Allow me to explain this incredible letter filed in United States District Court on July 23d. The Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) includes programs like “Global Entry” that allows Americans who apply, and meet certain requirements, expedited passage through airport security. The Department of Homeland Security, with timing that suspiciously looked like retribution for unrelated New York immigration policies, barred New Yorkers from the program. New York sued.
In court DHS filed motions to dismiss with sworn statements from DHS officials supporting the motions. The motions and SWORN statements presented New York as unique, a veritable pariah among states, in refusing to share certain driver’s license information with it. Because of this DHS insisted it could not verify the TTP applications from New Yorkers.
This incredible letter, admits that all that was, in fact, “inaccurate,” “gave the wrong impression,” and “misleading.” Accordingly, DHS defendants stated they “deeply regret the foregoing inaccurate or misleading statements and apologize to the Court and plaintiffs for the need to make these corrections at this late stage in the litigation.”
DHS further offers to the court that “These revelations undermine a central argument in defendants’ briefs and declarations.” In other words the lies involved, including those made UNDER OATH, were made because they were a central argument. Without the lies DHS had no case.
Accordingly DHS advises the court that it is immediately reinstating New York into the Trusted Traveler Program. DHS tried to clean the slate by asking that the court allow them “to withdraw their motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, along with all briefs and declarations submitted in support of those motions.” Yes, they asked the court to withdraw and forget SWORN STATEMENTS UNDER OATH that were false and misleading. The perjurers request that the court allow them to withdraw their perjury. That’s not how this should work.
Allow me to explain what I believe happened behind the scenes. The letter is signed by Audrey Strauss. Ms. Strauss is in this position against the wishes of President Trump and Attorney General Barr. A month ago Barr tried to replace Strauss’ predecessor, Geoffrey Berman, with a Trump crony and golf buddy. To do this Barr needed Berman to leave voluntarily. So Barr tried to make that happen de facto by lying to the American people, saying that Berman was voluntarily leaving. Berman then humiliated Barr by saying he would not leaving voluntarily. Barr then had to fire him. However, firing Berman, by law, made Audrey Strauss Berman’s replacement. Barr failed to install the Trump crony.
Attorneys for the Southern District of New York represented their “client” DHS in this case. They built a case for their client based on what their client told them. Then the SDNY attorneys discovered that their client was lying to them. These ethical government attorneys of the Southern District of New York then did what they had to do, they informed the court of their client’s lies. That’s never a fun thing to do, particularly when the client is the United States Government, and a Department entrusted with the security of the nation.
That’s another part of the story. The Trump Administration used the Department of Homeland Security as means political retribution to punish a state, and its people, that did unrelated things the Administration did not like. Notably, the Secretary of DHS has not, as is required, been confirmed by the Senate. For nearly a year Chad Wolf has been in the role of “Acting” Secretary as part of a strategy by Trump to circumvent the advice and consent of the Senate mandated by the Constitution for such Presidential appointments.
The story should not end here. In a perfect world, one where the Department of Justice is not itself a corrupt arm of the Administration, the DHS officials who lied under oath should be investigated and charged with perjury. That will not happen in a DOJ run by Trump’s crony, Attorney General Barr.
The judge, however, can take matters in his own hands. He has the authority to hold those who lied under oath in criminal contempt of court. The first step would be a “show cause” notice where the judge notifies those involved that they must show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt. As a minimum that should be done. They deserve to be put on the spot.
Trump corrupts everything, and everyone, he touches.