US Coast Guard Officer Held in Alleged Mass Murder Plot

A U.S. Coast Guard officer who federal prosecutors allege stockpiled weapons to launch a spree of domestic terrorism and mass murder will appear in court Thursday.

Police arrested Christopher Paul Hasson last week on drug and weapon charges after finding a large stash of guns, ammunition and drugs in his suburban Washington apartment.

Federal prosecutors are expected to argue at Thursday’s bail hearing that Hasson must remain in jail until his trial.

“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” the government’s court filing says. It calls Hasson a “domestic terrorist bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.”

Along with the weapons and drugs, investigators found documents in which Hasson allegedly calls for “focused violence” and expresses a desire to “establish a white homeland.” 

He is said to have written about ways to “kill almost every last person on Earth,” and called the idea of a biological attack and poisoning the nation’s food supply “interesting.”

Investigators also found a hit list of liberal politicians Hasson allegedly singled out for assassination, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a number of Democratic presidential candidates. CNN and MSNBC television personalities were also included on the list.

Prosecutors said they believed Hasson was not just fantasizing but was serious about his plans. They said he was a longtime white nationalist and neo-Nazi.

They said he spent time studying the manifesto of far-right Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people during a 2011 massacre.

Hasson has a public defender who as of late Wednesday afternoon had yet to comment on the charges.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

US Coast Guard Officer Held in Alleged Mass Murder Plot

A U.S. Coast Guard officer who federal prosecutors allege stockpiled weapons to launch a spree of domestic terrorism and mass murder will appear in court Thursday.

Police arrested Christopher Paul Hasson last week on drug and weapon charges after finding a large stash of guns, ammunition and drugs in his suburban Washington apartment.

Federal prosecutors are expected to argue at Thursday’s bail hearing that Hasson must remain in jail until his trial.

“The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” the government’s court filing says. It calls Hasson a “domestic terrorist bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.”

Along with the weapons and drugs, investigators found documents in which Hasson allegedly calls for “focused violence” and expresses a desire to “establish a white homeland.” 

He is said to have written about ways to “kill almost every last person on Earth,” and called the idea of a biological attack and poisoning the nation’s food supply “interesting.”

Investigators also found a hit list of liberal politicians Hasson allegedly singled out for assassination, including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a number of Democratic presidential candidates. CNN and MSNBC television personalities were also included on the list.

Prosecutors said they believed Hasson was not just fantasizing but was serious about his plans. They said he was a longtime white nationalist and neo-Nazi.

They said he spent time studying the manifesto of far-right Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people during a 2011 massacre.

Hasson has a public defender who as of late Wednesday afternoon had yet to comment on the charges.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Trump Administration Says US-Born Jihadist Can’t Return

The United States said Wednesday that it would refuse to take back a U.S.-born Islamic State propagandist who wants to return from Syria, arguing that she is no longer a citizen. 

 

The Trump administration’s refusal to admit Hoda Muthana, 24, could set precedent and face legal challenges, because it is generally extremely difficult to lose US citizenship. 

 

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”  

“We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria,” he added. 

Pompeo did not elaborate on the legal rationale for why the Alabama native, who is believed to have traveled to Syria on her U.S. passport, was not considered a citizen or where she should go instead. 

 

Pompeo’s statement on Muthana — one of the comparatively few U.S.-born jihadists amid the hundreds of Europeans to have joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in Syria — is at odds with his calls on other countries to take back and prosecute their own jihadist nationals. 

 

Just this weekend, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to chastise European allies who have not taken back IS prisoners caught in Syria. 

US-born, then radicalized

Muthana was born in the United States to parents from Yemen who became naturalized American citizens, according to the Counter Extremism Project at George Washington University, which has identified 64 Americans who went to join IS in Syria or Iraq. 

 

In late 2014, shortly after moving to Syria, Muthana posted on Twitter a picture of herself and three other women who appeared to torch their Western passports, including an American one. 

 

She went on to write vivid calls over social media to kill Americans, glorifying the ruthless extremist group that for a time ruled vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. 

 

But with IS down to its last stretch of land, Muthana has said she renounced extremism and wanted to return home. 

 

Muthana, who has been detained by U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters, said that she had been brainwashed by reading social media as a closeted teenager in Hoover, Ala. 

 

“To say that I regret my past words, any pain that I caused my family and any concerns I would cause my country would be hard for me to really express properly,” she said in a note to her lawyer reported by The New York Times.  

She was married three times to male jihadists and has a toddler son. 

Hard to lose citizenship

The U.S. decision on Muthana comes amid rising debate in Europe on the nationality of extremists. Britain recently revoked the citizenship of Shamina Begum, who similarly traveled to Syria and wants to return to her country of birth. 

 

Britain asserted that she was entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship because of her heritage, but the Dhaka government on Wednesday denied that she was eligible, leading her to become effectively stateless. 

 

U.S. citizenship is significantly more difficult to lose. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War as slavery was abolished, establishes that anyone born in the country is a citizen with full rights. 

 

In recent years, it has been considered virtually impossible to strip Americans of citizenship, even if they hold dual nationality. 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 1967 Afroyim decision rejected the government’s attempt to revoke the nationality of a Polish-born naturalized American after he voted in Israel. 

 

And last year a federal judge rejected a government attempt to strip the nationality of a Pakistani-born naturalized American who was convicted in a plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. 

 

But Trump has campaigned on a hard line over immigration and raised the prospect of ending birthright citizenship ahead of last year’s congressional elections. 

 

In 2011, President Barack Obama ordered drone strikes that killed two Americans in Yemen — prominent al-Qaida preacher Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son — but did not believe it was possible to revoke citizenship.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Trump Administration Says US-Born Jihadist Can’t Return

The United States said Wednesday that it would refuse to take back a U.S.-born Islamic State propagandist who wants to return from Syria, arguing that she is no longer a citizen. 

 

The Trump administration’s refusal to admit Hoda Muthana, 24, could set precedent and face legal challenges, because it is generally extremely difficult to lose US citizenship. 

 

“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”  

“We continue to strongly advise all U.S. citizens not to travel to Syria,” he added. 

Pompeo did not elaborate on the legal rationale for why the Alabama native, who is believed to have traveled to Syria on her U.S. passport, was not considered a citizen or where she should go instead. 

 

Pompeo’s statement on Muthana — one of the comparatively few U.S.-born jihadists amid the hundreds of Europeans to have joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in Syria — is at odds with his calls on other countries to take back and prosecute their own jihadist nationals. 

 

Just this weekend, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to chastise European allies who have not taken back IS prisoners caught in Syria. 

US-born, then radicalized

Muthana was born in the United States to parents from Yemen who became naturalized American citizens, according to the Counter Extremism Project at George Washington University, which has identified 64 Americans who went to join IS in Syria or Iraq. 

 

In late 2014, shortly after moving to Syria, Muthana posted on Twitter a picture of herself and three other women who appeared to torch their Western passports, including an American one. 

 

She went on to write vivid calls over social media to kill Americans, glorifying the ruthless extremist group that for a time ruled vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. 

 

But with IS down to its last stretch of land, Muthana has said she renounced extremism and wanted to return home. 

 

Muthana, who has been detained by U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters, said that she had been brainwashed by reading social media as a closeted teenager in Hoover, Ala. 

 

“To say that I regret my past words, any pain that I caused my family and any concerns I would cause my country would be hard for me to really express properly,” she said in a note to her lawyer reported by The New York Times.  

She was married three times to male jihadists and has a toddler son. 

Hard to lose citizenship

The U.S. decision on Muthana comes amid rising debate in Europe on the nationality of extremists. Britain recently revoked the citizenship of Shamina Begum, who similarly traveled to Syria and wants to return to her country of birth. 

 

Britain asserted that she was entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship because of her heritage, but the Dhaka government on Wednesday denied that she was eligible, leading her to become effectively stateless. 

 

U.S. citizenship is significantly more difficult to lose. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1868 after the Civil War as slavery was abolished, establishes that anyone born in the country is a citizen with full rights. 

 

In recent years, it has been considered virtually impossible to strip Americans of citizenship, even if they hold dual nationality. 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 1967 Afroyim decision rejected the government’s attempt to revoke the nationality of a Polish-born naturalized American after he voted in Israel. 

 

And last year a federal judge rejected a government attempt to strip the nationality of a Pakistani-born naturalized American who was convicted in a plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. 

 

But Trump has campaigned on a hard line over immigration and raised the prospect of ending birthright citizenship ahead of last year’s congressional elections. 

 

In 2011, President Barack Obama ordered drone strikes that killed two Americans in Yemen — prominent al-Qaida preacher Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son — but did not believe it was possible to revoke citizenship.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

US Sanctions Indian National, Declaring Him a Drug Trafficker 

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Indian national Jasmeet Hakimzada, declaring him a major foreign drug trafficker. 

Six other people and entities were also sanctioned, including Hakimzada’s parents, who allegedly help him run his operation.

“Jasmeet Hakimzada’s global drug trafficking and money laundering network has been involved in smuggling heroin and synthetic opioids around the world,” a senior Treasury Department official said.

Hakimzada lives in the United Arab Emirates. He is accused of running a worldwide drug trafficking ring that smuggles heroin, cocaine, opioids and other substances into the United States, Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

Treasury said he has laundered hundreds of millions of dollars through a trading company in the UAE.

A U.S. federal grand jury indicted Hakimzada in 2017 on 46 counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. 

Under the sanctions, all of Hakimzada’s assets in the U.S. are frozen and U.S. citizens are barred from doing any business with him. 

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Trump to Nominate Jeffrey Rosen as Deputy Attorney General

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeffrey Rosen as the next deputy U.S. attorney general, the White House said on Tuesday night, the latest shuffle in the Justice Department at a time when it faces close scrutiny over its Russia investigation.

Rosen, currently deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, would succeed Rod Rosenstein, who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Rosenstein is expected to step down by mid-March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.

Attorney General William Barr welcomed the choice of Rosen, saying in a statement that he had 35 years of experience at the highest levels of government and in the private sector.

“His years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction,” Barr said.

Rosen’s nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

He previously served as general counsel in the Transportation Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) but does not have experience as a prosecutor or Justice Department official, which is unusual for a deputy attorney general candidate.

The Justice Department oversees the nation’s law enforcement and various federal investigations, including the U.S. Special Counsel’s Office probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by Trump’s presidential campaign.

Rosenstein gained national attention after Trump’s former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the Russia investigation, leaving his then second-in-command to oversee U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

Trump, who repeatedly criticized Sessions over the probe that he calls a “witch hunt,” ousted Sessions in November.

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Tuesday that it was possible Trump was a Russian asset.

“I think it’s possible. I think that’s why we started our investigation, and I’m really anxious to see where director Mueller concludes that,” he said.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed accusations hurled at him by McCabe, who told CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that Rosenstein had discussed invoking the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the months after Trump took power.

Rosenstein, who stopped overseeing Mueller’s probe on Nov. 7 when Trump named Matt Whittaker acting attorney general, had been expected to leave soon after Barr assumed office. The U.S. Senate confirmed Barr last week.

‘WONT’ BE PUSHED AROUND’

Rosen was nominated to be a federal judge by Republican President George W. Bush in 2008, but did not get a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate, which was under Democratic control at the time. He was rated “well qualified” by the nonpartisan American Bar Association.

Thomas Yannucci, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis who has known Rosen since 1982, described him as an able legal administrator who will be committed to ensuring the independence of the Justice Department.

“No one’s going to push Jeff around. He’ll be committed to doing his job,” Yannucci said.

Rosen has supported Republican candidates in past elections, although he has not donated money to Trump, federal records show.

Rosen contributed $7,545 to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $100 in April 2015 to Marco Rubio, one of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination in the 2016 campaign.

Rosen was a key figure in efforts to rewrite fuel efficiency regulations and set drone policy. He served as the Transportation Department’s general counsel from 2003 through 2006 and OMB’s general counsel from 2006 to 2009.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Trump to Nominate Jeffrey Rosen as Deputy Attorney General

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Jeffrey Rosen as the next deputy U.S. attorney general, the White House said on Tuesday night, the latest shuffle in the Justice Department at a time when it faces close scrutiny over its Russia investigation.

Rosen, currently deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, would succeed Rod Rosenstein, who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Rosenstein is expected to step down by mid-March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.

Attorney General William Barr welcomed the choice of Rosen, saying in a statement that he had 35 years of experience at the highest levels of government and in the private sector.

“His years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction,” Barr said.

Rosen’s nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

He previously served as general counsel in the Transportation Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) but does not have experience as a prosecutor or Justice Department official, which is unusual for a deputy attorney general candidate.

The Justice Department oversees the nation’s law enforcement and various federal investigations, including the U.S. Special Counsel’s Office probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by Trump’s presidential campaign.

Rosenstein gained national attention after Trump’s former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the Russia investigation, leaving his then second-in-command to oversee U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

Trump, who repeatedly criticized Sessions over the probe that he calls a “witch hunt,” ousted Sessions in November.

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on Tuesday that it was possible Trump was a Russian asset.

“I think it’s possible. I think that’s why we started our investigation, and I’m really anxious to see where director Mueller concludes that,” he said.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed accusations hurled at him by McCabe, who told CBS’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that Rosenstein had discussed invoking the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the months after Trump took power.

Rosenstein, who stopped overseeing Mueller’s probe on Nov. 7 when Trump named Matt Whittaker acting attorney general, had been expected to leave soon after Barr assumed office. The U.S. Senate confirmed Barr last week.

‘WONT’ BE PUSHED AROUND’

Rosen was nominated to be a federal judge by Republican President George W. Bush in 2008, but did not get a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate, which was under Democratic control at the time. He was rated “well qualified” by the nonpartisan American Bar Association.

Thomas Yannucci, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis who has known Rosen since 1982, described him as an able legal administrator who will be committed to ensuring the independence of the Justice Department.

“No one’s going to push Jeff around. He’ll be committed to doing his job,” Yannucci said.

Rosen has supported Republican candidates in past elections, although he has not donated money to Trump, federal records show.

Rosen contributed $7,545 to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and $100 in April 2015 to Marco Rubio, one of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination in the 2016 campaign.

Rosen was a key figure in efforts to rewrite fuel efficiency regulations and set drone policy. He served as the Transportation Department’s general counsel from 2003 through 2006 and OMB’s general counsel from 2006 to 2009.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Michigan Governor Blocks Immigrant Detention Plan

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer blocked the sale of a former state prison that was proposed as the site of a privately operated federal immigration detention center, drawing praise from immigrant rights activists and criticism Tuesday from a Republican lawmaker whose district stood to gain jobs.

 

Whitmer late last week stopped the proposed sale from proceeding, after plans for the facility had advanced in the fall under the administration of then-Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican. She said Virginia-based Immigration Centers of America would not guarantee to not detain adults who are separated from their children or other family members.

 

“The governor believes that building more detention facilities won’t solve our immigration crisis, and she also believes that separating families doesn’t reflect our Michigan values,” Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said in a statement.

 

GOP Rep. Thomas Albert, whose district includes the former Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia, vowed Tuesday to fight Whitmer’s decision.

 

“This issue is not going away,” he told The Associated Press, noting that he chairs the House subcommittee that is responsible for the Department of Corrections budget.

 

He said Ionia has lost out on 250 new jobs, $35 million in private investment and property tax revenue. It is not clear, however, if the GOP-led Legislature can realistically revive the project.

 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has set a March 29 deadline for bids to house approximately 600 male detainees within 150 miles of Detroit, either in Michigan or Ohio. It may be too late for Immigration Centers of America to find another site before then, a company spokesman said.

 

Albert, of Lowell, said Whitmer’s administration added strict stipulations to the development agreement, including that the facility not house any individual who had been separated from a family member at apprehension, during detention or any other time while in custody. The restriction, which would have applied for adults detained and separated for the purpose of criminal prosecution or unlawful entry, would have forced the company to release a detainee if he or she alleged that they have been separated.

 

“That’s effectively turning the detention center into a hotel. There’s literally no way that anybody could comply with that,” Albert said. “It was just a thinly veiled way to torpedo the whole deal.”

Immigration Centers of America, which operates an immigration detention center in Virginia, was the sole bidder for the former prison, which closed in 2009. Spokesman John Truscott said the detention facility would have offered a “much better and more humane” alternative than the current practice of housing detainees in county jails.

 

It is a “possibility” that Whitmer could change her mind, “but we’re not counting on it,” he said.

 

While Albert accused Whitmer of appeasing her political base with a move against President Donald Trump — who rescinded a family separation policy last year — the immigrant rights group Michigan United applauded her for doing the “moral and just thing.”

 

“Not only would a new prison anywhere in Michigan make it easier for ICE to tear families apart, one so far away would also make it harder for their lawyers to work with them, harder for their families to come visit them and much harder for the community to rally in their support,” the organization said in a statement.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.