. Trump’s remarks might even gain him support by showcasing just how far left the Democratic Party has shifted.

The racial divisiveness of his attacks seemed to be pushed to the side.

Fred Miller, the Democratic clerk of nearby Macomb County, a national bellwether that voted twice for Barack Obama but then flipped to Mr. Trump, attributes the lack of outrage to a cultural disconnect over the way many people define racism.

“When some people rightfully call out Trump for these offensive, disgusting comments, I think a lot of other people see themselves in Trump,” he said. “They may not have a college degree, they might not speak about race in P.C. terms, but they don’t think they’re racists.”

So when the president “turns around and says, ‘I’m not racist,’” Mr. Miller added, “I think there are a lot of people who think they don’t have a racist bone in their body either. And Trump gets that.”

Democrats are seeing clear signs in their own research that the president is not as weak politically as he might appear. Last week, lawmakers were presented with the findings of a new poll that looked at sentiment in the so-called pivot counties like Macomb. The poll, commissioned by the progressive campaign finance reform organization End Citizens United, found that a generic Democratic presidential candidate beats Mr. Trump by only 2 points in these counties, 48 percent to 46 percent.

“People get upset about what he says, but he’s still doing his job,” said Catherine Plichta, 63, an Air Force veteran, of the president.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

Even so, Representative Paul Mitchell, the conservative Republican who represents the Port Huron area, struck a note of caution. “I do believe this strategy will be damaging to this election,” Mr. Mitchell said in a telephone interview. He has asked for a meeting with the president, hoping to add his voice to other Republicans who have urged Mr. Trump to restrain himself.

All of the women whom Mr. Trump told to “go back’’ to their countries — Ms. Tlaib and Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — are United States citizens, and only one, Ms. Omar, was born outside the country, in Somalia.

[The conservative radio host Michael Savage is skeptical about President Trump. But his audience isn’t.]

“I was appalled by the chanting ‘send her back,’” Mr. Mitchell said of the crowd at Mr. Trump’s rally Wednesday in North Carolina, where the chant was directed at Ms. Omar. For Mr. Mitchell, the message struck close to home. “My youngest son was born in Russia,” he said. “We adopted him. He’s an American.”

Mr. Trump’s attacks on the congresswomen — he renewed them Sunday with a Twitter post saying they were not capable of loving America, and again on Monday when he called them “a very Racist group of troublemakers’’ — could also hurt him by motivating black voters and increasing their turnout.

A crowd by the Black River in downtown Port Huron during the Blue Water Fest’s Boat Night on Friday.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

At Port Huron’s St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Sandra J. Woodard was preparing for the church’s 100th anniversary. “What I can say is that the comments are certainly not something that a person who has feelings for others would make, particularly a president who is supposed to be representing all people,” Ms. Woodard said.

Mr. Trump’s strength in 2016 was — and remains — largely dependent on how he fared against a widely mistrusted opponent. Roughly 75,000 voters in Michigan did not vote for president at all but did vote in races further down ballot, suggesting that there were enough Michiganders who found both candidates so unappealing that their absence helped put Mr. Trump over the edge.

There are some cautionary signs for his 2020 campaign, a prognosis reflected anecdotally and in Republicans’ private polling in Michigan. When the president is matched against a Democratic opponent like Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, he loses. Crucially, he has not reached 50 percent in any polls taken in Michigan, a perilous position for any incumbent.

[Which Democrats are leading the 2020 presidential race this week?]

But the version of the Democratic Party that voters here are seeing is also unpopular, as the two dozen presidential candidates debate issues that seem antithetical to their concerns — like decriminalizing illegal border crossings and offering Medicaid to undocumented immigrants.

“I hear it all the time from other people who say: ‘I’m a Republican. I didn’t vote for him, but I don’t see how I can’t this time,’” said Greg McNeilly, a Republican strategist from Western Michigan, a party stronghold. “People have become desensitized to his conduct. And now, given where Democrats are landing on policy, I think that is really frightening people.”

Eric Hayden, a retired food service director, had plastered his Facebook page with criticism of the four freshmen congresswomen.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

The state has some sentimental value for the president as one he was not expected to win, and Republicans on the ground are taking nothing for granted.

“Our team is out in the field as we speak conducting trainings, activating volunteers, registering voters and communicating directly with the people of our state,” said a memo circulated to party insiders on Friday, which called the 2020 race “one of the most critical elections of our lifetime.”

Representative Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat whose district is a potpourri of partisanship, stretching from the liberal redoubt of Ann Arbor to the industrial communities south of Detroit, said in an interview that her party cannot afford to be lulled into complacency by the president’s low approval ratings.

“People are engaged earlier than I’ve ever seen,’’ said Ms. Dingell, one of the few Democrats who warned the Clinton campaign in 2016 that Mr. Trump was stronger than he appeared in the state. “And if I had to guess, I’d say most people have made up their minds.”

Now, she added, “I wouldn’t make a prediction about how the election is going to go.”

Saul Anuzis, a former state Republican Party chairman, said that while the president was mostly energizing his base by attacking the four women, the Democrats’ shift to the left could also work to Mr. Trump’s advantage among swing voters in 2020.

There are some cautionary signs for Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign. He has not reached 50 percent in any polls taken in Michigan, and matched against a Democratic opponent like Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, he loses.CreditErin Kirkland for The New York Times

The congresswomen “very much represent the loony left, from my perspective,” he said, “and I think mainstream Democrats don’t necessarily agree with these folks.”

On Saturday, Port Huron staged its biggest party weekend of the year, with a street festival and an annual boat race to Mackinac Island. Several downtown workers, partygoers and sunbathers said they feared what might happen if Mr. Trump lost.

“People get upset about what he says, but he’s still doing his job,” said Catherine Plichta, 63, an Air Force veteran, as she ate lunch on Main Street. “I voted for him and I’m going to vote for him again. He supports veterans.”

Eric Hayden, a retired food service director, had plastered his Facebook page with criticism of the four freshmen congresswomen.

“Those women are a little extreme,” Mr. Hayden, 54, said as he was leaving his home for a cocktail party at the yacht club. “They’re actually doing Trump a favor every time they open their mouth. Anti-Israel, for starters. That’s not a good thing. The other is, you know, just their programs. I paid back my student debt.”

Sitting outside their lake cottage as a giant tanker navigated the harbor nearby, Les and Michelle Smith also said they had supported Mr. Trump and would do so again, despite reservations.

Ms. Smith, 54, a certified medical assistant, said she was worried about what would happen with immigration if the Democrats take over. “We’re letting too many people in,” she said.

For his part, Mr. Kovach, watering his lawn by the lake, said he didn’t see a viable presidential option in 2016 so he didn’t vote for either candidate. Since then, he has come around to Mr. Trump.

“I think the economy has done very well since he’s been in office,” said Mr. Kovach.

Asked about the Democrats, he said he once worked in a factory in Romania where he had observed the Communist system.

“No thanks,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Sets the Terms on Racial Division. Do Democrats Know What to Do?

GREENVILLE, N.C. — President Trump waited for 13 seconds, as the chants from the crowd of thousands grew louder.

“Send her home!” the North Carolina audience yelled, mimicking Mr. Trump’s recent tweet attacking a Somali-born Democratic congresswoman.

“Treason!” one man screamed.

“Traitor!” shouted another.

The moment Wednesday night, a microcosm of the angry tribalism that often emanates from Mr. Trump’s campaign rallies, immediately caused ripple effects for the president and his party. Some Republican members of Congress denounced the chant as racist and xenophobic. Mr. Trump tepidly disavowed his supporters’ words, only to praise them the following day. For Democrats, especially the candidates seeking to defeat Mr. Trump, the impact of the rally was clear: This will be a general election focused on race, identity and Mr. Trump’s brand of white grievance politics.

Until this past week, the 2020 field has generally tried to ignore the president’s incendiary language — talking about it, the thinking goes, only gives him more power. Instead, candidates have preferred to discuss policies, making the case for themselves by advocating changes in the criminal justice system or maternal health, or ways to eliminate the racial wealth gap.

Now some feel an urgency to take a different approach.

“This election will be a referendum, not on Donald Trump, but a referendum on who we are and who we must be to each other,” Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said. “But this is going to get worse before it gets better.”

Senator Kamala Harris of California, the most viable woman of color to run for president, said that the scenes from Mr. Trump’s rally, while personally upsetting, were not surprising.

“When we’re on that stage together in the general, I know he’ll try to pull the same thing with me,” Ms. Harris said. “But I’m fully prepared for that. I’m up for it. Because he is small. He is wrong. He is a bully.”

And at a fund-raiser in Los Angeles on Friday, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told supporters that Mr. Trump is “tearing at the social fabric of this country.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157063617_92e49c43-0225-4541-aed1-e3e1b3ea9d09-articleLarge Trump Sets the Terms on Racial Division. Do Democrats Know What to Do? Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Omar, Ilhan Harris, Kamala D Greenville (NC) Booker, Cory A

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, left, compared Mr. Trump to a famous demagogue of America’s past: Theophilus “Bull” Connor, the commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Ala., who used violent tactics to uphold segregation and oppose the civil rights movement in the 1960s.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“This is not hyperbole,” Mr. Biden said. “The fact of the matter is this president is more George Wallace than George Washington.”

But even as Democratic candidates universally denounced Mr. Trump’s comments, they did not agree on how the eventual presidential nominee should combat the racial division embedded in those words. Do you, on the campaign trail, talk directly about the president’s inflammatory language, racism and discrimination in this country? Or do you talk about jobs and the economy?

Democratic Party leaders, particularly establishment figures with ties to Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, have largely followed a strategy of careful avoidance: responding to the president’s most inflammatory moments, while attempting to redirect the political debate to what is often described as “kitchen table” issues, such as health care and wages.

However, an increasingly vocal group of Democratic grass-roots organizers and pollsters believe that Mr. Trump’s words and legislative actions amount to a cohesive playbook of white identity politics, meant to court white voters of all economic tiers around the idea that their fates are linked, and are under threat by an increasingly diversifying America. They argue that racism and the public performance of it is a “kitchen table” issue for many voters — black and white — that must be dealt with head-on.

“Just as much time and resources as the nominee spends on targeting and messaging around health care and wages and climate change, they should spend an equal amount of resources around an alternative racial vision for the country,” said Cornell Belcher, a prominent pollster who worked with Mr. Obama. “This isn’t a goddamn distraction.”

Ana Maria Archila, the co-executive director of the progressive group Center for Popular Democracy, said Democrats must embrace this moment as an opportunity.

“You have to be able to speak powerfully about our willingness to belong together,” Ms. Archila said. “Don’t just condemn the racism and the language but use it as an opportunity to argue for a vision of the country in which we can all be included.”

To some progressives, the stakes are not just winning in 2020. The fate of American identity could be at risk. Ms. Archila pointed to several policy actions taken by the administration, including the push for a citizenship question on the census, as proof that the “Send her back!” chants were indicative of a permanent ideology among Republicans that was bigger than Mr. Trump.

Mr. Booker, whose campaign has struggled to break out of the crowded Democratic field, said he believed that the country was in the midst of a “moral moment.” He compared Mr. Trump to a famous demagogue of America’s past: Theophilus “Bull” Connor, the commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Ala., who used violent tactics to uphold segregation and oppose the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

“I’m fully prepared for that,” Senator Kamala Harris said of Mr. Trump’s inflammatory language. “I’m up for it. Because he is small. He is wrong. He is a bully.”CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

“They didn’t beat Bull Connor by bringing bigger dogs and bigger fire hoses,” Mr. Booker said. “It was activism that inspired people from all different backgrounds.”

During the 2016 election, Mrs. Clinton made repeated arguments that Mr. Trump spoke in divisive and inflammatory ways, and her slogan of “Stronger Together” was meant to invoke a vision of racially diverse America at odds with Mr. Trump’s nativism.

Ms. Harris said she felt Democrats were better positioned to combat Mr. Trump’s language in 2020 because voters now know he did not deliver on his populist promises. He has “a rap sheet now,” Ms. Harris said. “Maybe before someone said, ‘Oh, it appears he’d run a good business,’ and there was this aura surrounding him. But now he’s been exposed for who he really is.”

Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to Mr. Obama, said any Democratic nominee would do well to mimic the former president’s messaging. She said her advice to the Democratic field would be to focus on crafting a clear policy message in the primary but to spend the general election attempting to motivate the party’s base, who experienced a dip in energy in 2016. Ms. Jarrett warned candidates not to let Mr. Trump’s combative tone move them away from the sort of strategy that Mr. Obama used to win.

“The country has not changed since his re-election,” Ms. Jarrett said. “Voters are looking for someone who can unify and show us that whoever the president should be a role model for our children.”

But whether such a strategy can still work in a political universe reshaped by Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed remains an open question.

Mr. Biden is betting it can. He remains the leading Democrat in national polling and has pointed to Mr. Trump’s reaction to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 as a primary factor in his decision to run for president.

“There’s always in every society an underbelly that has racist and xenophobic tendencies; thank God it’s a minority,” he told the crowd at the Los Angeles fund-raiser. “From the day Trump ran, he’s been trying to appeal to that underbelly.”

In the past five years, polling has shown a consistent shift among Democrats, especially among white Democrats, on issues of race and identity. According to analysis from Data for Progress, the progressive think tank, 2016 was the first time a majority of white Democrats agreed that discrimination held back black people. In 2014, 41 percent of Democrats agreed that racial discrimination was the main reason black people could not get ahead. That number increased to 64 percent in 2017, according to Pew Research.

Mr. Trump’s attacks of, from left, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have some progressives concerned that the fate of American identity could be at risk in the 2020 election.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

On the campaign trail, Democrats have been noticeably more vocal in discussing race with primary voters, particularly concepts of structural racism, institutional discrimination and white privilege.

Last weekend, former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas wrote a lengthy explanation to his supporters after learning that he and his wife were both descended from slave owners. Mr. O’Rourke supports reparations for slave descendants and has spoken repeatedly about his own privilege as a white man. During a visit to South Carolina last month, he visited the Gullah-Geechee Nation, descendants of slaves brought from West Africa.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts makes a point to mention low black homeownership rates in her stump speech, and the reaction is often stronger among white audiences in Iowa than black ones in South Carolina. During an event in Youngstown, Ohio, this month a white woman asked Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to explain white privilege, prompting a lengthy response that garnered more than 1.4 million views online.

“Institutional racism is real,” she said. “It doesn’t take away your pain or suffering, it’s just a different issue.”

But talking about institutional racism to a crowd of primary voters is different from talking about it in a matchup against Mr. Trump.

Ryan Enos, a political scientist at Harvard University who has studied voters’ attitudes toward race, said that to the extent the president’s racial divisiveness is a political strategy, it could be an effective one.

“There are a lot of people who are uncomfortable with someone who covers her hair in Congress,” Mr. Enos said, referring to Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. “It is really an ethical and electoral issue, and if it works, that earns Trump another four years in the White House.”

Mr. Belcher, the pollster, was also skeptical of his party’s ability to meet Mr. Trump on his playing field.

“White progressives don’t understand race in this country and conservatives and Republicans do,” he said. “But they better learn, because Donald Trump is coming.”

Asked why he was pessimistic, Mr. Belcher laughed.

“Because I’m black,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship

WASHINGTON — Days after he was appointed special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III visited the Capitol to meet with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was conducting its own Russia investigation and needed to coordinate with his. Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the committee’s chairman, came with a wisecrack.

You did well keeping the country safe as F.B.I. director, he told Mr. Mueller at the end of the meeting, a senator in the room recalled. But you never answered mail from us, Mr. Grassley said of a Congress that conducts much of its business on paper.

Mr. Mueller laughed. Just keep sending those letters, he replied.

The lighthearted exchange hinted at a tension that has made Mr. Mueller a reluctant witness for two highly anticipated House hearings on the Russia investigation on Wednesday. Over decades of appearances before Congress, Mr. Mueller showed little patience for politics, and he grew weary of the partisanship that came with legislative oversight, according to interviews with former colleagues, law enforcement officials and lawmakers.

A review of dozens of hours of his hearings — Mr. Mueller has appeared before Congress 88 times dating back to 1990, according to the Senate Historical Office, among the most of any official ever — offers insight into what kind of witness he will be this week. He was by turns forbidding and protective of the F.B.I.’s mission, yet sympathetic to Congress’s obligation to monitor the bureau’s transformation from a crime-fighting agency into a centerpiece of the government’s post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism apparatus.

[Democrats want Mr. Mueller to provide a vivid narrative. Republicans want to erode his impartiality.]

Mr. Mueller brings a longstanding commitment to preparation to Wednesday’s hearings. He met into the evenings with F.B.I. colleagues for days ahead of congressional appearances, poring over thick binders in a large conference room next to the bureau director’s office on the seventh floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Aides role-played as members of Congress who might have wanted to squabble with him on camera.

Before the special counsel investigation hearings, his old law firm, WilmerHale, has opened space for him at its offices in downtown Washington, said Robert T. Novick, a managing partner there. Another partner at the firm has functioned as Mr. Mueller’s representative in talks with Congress: Jonathan R. Yarowsky, the former general counsel for the House Judiciary Committee.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_69256339_085b52f9-3ab3-4e62-8684-b4261d8cd63f-articleLarge In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services

Mr. Mueller served 12 years as director of the F.B.I., the second-longest tenure ever, and was a longtime law enforcement official before that.CreditChristopher Gregory/The New York Times

Mr. Mueller treated his appearances over the years with a kind of dread, said Lisa Monaco, his chief of staff at the F.B.I.

“I don’t think anybody loves going up there and sitting through hours of testimony and hours of speeches that maybe result in a question or not. He didn’t love it,” she said. “He would brace himself, because he knew it was an opportunity to put the F.B.I. in the political cross hairs.”

Mr. Mueller was sworn in as F.B.I. director a week before the Sept. 11 attacks. Lawmakers in both parties, unusually like-minded in response to the 2001 attacks, pressed him in several hearings on how the bureau missed leads on Al Qaeda.

Mr. Mueller and Congress advocated the same broad overhaul of the F.B.I. Within a year, the F.B.I. had reassigned 400 agents to counterterrorism from drug investigations, white-collar crime and other offenses. Mr. Mueller, who planned initially to hire 400 more analysts, knew how beholden he was to legislators for funding and direction. “We are not the policymakers,” he told an audience at Stanford University in 2002. “The F.B.I. must use the tools that Congress gives us.”

Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index
The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

April 18, 2019

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-document-promo-1555353284901-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v10 In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services

The agency’s pursuit of what led to the Sept. 11 attacks rested, in turn, on Mr. Mueller. “He was the lead investigator of 9/11. And we were in a significant degree dependent on his ability and willingness to use his resources to get to the basic facts,” said former Senator Bob Graham of Florida, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003.

Congress questioned whether Mr. Mueller could reorganize a bureau with tens of thousands of employees spread across the nation, many of whom were believed out of sync with Washington headquarters. Former Senator John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina, planned to introduce legislation that would have removed the bureau’s domestic intelligence arm and created a new kind of superagency akin to Britain’s MI 5.

In a February 2003 hearing, a month after announcing a presidential campaign exploratory committee, Mr. Edwards used his five-minute question-and-answer allotment to criticize Mr. Mueller’s overhauls, reading off printouts of critical assessments and running out the clock before Mr. Mueller had a chance to respond.

“It will never be able to reform itself to do this job,” Mr. Edwards declared of the F.B.I.

Mr. Mueller fired back: Mr. Edwards had ignored the work the F.B.I. had done for 17 months in connecting the dots.

“I have offered you an opportunity, personally, to come down to the bureau and be briefed on the changes that we have made since Sept. 11. You have declined to come down,” Mr. Mueller said, his voice shaking.

At the end of the exchange, Mr. Mueller turned off his microphone and stared icily at Mr. Edwards.

Mr. Mueller in 2001 with Senator Orrin Hatch, right, and Senator Patrick Leahy.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Mr. Mueller’s annual appearances in wood-paneled congressional office buildings were highly ritualized: oversight and budget hearings in both chambers of Congress and a threat assessment hearing with other intelligence agency chiefs. Loath to make small talk, he would sometimes skip the anteroom and use a side entrance, heading straight for the witness table, where he sipped on water or coffee. (Mr. Mueller, an early riser, was known among close F.B.I. aides to be fond of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes.)

He often deployed the kind of jargon that might be found in the I.T. manuals and organizational management books he kept in his F.B.I. office: phrases like “predictive,” “analytical capability,” “the cyberarena,” “deliverables” and “exercisable options.”

By the mid-2000s, Mr. Mueller’s relationship with lawmakers soured in new ways. Democrats newly in charge of Congress were eager to cast the administration of President George W. Bush as criminal. Mr. Mueller was seen as an incorruptible exception, which made him something of a target.

He endured tough hearings after a Justice Department inspector general’s report in 2007 showed that the F.B.I. had improperly used the Patriot Act to obtain information about people and businesses.

“Every time we turn around, there is another very serious failure on the part of the bureau,” Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania told Mr. Mueller during one such hearing.

During an exchange at an oversight hearing the next year about a classified program, Mr. Mueller said he believed that he did not owe senators more, as intelligence agencies were sufficiently briefing Congress. “That’s a classic nonanswer,” Mr. Specter thundered. “And I’ll let it stand for the record: You can’t do any worse than that.”

Even as Mr. Mueller’s appearances over his 12 years as director under Mr. Bush and President Barack Obama remained mostly respectful — members of Congress often praised his stewardship — they featured a regular amount of political preening that made Mr. Mueller deeply uncomfortable, his aides said.

“It’s inescapable. Every time he went up to the Hill, you saw that,” Ms. Monaco said. “Members saw the benefit of putting Mueller and the F.B.I. between the poles of a debate, each side using the bureau or using him to try and score points.”

Mr. Mueller has appeared before Congress 88 times since 1990.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

After Republicans took back control of the House in 2010, Mr. Mueller’s relationship with lawmakers turned more cynical. The mostly civilized panels he encountered gave way to more ornery hearings, particularly in front of the House Judiciary Committee, whose members will question Mr. Mueller on Wednesday.

In a May 2012 hearing with the committee, Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, told Mr. Mueller that the only reason he had been granted an extension to serve beyond the typical 10-year term as F.B.I. director was because no one was on the House floor at the time to object.

A year later, Mr. Gohmert, who is still on the committee, accused the F.B.I. director of failing to respond to a tip about a mosque that the Boston Marathon bombers had visited. “Your facts are not altogether well founded,” the typically reticent Mr. Mueller countered, explaining that agents had met with imams at the mosque.

On the same day, Mr. Mueller encountered Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who is now a close ally of President Trump and one of the most vocal critics of the Russia investigation. He will also question Mr. Mueller again this week.

Mr. Jordan was furious. Why did Mr. Mueller not know the name of the lead agent in the F.B.I. investigation of the I.R.S., which had been accused of targeting advocacy groups with “Tea Party” and “patriot” in their names? Mr. Jordan had been a regular guest on Fox News programs that devoted hours of airtime to the issue.

He continued to cut off Mr. Mueller, who closed his eyes in frustration. It was an active investigation, Mr. Mueller said repeatedly. He couldn’t say much.

“This has been the biggest story in the country, and you can’t even tell me who the lead investigator is?” Mr. Jordan asked.

Moments later, Mr. Mueller was grinning slightly. Mr. Jordan’s time was up.

“I’d be happy to take your questions in writing, sir,” Mr. Mueller said.

Weeks later, he retired.

Weeks of Talks Led a Reluctant Mueller to Testify

June 26, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 26dc-mueller-promo-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services
Justice Dept. Tells Mueller Deputies Not to Testify, Scrambling an Agreement

July 9, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 09dc-mueller1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services
As Special Counsel, Mueller Kept Such a Low Profile He Seemed Almost Invisible

March 25, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-mueller1-threeByTwoSmallAt2X In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services
Mueller, in First Comments on Russia Inquiry, Declines to Clear Trump

May 29, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 29dc-mueller-vid-sub-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v3 In 88 Trips to Capitol Hill, Mueller Grew Weary of Partisanship United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Intelligence Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Chinese Money in the U.S. Dries Up as Trade War Drags On

WASHINGTON — Growing distrust between the United States and China has slowed the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office.

The falloff, which is being felt broadly across the economy, stems from tougher regulatory scrutiny in the United States and a less hospitable climate toward Chinese investment. It is affecting a range of industries including Silicon Valley start-ups, the Manhattan real estate market and state governments that spent years wooing Chinese investment, underscoring how the world’s two largest economies are beginning to decouple after years of increasing integration.

“The fact that the foreign direct investment has fallen so sharply is symbolic of how badly the economic relationship between the United States and China has deteriorated,” said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division. “The U.S. doesn’t trust the Chinese, and China doesn’t trust the U.S.”

For years, Chinese investment into the United States had been accelerating, with money pouring into autos, tech, energy and agriculture and fueling new jobs in Michigan, South Carolina, Missouri, Texas and other states. As China’s economy boomed, state and local governments along with American companies looked to snap up some of those Chinese funds.

But Mr. Trump’s economic Cold War has helped reverse that trend.

Chinese foreign direct investment in the United States fell to $5.4 billion in 2018 from a peak of $46.5 billion in 2016, a drop of 88 percent, according to data from Rhodium Group, an economic research firm. Preliminary figures through April of this year, which account for investments by mainland Chinese companies, suggested only a modest uptick from last year, with transactions valued at $2.8 billion.

“I certainly hear in conversations with investors a lot of concern about whether the U.S. market is still open,” said Rod Hunter, a lawyer at Baker McKenzie who specializes in foreign investment reviews. “You have a potentially chilling effect for Chinese investors.”

A confluence of forces appear to be at play. A slowing economy and stricter capital controls in China have made it more difficult for Chinese investors to buy American, according to trade experts and mergers and acquisitions advisers. Mr. Trump’s penchant for imposing punishing tariffs on Chinese goods and an increasingly powerful regulatory group that is heavily scrutinizing foreign investment, particularly involving Chinese investors, have also spooked businesses in both countries.

China, which has retaliated against American goods with its own tariffs, may also be turning off the investment spigot as punishment for Mr. Trump’s economic crackdown.

Concerns about America’s receptiveness to Chinese investment have been aggravated by a flurry of transactions that collapsed under heavy scrutiny from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The group, which is headed by the Treasury Department, gained expanded powers in 2018 that allow it to block a broader array of transactions, including minority stakes and investments in sensitive technologies like telecommunications and computing.

Shortly after the New Year, China’s HNA Group took a $41 million loss on a glass and aluminum Manhattan high-rise after American regulators forced it to sell the property because of security concerns about its proximity to Trump Tower, only a few blocks away.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00chinainvest-04-articleLarge Chinese Money in the U.S. Dries Up as Trade War Drags On United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Real Estate (Commercial) International Trade and World Market Foreign Investments Economic Conditions and Trends Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) China

The investment chill could hurt the American real estate market particularly hard. A May report noted a “frenzy of disposal activity” among Chinese commercial real estate investors in the United States.CreditTony Cenicola/The New York Times

In March, the Chinese owners of a gay dating app known as Grindr were told by regulators to find a buyer for the company. The Trump administration feared Beijing could use personal information as leverage over American officials.

Those interventions followed prominent cases earlier in Mr. Trump’s term, such as Broadcom’s quashed bid for Qualcomm and the sale of MoneyGram to a unit of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba last year. An agreement involving Lattice Semiconductor and an investment firm with reported ties to the Chinese government was also rejected.

In some cases, the chill has benefited American companies. In June, UnitedHealth swooped in to buy PatientsLikeMe, a health care technology start-up, after the committee said it was a security risk to allow the company’s Chinese owner to have access to health data. The purchase amount was not disclosed.

But the increased scrutiny is also complicating efforts by American industries to team up with Chinese investors and leading to a retrenchment in certain sectors. The real estate sector, which has been buttressed by investors from China in the last decade, has had a steep falloff.

A May report from Cushman & Wakefield noted a “frenzy of disposal activity” among Chinese commercial real estate investors in the United States. In 2018, there were 37 property acquisitions by Chinese buyers worth $2.3 billion, but $3.1 billion of commercial real estate was sold off. The report said that the treatment of HNA and tough trade talk made Chinese investors feel unwelcome.

Chinese investors are also showing less appetite for residential real estate in the United States. Research released recently by the National Association of Realtors found that purchases of homes in America by Chinese buyers declined by 56 percent to $13.4 billion in the year to March.

“The magnitude of the decline is quite striking, implying less confidence in owning a property in the U.S.,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the realtor’s group.

Despite the decline, China was still the top foreign buyer of American properties from April 2018 to March 2019.

The financial sector, including banks and private equity, is also feeling the effects. A fund that Goldman Sachs started with the China Investment Corporation in 2017 is being looked at closely by the Treasury Department, according to two Treasury officials. The fund, the China-US Industrial Cooperation Partnership, was set up to invest in American manufacturing and health care companies and then forge business ties in China.

A Goldman Sachs spokeswoman said that the bank was in compliance with all government regulations.

John Kabealo, a Washington-based lawyer who specializes in cross-border transactions, said that American private equity funds are now less likely to team up with foreign funds when making acquisitions because doing so could raise red flags.

“I think there’s a whole lot of concern in the fund world right now,” Mr. Kabealo said. “Funds still want to take Chinese money, but they’re being much more cautious in the way that they do it.”

Tougher regulatory scrutiny in the United States and a less hospitable climate toward Chinese investment have fueled the slowdown.CreditAly Song/Reuters

Even if the two countries reach a trade deal, tepid Chinese investment is expected to continue. The administration is rolling out new barriers to investment, including controls on the types of American technology that can be sold overseas and placing Chinese firms like Huawei on a government blacklist.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which previously only had the authority to review transactions in which a foreign investor took a controlling stake of an American business, is now reviewing a broader range of transactions, including joint ventures and smaller investments by foreigners in American businesses that make critical technology.

“There’s certainly a degree of hesitation in China in investing in the U.S.,” said Aimen Mir, the former assistant secretary for investment security at the Treasury Department who recently joined the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. “It’s hard to argue against the fact that these rules have clearly had some impact on Chinese investment.”

Weaker Chinese investment is unlikely to derail the United States economy, as it is a small fraction of that from Britain, Canada, Japan and Germany. China also continues to be largest buyer of United States Treasuries; however, its holdings have fallen in recent years to $1.1 trillion, according to the latest Treasury Department data.

But the decline in investment could hurt areas that are already economically disadvantaged and that have become dependent on Chinese cash. States like Michigan have increasingly wooed Chinese investment, resulting in new factories and jobs in a part of the country that has struggled to recover from the Great Recession.

Craig Allen, the president of the U.S.-China Business Council, said the loss of Chinese investment would be felt predominately in rural states where Chinese investors have bought factories and revived struggling businesses.

“The not-so-welcome mat is out, and it is having a deleterious effect on relatively poorer areas in the United States that need jobs,” he said.

“The Chinese hear from our state and local officials that they’re welcome,” Mr. Allen said. “What they’re hearing from federal officials is quite different.”

In Kentucky’s Ballard County, local officials are grateful that China’s Shanying International Holdings acquired a shuttered paper mill last year. In May, the mill reopened and filled many of the 300 jobs that had been lost.

Mayor Brandi Harless of Paducah, Ky., who traveled to China to meet executives of the company this year, said that it would be a shame if trade tensions hampered manufacturing investments in towns such as hers.

“Given our national conversation, I expected there to be some hesitancy,” Ms. Harless said. “But I haven’t heard anyone in our community be negative about this opportunity.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law

WASHINGTON — More than 3,000 inmates were freed from federal prison on Friday as part of the Justice Department’s implementation of the sweeping bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year.

The department has faced sharp criticism over its execution of the act. The partial government shutdown in January stymied progress on its implementation, which was further overshadowed by a debate over when the bill authorized the release of thousands of prisoners.

Advocates have expressed worries that the department would slow-walk implementation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others within the department who stayed on after he was fired had fiercely opposed the law.

The deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, sought to tamp down those concerns at a news conference on Friday to announce that the department had met the deadline for the prison releases, as well as other milestones of the law, called the First Step Act.

“The timely, efficient and effective implementation of the First Step Act is a priority for the Department of Justice and this administration,” Mr. Rosen said. “The department intends to implement this law fully and on time.”

In addition to the release of 3,100 inmates, the Justice Department said that it had redirected $75 million from Bureau of Prisons inmate care programs and institutional administrative funding to fully fund the law for the fiscal year that started in October.

The department will work with Congress to obtain the funds needed for the law going forward, Mr. Rosen said, including money for services at its heart, such as vocational and job readiness training, rehabilitation and trauma care services that prisoners can participate in to earn reduced sentences.

He also said that the department had created a tool that gauges whether inmates are ready to leave prison. The Bureau of Prisons will use the tool to screen all federal inmates to identify risk factors that could increase their likelihood of recidivism, and match them with programs aimed at reducing that risk, such as drug treatment and job training courses.

As the law is written, inmates who had already earned credits and were eligible for early release could not leave until after the Justice Department created the risk assessment tool. Critics argued in recent months that the language did not accurately reflect the intent of the lawmakers who drafted the bill, and they pressed Congress to rewrite it so that thousands of prisoners could immediately be freed.

That didn’t happen, so the eligible prisoners had to wait until Friday for early release. Of the 3,100 prisoners released nationwide, about a third of them were subject to detainers, meaning they will go from federal custody to serve state prison sentences or they are in the United States illegally and will be released to face immigration court proceedings.

Amid acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, the criminal justice overhaul passed overwhelmingly in December. Mr. Trump has hosted two events to highlight the law, and he is likely to tout it during his re-election campaign as one of his administration’s signature achievements.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158169150_a8e9e2f8-b72a-46b3-b2d5-e67bea0b9d54-articleLarge Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sessions, Jefferson B III Sentences (Criminal) Rosen, Jeffrey Adam (1958- ) Prisons and Prisoners Mandatory Sentencing Law and Legislation Justice Department Federal Bureau of Prisons criminal justice Crime and Criminals Barr, William P

The deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, announced the release of more than 3,000 federal inmates on Friday.CreditWin Mcnamee/Getty Images

But the overhaul had a difficult birth, partly because of opposition from Mr. Sessions, according to legislative aides and advocates who worked on it. Mr. Sessions promised to provide feedback, they said, but he eventually criticized a draft without giving lawmakers what they considered substantive recommendations or improvements.

A representative for Mr. Sessions, who has returned to private life, disputed that characterization Friday in a statement. “The Department provided significant substantive feedback on the proposed bill over several month period both at the staff and member level,” the statement said, adding, “The members also were well aware of the Department’s grave concerns about the bill’s large reductions in sentences for violent and serious federal criminals and the need to maintain truth in sentencing.”

Mr. Sessions was opposed to retroactively reducing sentences for drug offenders, according to a former administration official familiar with the deliberations who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to share details. Mr. Sessions also opposed sentence reductions for repeat offenders, believing that repeat criminal behavior increased the likelihood of recidivism.

Once it was clear that Mr. Trump supported the bill, Mr. Sessions began publicly backing it but privately worked through back channels to oppose it, encouraging law enforcement associations and other groups to voice their opposition to lawmakers and other stakeholders. When supporters of the bill heard about his efforts, they sought White House help to ensure its passage.

But after Congress passed the law, they expressed concern that Justice Department officials who had sided with Mr. Sessions and remained in their jobs after he was fired in November would delay its implementation.

“Sessions represented an all-time low for prospects for successful passage at the time and also prospects for implementation,” said Holly Harris, the president of Justice Action Network, a criminal justice reform advocacy group. “We’re looking at a vastly improved situation,” she said of Attorney General William P. Barr, who replaced Mr. Sessions in February.

Mr. Barr assured supporters of the law that he would back its full implementation. Ahead of his confirmation hearing, he met with senators including Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the former head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was one of the bill’s strongest backers. Mr. Barr said that his thinking on criminal justice had evolved, and that he no longer supported the harsh sentencing measures that he had pushed for during his first stint as attorney general in the early 1990s.

During an interview this month after touring a federal prison in Edgefield, S.C., Mr. Barr defended the tough-on-crime measures he had supported at the time as “essential for reducing the crime rate and also tackling the crack epidemic.” But with crime rates down substantially, he said he felt that the time was right to identify and free inmates who no longer constituted a safety risk.

“After someone has been in prison for a substantial period of time, and you can really assess whether they continue to pose a threat to the community,” Mr. Barr said, “then obviously you’re more inclined to modify the sentence or strike the balance in favor of some kind of monitoring that doesn’t involve the heavy cost and the isolation of this kind of prison system.”

The law consists of a package of incentives and new programs designed to improve prison conditions and prepare prisoners considered low risks for recidivism to re-enter society. It also outlawed the shackling of pregnant inmates and the placement of juveniles in solitary confinement and said the Bureau of Prisons must place prisoners close to home if possible.

The law also makes retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which decreased the relative penalty for possession of crack versus powder cocaine.

In the run-up to Friday’s announcement, both Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen worked with Antoinette Bacon, a Justice Department lawyer who is in charge of implementation, to ensure that the department met the deadline for developing the risk assessment tool, called Pattern, and prisoner releases.

In June, Mr. Rosen met for nearly two hours with the team creating Pattern, discussing research that showed how risk factors including age and gender affected the likelihood of recidivism. Ignoring these disparities, the committee warned, could result in early releases being applied unfairly.

Mr. Barr met with the committee on Thursday to hear about steps to improve Pattern in the coming months as the committee gets feedback from the Bureau of Prisons and advocates about its effectiveness.

In addition to Mr. Barr’s recent visit to the medium-security federal prison in South Carolina, Mr. Rosen visited a maximum-security penitentiary in Colorado in recent weeks to discuss programming and rehabilitation efforts.

Advocates said they were pleased that Mr. Barr was speaking positively about the criminal justice overhaul, but they called for a congressional oversight hearing about the implementation of the entire law and vowed to closely monitor the process, especially the efficacy of the risk assessment tool.

It “has been a real mystery to a lot of groups,” said Ms. Harris.

A ‘Second Chance’ After 27 Years in Prison: How Criminal Justice Helped an Ex-Inmate Graduate

July 8, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 08vid_pell_prisoneducation-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v2 Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sessions, Jefferson B III Sentences (Criminal) Rosen, Jeffrey Adam (1958- ) Prisons and Prisoners Mandatory Sentencing Law and Legislation Justice Department Federal Bureau of Prisons criminal justice Crime and Criminals Barr, William P
Justice Dept. Works on Applying Sentencing Law as Critics Point to Delays

April 8, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_151745421_ced250ce-c2a7-49b6-bdc0-437ea8bb1b1e-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sessions, Jefferson B III Sentences (Criminal) Rosen, Jeffrey Adam (1958- ) Prisons and Prisoners Mandatory Sentencing Law and Legislation Justice Department Federal Bureau of Prisons criminal justice Crime and Criminals Barr, William P
Trump Celebrates Criminal Justice Overhaul Amid Doubts It Will Be Fully Funded

April 1, 2019

Westlake Legal Group merlin_152907918_4843b79f-bd23-4f5a-a03c-a03dec9b2e8b-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sessions, Jefferson B III Sentences (Criminal) Rosen, Jeffrey Adam (1958- ) Prisons and Prisoners Mandatory Sentencing Law and Legislation Justice Department Federal Bureau of Prisons criminal justice Crime and Criminals Barr, William P
Senate Passes Bipartisan Criminal Justice Bill

Dec. 18, 2018

Westlake Legal Group 19dc-criminal3-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sessions, Jefferson B III Sentences (Criminal) Rosen, Jeffrey Adam (1958- ) Prisons and Prisoners Mandatory Sentencing Law and Legislation Justice Department Federal Bureau of Prisons criminal justice Crime and Criminals Barr, William P

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com