The three cities filed a joint complaint Thursday in Seattle seeking to block the move, said Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s top lawyer
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New York and its fellow cities branded anarchist jurisdictions by the Trump administration will file a lawsuit challenging a move to pull their federal funds. The Justice Department last month slapped the label on New York, Seattle, and Portland, saying they could lose federal funding because the administration believes they have failed to rein in “violence and destruction of property” on their streets.
The “anarchist jurisdiction” designation came after President Trump ordered the DOJ to identify cities that, in his view, were not responding aggressively enough to protests and crime — amid a larger rhetorical attack on blue states the president has deemed politically unsupportive.
The three cities filed a joint complaint Thursday in Seattle seeking to block the move, said Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s top lawyer.
“In an act offensive to both the Constitution and common sense, President Trump has called on the Attorney General to formally identify certain American cities as ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ — an oxymoronic designation without precedent in American jurisprudence,” the three cities said in court papers filed in federal district court in Seattle.
“The Defendants’ actions violate bedrock principles of American democracy: separation of powers, federalism, and due process.”
The cities argue that their finances are already strained by the Covid-19 pandemic — in New York’s case, with $9 billion in lost revenue — and losing their federal aid would be “devastating.”
New York City stands to lose as much as $12 billion if the threat were fully implemented.
“It’s morally wrong. It’s legally unacceptable. It’s unconstitutional, and we’re going to fight it,” de Blasio said at a press briefing.
De Blasio at first dismissed the move as an election-year ploy. But officials said they’re taking it seriously after the Federal Transit Administration issued a notice of opportunity for cities to apply for a grant this month — and specified that “anarchist” cities could not participate.
The lawsuit will charge that the Trump administration is illegally infringing on Congress’s power to dictate how federal funds are spent. It will also claim that the designation is arbitrary, and is a violation of cities’ rights to decide how to police their streets and spend their own funds.
In subjecting New York to the label, DOJ cites a recent rise in shootings in the city as well as a purported $1 billion cut to the NYPD, and the decision by some district attorneys not to prosecute protesters arrested for minor offenses.
“It is made up out of whole cloth,” Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson said of the “anarchist jurisdiction” label. “There’s no statutory basis for it. There’s clearly no constitutional basis for it, and a court will see that it should make really short work of this and reject the characterization.”
De Blasio scoffed at the idea that anarchy had taken over city streets.
“This is a figment of Donald Trump’s troubled imagination," he said.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.
Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.
The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.