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Former Rep. William Jefferson may soon get date to report to prison
Apr-19-2012 521 0


A court hearing Friday could determine whether former Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, will begin serving his 13-year corruption sentence before summer. Some legal experts expect federal prosecutors to ask Judge T.S. Ellis III, who presided over Jefferson's six-week 2009 trial, to revoke Jefferson's $50,000 bail and set a date for him to begin his sentence.

Ellis also could allow Jefferson to self report by a court-imposed deadline.

After sentencing Jefferson, Ellis rejected calls by prosecutors to imprison him immediately and instead allowed him to remain free with an electronic monitor pending resolution of his appeals.

Friday's hearing was scheduled after Jefferson's lawyers failed to meet last week's deadline for filing an appeal with the full 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Legal experts said the decision indicates his lawyers will go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge a unanimous ruling last month by a three-judge 4th Circuit panel rejecting Jefferson's request for a new trial.

The high court probably won't decide whether to take the case -- and they accept only a tiny percentage -- until next fall.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who has been closely following the case, said it is possible prosecutors will argue the unanimous verdict by the 4th Circuit panel makes it unlikely he'll succeed with his Supreme Court appeal.

Ellis "has been pretty strict when it comes to corruption cases," Tobias said, "and if the prosecutors move to (set a date to report to prison) the judge may well grant it."

Kevin Thomas, a consultant with the MPM Group, which helps clients with sentence-mitigation efforts, said he thinks it's likely prosecutors will prevail.

"It was unusual for him (Jefferson) to stay out after sentencing and I would be shocked if the judge let him stay out now that the appellate court has ruled," Thomas said. "But then again his attorney (Robert Trout) is formidable and he could talk a starving dog off a meat wagon."

Jefferson, 65, isn't likely to be remanded into prison immediately, though. In a filing with Judge Ellis, lead prosecutor Mark Lytle expressed no objections if Jefferson chose not to attend Friday's session at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va.

Neither Lytle nor Trout would comment Wednesday.

Tobias said it's no surprise Jefferson's lawyers decided not to file an appeal with the full 4th Circuit, given the unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel.

In a 64-page ruling issued March 26, the appellate judges rejected the legal arguments by Jefferson that Judge Ellis erroneously instructed the jury about what the accepted practice is for official acts by a member of Congress.

Jefferson's lawyers argued the government had dramatically expanded the definition -- taking it beyond what most consider official acts, such as casting votes, introducing bills and committee work -- to include influencing foreign officials in Western Africa on behalf of private business executives.

"The (judge's) instructions did not in any way supplant the statutory definition of what constitutes an official act; it simply explained to the jury that an official act need not be prescribed by statute, but rather may include acts that a congressman customarily performs," according to the three judges.

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AP Nov-24-2014 117 0
President Obama on Sunday responded to Republican critics who have accused him of acting like an emperor with his recent immigration actions, repeating his challenge for Congress to “pass a bill.”

Meanwhile, Republican leaders spent the weekend trying to craft a viable political response to the president’s immigration moves as outrage among the most conservative GOP elements continued to boil.

During an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Obama said he would prefer to address immigration issues through bipartisan legislation. “It didn’t happen, because [Speaker John A. Boehner] didn’t call the bill for a vote in the House,” he insisted.

Host George Stephanopoulos challenged the president on 2012 campaign comments that suggested he did not have authority to stop deportations on his own.

“What is absolutely true is that we couldn’t solve the entire problem and still can’t solve the entire problem,” Obama replied. “But what we can do is to prioritize felons, criminals, recent arrivals, folks who are coming right at the border, and acknowledge that if somebody has been here for five years, they may have an American child or a legal permanent resident child — it doesn’t make sense for us to prioritize them.”

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has opposed a comprehensive immigration-law overhaul, said in an interview Sunday with The Washington Post that he and other tea party figures are rallying conservatives nationwide to oppose the president’s “executive amnesty.”

King announced that on Dec. 3, he will host a rally at noon on the west side of the Capitol to denounce the White House’s policy changes and pressure Boehner (R-Ohio) to respond as forcefully as possible. Invitations are already being sent out to conservative groups and to fellow lawmakers.

Another item at the top of King’s list: censuring Obama in the House.

“This is an open-border policy with a welcome mat,” King said. “It’s going to be a huge mess. We’re trying to light it up among our supporters and make sure the House rejects it. We cut off funding, and we censure the president.”

He added: “I’m troubled by the speaker’s push to do an omnibus spending bill. It seems like he is reaching to try to avoid a confrontation with the president. We’re going to fight back.”

Other conservatives reiterated Sunday that the GOP should not shy away from brinksmanship.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, recommended blocking the consideration of Obama’s federal nominees, outside of national-security posts, and using the budgetary process to thwart the implementation of the administration’s changes to immigration policy.

“In my view, the majority leader should decline to bring to the floor of the Senate a nomination other than vital national-security positions,” Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.” “The second big check we have got is the power of the purse, and we should fund, one at a time, the critical priorities of the federal government.”

Cruz’s efforts could have consequences for the White House, potentially holding up the confirmations of attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch and others, as well as for congressional Republican leaders, who have not endorsed Cruz’s approach.

By challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the soon-to-be majority leader, Cruz in effect sent a warning shot to the GOP leadership, which remains largely undecided about what exactly they will do to counter the president.

Cruz signaled that the responses floated by some members of the party’s brass — including possibly suing the administration and rescinding appropriations for immigration programs once the GOP takes control of both chambers next year — may not be aggressive enough for those conservatives spoiling for showdowns that would stall the White House at every turn.

Beyond Capitol Hill, conservative leaders pleaded with congressional Republicans to consider articles of impeachment against Obama and weigh using budget maneuvers to confront the president, even if it leads to the second government shutdown in two years.

“It is idiocy for Republican leaders to constantly repeat that they are taking the power of the purse and impeachment off the table,” said Richard Viguerie, a longtime conservative activist. “Those are the very tools the Constitution bestows upon Congress to rein in a lawless president.”

House GOP aides said they expected Boehner to hold off on announcing any bills or other actions until when members return to Washington following the Thanksgiving holiday.

But in phone calls and e-mails, top Republicans on Saturday tried to advance an appropriations package that would also extend government funding past the Dec. 11 expiration date, signaling the leadership’s eagerness to avoid a fiscal standoff over immigration in the remainder of the lame-duck session.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said appropriators “remain engaged in negotiations with our House counterparts.”

“The worst option would be to force a government shutdown,” Collins said. “That would hurt a lot of people and undermine our message that we can govern responsibly. I’m confident that if we pass an appropriations bill, we can come back next year when we start the budget process again and put limitations on particular [immigration] agencies that would curb abuses in those areas.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said Sunday that Republicans don’t plan to shut down the government.

“We are not going to shut the government down, but we are going to shut down the president and his actions as it pertains to granting amnesty to 5 million people,” McCaul, who heads the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Also under consideration is an expansion of the lawsuit against the Obama administration’s use of executive authority that was filed Friday. The lawsuit focuses on the Affordable Care Act, but Boehner has broached the idea of adding an immigration challenge to the complaint, according to House Republicans close to him. At a luncheon last week, he told allies that litigation would almost certainly be part of the GOP playbook on immigration. But this lawsuit has already encountered challenges, and it could take months or years to be settled.

In the ABC interview that aired Sunday, Stephanopoulos questioned Obama’s defense that Republican presidents have used executive action to address immigration, noting that previous administrations exercised that authority only after Congress passed bipartisan bills.

Obama argued that those presidents implemented actions that went beyond the legislation that Congress had passed.

In his follow-up, Stephanopoulos asked whether the next president should be able to use executive action to ignore tax laws and effectively lower taxes.

“The reason that we have to do proprietorial discretion in immigration is that we know that we are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time,” Obama said. “Everybody knows, including Republicans, that we’re not going to deport 11 million people.”

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Dan Friedman Nov-22-2014 131 0
President Obama taunted congressional Republicans critical of his executive action on immigration, blaming their foot-dragging for his decisive action to protect 5 million people illegally in the U.S.

Appearing at a suburban Las Vegas high school a day after announcing his decision, the President was both mocking and defiant while back in Washington and across the country Republican officials bitterly denounced him.

Obama said he acted because House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refused for a year and a half to allow a vote on a bipartisan immigration overhaul the Senate passed in 2013.

“It has now been 512 days — a year and a half in which the only thing standing in the way of that bipartisan bill and my desk, so I can sign the bill, is a simple yes or no vote in the House of Representatives," Obama said.

“I told John Boehner, ‘I’ll wash your car. I’ll walk your dog. Whatever you needed to do. Just call the bill.’ And he didn’t do it."

Boehner, who does not have a dog, and usually rides in a chauffeured SUV, charged Friday that Obama was"damaging the presidency" by acting without the approval of Congress.

“We will not stand idle as the President undermines the rule of law in our country and places lives at risk," Boehner said.

He did not specify what actions the House may take. Other Republicans suggested everything from impeaching the President to defunding his executive orders.

Obama laughed off the threats, urging his opponents to respond with legislation.

“Our immigration system has been broken for a very long time and everybody knows it," the President said."We can’t afford it anymore."

He joked he can’t"dissolve Parliament" or "steal the various clerks" who manage congressional legislation.

“You don’t need me to call a vote to pass a bill," Obama said."Pass a bill."

A boisterous crowd of about 1,600 at the Del Sol High School, where Obama laid out immigration reform plans two years ago, echoed his refrain.

“Pass a bill! Pass a bill!" they chanted, as Obama paused.

Before traveling to Nevada, Obama signed the executive orders, which free nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation.

The actions allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents to win three-year work permits and temporary exemption from deportation if they have been in the country for more than five years and pass a criminal background check.

Obama also broadened a 2012 order allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country.

His Las Vegas speech echoed his address Thursday night outlining his actions.

But the President struck a more confrontational tone Friday as he appealed to a fast-growing population of Hispanic voters expected to boost Democrats in 2016.

While New York Democrats welcomed the action, Staten Island Republican Rep. Michael Grimm blasted the move.

Grimm charged that Obama’s action"does nothing except create a class of noncitizen residents that further complicates our already convoluted immigration system.

A federal grand jury indicted Grimm in April on charges that include employing undocumented immigrants at a health eatery he ran before his 2010 election. Grimm has said he is innocent.

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Nov-19-2014 93 0
U.S. Rep. John Lewis on Tuesday predicted “massive, non-violent protests” if Officer Darren Wilson is not charged by the grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Missouri has declared a pre-emptive state of emergency in advance of an announcement — which could reignite the turmoil there.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blogIn an interview with Roland Martin’s radio program, “News One Now,” Lewis compared Ferguson to the 1965 voting rights protests in Selma, Ala., where Lewis and others were brutally beaten by police:


“I think what is happening is moving to that point, where there will be the same feeling and climate and environment that we had in Selma. Selma was the turning point. And I think what happened in Ferguson will be the turning point.

“I think people are waiting, they’re watching, and we’re gonna see within the next few days what’s going to happen — and that would be massive, nonviolent protests all over America.

“When we were beaten on that bridge in Selma, people couldn’t take it, for they saw it, they heard about it, they read about it, and it lit a sense of righteous indignation. When we see a miscarriage of justice in Ferguson, they’re going to have the same reaction they had towards Selma.”

Lewis also offered advice to the protesters:

“Be like a pilot light and not like a firecracker. You know a firecracker just pop off and it’s gone. A pilot light will continue to burn. There will be some setbacks. There will be some disappointments. There will be some interruptions. But you must never ever give up and hold onto the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence and try to protest in a peaceful, orderly fashion and appeal to the better angels in all of us.”

Lewis will receive the latest in a long line of accolades today. The U.S. Capitol Historical Society has named him this year’s recipient of the Freedom Award. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has traveled with Lewis to Selma, will be in attendance, along with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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Reuters Nov-07-2014 130 0
President Barack Obama is expected to pick Brooklyn prosecutor Loretta Lynch for his next attorney general, CNN reported on Friday, a move that would give the top U.S. law enforcement role to a low-key prosecutor with deep experience in both civil rights and corporate fraud cases.

Lynch, 55, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, would be the first African-American woman to hold the job if nominated by Obama and confirmed by the Senate.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama had yet to decide on his nominee. Asked about reports that a decision could come soon, he said he had no specific details on timing but that no announcement was planned on Friday.

Sources close to the Obama administration told Reuters that Lynch was a top contender to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in September that he would resign.

The sources said they expected that if Lynch were selected, she would generate little controversy, making for a smooth Senate confirmation process.

Her nomination would be one of the first big changes for Obama to announce after Republicans won control of the Senate in congressional elections on Tuesday. Lynch was one of several candidates Holder had recommended to succeed him.

Lynch emerged as a leading contender after a previous top choice, former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, pulled out of consideration amid concerns her involvement in controversial Obama administration decisions could complicate her confirmation.

Holder, one of Obama's closest allies, has had a rocky tenure as attorney general. He clashed frequently with congressional Republicans over gun control, same-sex marriage, and a desire to try terrorism suspects in civilian instead of military courts.

In one 2011 email released earlier this week, Holder referred to Republican members of the House Oversight Committee chaired by Darrell Issa as "Issa and his idiot cronies."

A Greensboro, North Carolina, native, Lynch earned her college and law degrees at Harvard, worked in the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office between 1990 and 2001, and served in the top post from 1999-2001 and since 2010.

Lynch developed a close relationship with Holder through her work on the attorney general's advisory committee, which she has chaired since the beginning of 2013.

In her first stint in the U.S. Attorney's office she oversaw the prosecution of New York police officers who were convicted in connection with the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, an incident that became a national symbol for police brutality.

More recently, her office has brought several high-profile cases, including the indictment, in April, of Republican U.S. Representative Michael Grimm for fraud.

Her office has worked closely with Justice Department headquarters on several big corporate fraud cases, and helped investigate Citigroup Inc over shoddy mortgage securities the bank sold, which led the bank to enter into a $7 billion settlement in July.

Lynch's office also was involved in the December 2012 $1.2 billion accord with HSBC over the bank's lapses in its anti-money laundering controls.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn are also investigating a member of Putin's inner circle, Gennady Timchenko, in connection with an oil trading and money laundering probe.

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Nov-05-2014 116 0
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has won election to a full term in the Senate, making him the first African American ever elected to the Senate from South Carolina.

Multiple networks have called the race for Scott, who faced token opposition.

Scott was appointed to the Senate in late 2012 after Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) resigned.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has also won reelection, cruising to victory in the general election after crushing his Tea Party challengers in his primary.

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Dan Friedman Nov-02-2014 128 0
The outlook for the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency hangs on a handful of too-close-to-call Senate races Tuesday in states where he is deeply unpopular.

Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia and Kansas, all of which gave their electoral votes to Mitt Romney in 2012, along with Colorado and Iowa, which Obama narrowly won, will decide who controls the U.S. Senate next year.

With the House in their hands, Republicans could use Senate control to thwart Obama’s agenda, block his nominees and pursue policies that position the GOP for the 2016 presidential fight.
It’s the most expensive midterm election ever — and the closest in recent memory. With two days left in the campaign, the outcome of eight Senate races are in doubt.

But the playing field and Obama’s unpopularity give Republicans an edge. Handicappers give them strong odds of regaining the chamber Democrats have run since 2007.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the lead architect of the Democrats’ Senate majority, declined to predict the party will keep it. “It’s going to be neck and neck,” Schumer said in an interview. “It’s very, very tight.”

Republicans hold 45 of 100 Senate seats. Vice President Biden can cast tie-breaking votes, so the GOP needs a net gain of six seats Tuesday to wrest control of the chamber.

But the Republicans already are halfway there.

By leaving the Senate, Democrats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia gave Republicans three easy pickups. That leaves Republicans needing wins in three of six states where their candidates hold narrow leads or are about even in polls.

Obama’s problem in 2014 results from his success in 2008, when record numbers of voters turned out for Obama. They also voted down the ballot, helping to elect Democrats in red states.

Six years later, those Democrats are up for reelection before the much smaller, older and more conservative voters who tend to vote in midterm elections.

Democrats hold 21 of the 36 total Senate seats up for grabs this year, leaving the GOP far more shots at picking up seats.

“They have a much better map,” Schumer said. “There are many, many Democrats running, and they are in red, red states.”

Schumer said Democrats’ advantages include voters’ tendencies to favor the party on economic issues and a superior “ground game” for turning out voters.

The party has spent a third of its money on ground efforts. Schumer said a ground advantage means Democrats can beat election eve polls by a few percentage points.

But the Republicans’ trump card is Obama. Voters reliably punish the President’s party in midterm elections, and Obama’s approval ratings have sagged considerably.

If races become referendums on whether voters “are happy with the way the country is going, then (Republicans) have an advantage,” Schumer acknowledged.

With Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor trailing by about 7 points in polls, Arkansas may be a lost cause for Democrats, leaving Republicans needing two wins in four races where Democratic incumbents trail or are considered vulnerable.

Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu is a tough politician, but she has an uphill reelection fight in a state that Obama lost by 17 points in 2012. She lags Rep. Bill Cassidy by an average of 4.5 points in polls. The race is expected to go a Dec. 6 runoff required if neither candidate reaches 50% Tuesday.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich has worked to show independence through steps like opposing background check laws for guns. But solidly Republican Alaska is an inhospitable place for Democrats. Begich trails state Attorney General Dan Sullivan slightly.

Both sides have spent big betting the state will be a key to determining Senate control. Relentless GOP attacks have left Hagan clinging to a thin lead.

And in Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall looked like a safe bet for reelection until Republicans recruited Rep. Cory Gardner to run. Udall has hammered the anti-abortion Gardner for months in a bid to drive up a Democratic edge among women. But polls show Gardner with a slight lead.

Like Colorado, Iowa had been a seat that Democrats once expected to keep. It’s been held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin for 30 years. But Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley made the biggest political gaffe of 2014 when he was taped disparaging Iowa’s senior senator, Chuck Grassley, as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.”

The screwup in the agricultural state helped Joni Ernst, a state senator who ran an ad bragging about castrating pigs, catch Braley. Democrats are banking on a superior voter turnout push to win, but a late poll out Saturday night suggested Ernst might be pulling away.

In Georgia, Michelle Nunn, daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn, has pulled even with Republican David Perdue in polls after he defended the practice of moving U.S. jobs overseas. An expected runoff means the outcome likely won’t be clear until January.

And in Kansas, GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, with dire favorability numbers, is even with challenger Greg Orman, an independent, in polls. And in another twist, Orman says he could join whichever party holds the majority.

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AP Oct-25-2014 190 0
Former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler has told President Barack Obama she doesn't want to be nominated for attorney general, after he asked her to consider succeeding Eric Holder, people familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press on Friday.

Ruemmler was concerned that her experience as a close adviser to the President would have led to a difficult confirmation process in the current highly charged partisan environment, the sources said, speaking on a condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private discussions. They say Ruemmler, a top official at the Justice Department before moving to the White House, was also concerned that it could ignite political attacks against Obama.

Ruemmler's withdrawal, in a phone call to the President Wednesday, leaves no obvious front-runner to replace Holder, who announced a month ago that he would step down once a replacement was confirmed. Ruemmler brought the law enforcement bonafides of a former prosecutor in the Bush administration who won convictions against Enron's executives and the national security expertise of a top White House official.

Other candidates that administration officials have said have been considered include Solicitor General Don Verrilli; Labor Secretary Tom Perez; Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York; Jenny Durkan, who resigned as U.S. attorney in Washington state last month; former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Tony West, who recently resigned as the No. 3 official at the Justice Department and has taken a job at PepsiCo; and Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Ruemmler, now a partner at Latham & Watkins specializing in government investigations, had the closest relationship of the attorney general candidates to the President after serving as his legal gatekeeper at the White House. But that relationship also would have brought tough scrutiny, with Republicans likely to question her handling of controversies involving the IRS, Benghazi and the investigation of a White House volunteer in a prostitution scandal.

Obama's aides say he has not yet made up his mind on whom to nominate and won't announce a choice until after the Nov. 4 elections, in part to avoid making the nominee into a political issue facing embattled Democratic candidates. They say he also hasn't decided whether to seek confirmation in the Senate's lame duck session later this year or to wait until the new year, when Republicans are expected to pick up seats if not win outright control.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said in a statement, "Kathy is someone who always tells it like it is, is a world class lawyer and remains a trusted adviser to the president. Anyone who knows Kathy knows she has impeccable judgment, extraordinary foresight and is a formidable force. But she is also as selfless as they come, and the President is proud to call her a close friend."

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Bill Hutchinson Oct-23-2014 249 0
An intruder scaled the White House fence Wednesday, but was quickly pounced on by guard dogs in the latest scare since an armed man made it into the executive mansion last month.

Secret Service officials said Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Md., climbed over the fence near the North Lawn of the White House at 7:16 p.m., but was quickly subdued by K-9 units.

Adesanya kicked one of the dogs, but a second one stopped him and Secret Service agents tackled him, officials said.

“The dog got him,” a Secret Service spokesman said.

He has been charged with two counts of assault on a police dog, four counts of resisting arrest and unlawful entry and one count of making threats.

Adesanya's father told the local press that his son is dealing with mental illness issues. He said the 23-year-old suffers from paranoia and has complained of hearing voices.

“We wanted to get him help, and we’ve been asking the government to give him help and nobody has wanted to help us get help for him,” the man, who didn't want to be identified, told WMAR-TV.

According to his father, Adesanya was arrested at the White House two months ago after he argued with security guards who wouldn't allow him to enter. He was charged with a misdemeanor.

Adesanya had previously attended Stevenson University, but is no longer a student at the Maryland school. On his LinkedIn profile he lists his job title as "American Slave."

Video footage released Wednesday night showed the man in white shorts and a dark shirt kicking and punching one of the dogs before agents arrested him.

The White House was put on lockdown. The incident occurred shortly after President Obama met with senior advisers in the Oval Office.

“The individual was immediately taken into custody on the North Lawn of the White House by Secret Service Uniformed Division K-9 teams and Uniformed Division Officers,” the Secret Service spokesman said.

Adesanya was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, the spokesman said.

The two dogs, named Hurricane and Jordan, that stopped Adesanya were taken to a veterinarian and treated for minor bruising.

Both dogs were cleared to return to duty.

The security breach comes as Omar Gonzalez, 42, a retired U.S. soldier who served in Iraq, scaled the fence on Sept. 19, entered the White House through an unlocked door and made it to the East Room before Secret Service agents tackled him. Officials said Gonzalez was armed with a serrated knife at the time.

The incident came after several security breaches at the White House and prompted the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

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Oct-08-2014 389 0
Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder is urging the broadest review of police tactics in more than a generation, calling for a new effort to tackle difficult questions about how officers patrol communities, prevent crime, and arrest suspects.

Mr. Holder, who has voiced concerns about police conduct since an unarmed 18-year-old was shot and killed by an officer in Ferguson, Mo. in August, spoke Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark. at a meeting of police chiefs organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“The Justice Department is working with major police associations to conduct a broad review of policing tactics, techniques and training,’’ Mr. Holder said.

The goal of the review, he said, is to help police departments around the country “confront emerging threats, better address persistent challenges, and thoroughly examine the latest tools and technologies to enhance the safety and the effectiveness of law enforcement.’’

Mr. Holder said he wants the review to expand “to provide strong, national direction on a scale not seen since President Lyndon Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement nearly half a century ago.’’

If Mr. Holder’s goal is to be realized, it will have to be done by someone else. The Attorney General, one of the president’s closest and longest-serving cabinet members, announced in September he will leave the job as soon as his successor is confirmed by the Senate, a process which could take months.

U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to nominate someone for the job.

Over the past year, Mr. Holder has pushed publicly for changes in the criminal justice system, particularly reductions of sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. He also opened a federal civil rights probe into the Ferguson case, challenged some of the police responses to protests over the shooting and discussed his own experiences with racial profiling.

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