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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:40 p


"Wall Street closes flat as cyclicals shine, big tech falls"

By Herbert Lash

February 19, 2021

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks on Wall Street closed near break-even on Friday as investors sold technology shares that have rallied through the pandemic and rotated into cyclical stocks set to benefit from pent-up demand once the coronavirus pandemic is subdued.

Industrials led rising sectors in the S&P 500, spurred by a 9.9% surge in Deere & Co and Caterpillar’s 5.0% gain to an all-time peak of $211.40 a share.

Financials, materials and energy, along with industrials, rose more than 1%.

The S&P 1500 airlines index jumped 3.5%, with post-pandemic travel in focus.

The stay-at-home winners, including Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc, Alphabet’s Google and Netflix Inc, fell in a trend seen for most of the week. Inc also fell, as investors sold the leaders in the big rally since last March.

Value stocks rose 0.6% while growth fell 0.6%.

Advancing stocks led declining shares by about a 2:1 ratio.

A battle continues between tech-led growth stocks and cyclicals, companies that are heavily affected by economic conditions, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“When the economy is roaring, they’re roaring."

"When the economy is weakening, they’re weakening,” Ghriskey said of cyclicals.

“The economy will roar, at least for a period of time."

"There’s huge pent-up demand, whether just for travel or going back to work.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.98 points, or 0%, to 31,494.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.11 points, or 0.07%, to 13,874.46.

The S&P 500 dropped 7.26 points, or 0.19%, to 3,906.71.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.47 billion shares.

Strong earnings, progress in vaccination rollouts and hopes of a $1.9 trillion federal coronavirus relief package helped U.S. stock indexes hit record highs at the start of the week.

The Dow hit an all-time intraday peak, led by Caterpillar, after Deere raised its 2021 earnings forecast.

Deere reported profit more than doubled in the first quarter on rising demand for farm and construction machinery.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq posted their first weekly declines this month on concerns over higher stock market valuations, and expectations of rising inflation led to fears of a short-term pullback in equities.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.1% while the S&P 500 fell 0.7% and the Nasdaq slid 1.6% as big tech sold off.

Bank of America expects a more than 10% pullback in stocks, which are trading at more than 22 times 12-month forward earnings, the most expensive since the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

“What we saw (this week) represents a market that is tired and may not do very much."

"So we are headed for some sort of a pullback, but I don’t think we’re there just yet,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

On the economic front, data showed IHS Markit’s flash U.S. composite PMI, which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors, inched up to 58.8 in February.

Applied Materials Inc was among the top boosts to both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500, rising 5.3% to $119.46, after it forecast second-quarter revenue above market expectations.

Demand for its semiconductor manufacturing tools has picked up during a global shortage of semiconductors.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.87-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.14-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 51 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 223 new highs and nine new lows.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; additional reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio ... SKBN2AJ1BC

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:40 p


"Oil Futures Show Strong Gains"

by Bloomberg | Andres Guerra Luz

Monday, February 22, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Oil surged as traders and investment banks see global supplies rapidly tightening in response to a vaccination-led recovery this summer.

Futures in London jumped 3.7% on Monday, its largest daily gain since early January, as a range of bullish calls and upward revisions to price forecasts boosted optimism over oil demand.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. sees Brent reaching $75 a barrel as consumption continues to recover faster than supply from OPEC+ and shale.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley also boosted estimates as it sees oil heading for what may be the tightest quarter since at least 2000.

“The market is looking at a more constructive view from a demand perspective and a tighter view from a supply perspective,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

“With economies reopening and vaccinations accelerating, the market has to question if there’s enough oil at the moment as we head into peak demand season.”

The loss of crude production from the unprecedented polar blast in the U.S. will help further firm oil markets heading into the summer as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, Trafigura Group’s co-head of oil trading Ben Luckock said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Some 40 million barrels of February oil output, largely from the Permian Basin, will not be produced due to the freeze, Luckock said.

Global benchmark crude has gained over 25% this year after a January pledge from Saudi Arabia to deepen production curbs turbocharged a rally triggered by Covid-19 vaccine breakthroughs.

Brent’s prompt timespread has firmed in a bullish backwardation structure, signaling a tighter market and helping to unwind global stockpiles built up during the pandemic.

Crude oil stored at sea fell to an 11-month low last week, according to Vortexa, in another sign of dwindling supplies.


Brent for April settlement climbed $2.33 to end the session at $65.24 a barrel.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery, which expires Monday, gained $2.25 to settle at $61.49 a barrel.

The more-active April contract rose $2.44 to $61.70.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index weakened on Monday, boosting the appeal for commodities priced in the currency.

Joining the chorus of bullish calls on oil, Socar Trading SA sees prices hitting $80 a barrel this year as the glut of excess oil inventories built up in response to the pandemic gets fully drawn down by the summer.

Even with Saudi Arabia and Texas producing, “the fear is that in 12 months there will be a shortage,” Socar’s chief trading officer said.

Still, the supply picture is far from certain.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are heading toward an OPEC+ meeting next week with differing opinions on whether to add more supply to the market in April.

The kingdom wants to hold output steady, according to delegates, but Moscow is indicating that it still wants to proceed with an increase.

Other oil-market news:

The North Sea oil price that serves as a benchmark for millions of barrels of physical crude transactions each day will from next year be set partly through buying and selling of U.S. cargoes, triggering a rush for many parts of the market to be ready in time.

The Biden administration is taking steps that could limit the ability of oil refineries to get exemptions from a federal biofuel-blending mandate.

Iraq decided to halt its oil prepayment deal with a Chinese company after prices rose, Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said in an interview with BBC Arabic.

Exxon Mobil Corp. has already upped its climate plans, only three months into an activist investor’s campaign to force change inside the company.

Now the group, Engine No. 1, is pushing the oil giant to set a new goal: net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

--With assistance from Alex Longley. ... 8-article/

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:40 p


"Green New Deal Backer Faces Bumpy Interior Confirmation"

by Bloomberg | Jennifer A. Dlouhy

Monday, February 22, 2021

(Bloomberg) -- Interior Secretary-designate Deb Haaland’s opposition to fracking, early endorsement of the Green New Deal and participation in protests against an oil pipeline in South Dakota have made her one of President Joe Biden’s most controversial cabinet nominees.

Haaland, a Democratic representative from New Mexico, will face questions about those and other positions during a confirmation hearing Tuesday, with some Republicans already warning she’s unlikely to get their support.

“I have serious concerns with Rep Haaland’s radical views and support for the Green New Deal,” Senator Steve Daines, a Montana Republican and member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee vetting her nomination, tweeted after a meeting with Haaland.

“Unless my concerns are addressed, I will not only oppose her confirmation for Interior, I will do all I can to defeat it.”

Haaland plans to tell skeptical senators she recognizes the role of fossil fuels in the U.S. energy mix, while emphasizing climate change is a problem that can’t be ignored, according to a copy of her committee testimony released Monday.

“There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come,” Haaland says in the testimony, adding that revenue from oil and gas fund critical services.

“But we must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed.”

The Senate ultimately is still expected to confirm Haaland, 60, but the slim control Democrats have means Haaland needs every vote she can get.

Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who is chairman of the committee considering her nomination, threw into doubt the fate of another Biden nominee last week.

Manchin said he would vote against Neera Tanden to be budget director though the president vowed to press on with the nomination.

Early Monday, two moderate Republicans -- Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah -- also said they would object to Tanden, making her path to confirmation even more difficult.

Haaland’s nomination has become a target for oil industry advocates, who question whether her past views will get in the way of legal obligations to advance energy development on territory under the Interior Department’s control.

The agency runs the national park system and oversees grazing, recreation, energy development and other activities on about a fifth of U.S. land.

Native American

Haaland, who is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, would become the first Native American member of a president’s cabinet.

Haaland’s past stances and statements, however, have unnerved the oil industry.

“It is one thing to hold those views” as a lawmaker and political organizer, said Anne Bradbury, head of the American Exploration and Production Council. which represents oil developers.

“But it is a very different constituency and a very different responsibility to then transition over to running a large federal bureaucracy that is charged with executing -- not making -- the law.”

Policies Haaland charts at Interior could have a dramatic effect on U.S. energy development.

Federal lands and waters made up roughly 22% of U.S. crude and 12% of U.S. natural gas in 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“That supply is really the difference between greater energy security and going back to the past where we were more reliant on on foreign energy,” said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of the American Petroleum Institute.

Big Oil

Haaland’s supporters say her nomination has drawn criticism because she’s not beholden to Big Oil.

“Representative Haaland makes people uncomfortable because she has opinions,” said Raul Grijalva, a Democratic congressman from Arizona.

“And she makes gas and oil uncomfortable because she’s not a cheerleader for them.”

Biden nominated Haaland after a months-long campaign by Native Americans and environmental activists, who have said she would reset the Interior Department’s relationship with tribal nations and would bring a fresh perspective to the agency most frequently led by White, male Western politicians.

The department holds trust title to more than 56 million acres for tribal nations, and its Bureau of Indian Affairs works directly with 578 federally recognized tribes.

Haaland cuts a different figure as a single mother who at times relied on food assistance.

She was a tribal administrator of the San Felipe Pueblo as well as the operator of a small salsa-making business.

She’s represented New Mexico in the U.S. House since 2019.

“She’s going to bring a commitment to environmental and climate goals to an agency that under Trump was run by actual folks who had worked for fossil fuel corporations,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, vice president of policy and strategy at the liberal advocacy group Data for Progress.

In 2016, Haaland brought food to Standing Rock Sioux protesters camped along the route of Energy Transfer’s Dakota Access oil pipeline.

She was an early sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the House, which outlines a progressive vision for rapidly decarbonizing the American economy.

Haaland also has said she’s “wholeheartedly against fracking and drilling on public lands.”

Haaland has “radical views” that “are squarely at odds with the responsible management of our nation’s energy resources,” said Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the top-ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“Representative Haaland must demonstrate that she will follow the law, protect the multiple uses of our public lands and reject policies that will force energy workers into the unemployment line,” Barrasso said in an emailed statement.

“I won’t support her nomination otherwise.”

Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska, said in an interview he would press for Haaland to recuse herself from decisions on those issues.

“She’s already committed to certain policy approaches that I think go against the law.” ... 4-article/

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p


"Treasury yields rise in choppy trading"

Vicky McKeever @vmckeevercnbc

Published Mon, Feb 22 2021

Key Points

* The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.364%.

U.S. Treasury yields moved higher on Monday after bouncing between gains and losses earlier in the session.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.364%, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond advanced to 2.173%.

The 10-year traded above 1.37% and below 1.33% earlier in the day.

Yields move inversely to prices.

Yields eased back in morning trading following comments from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde that her team was monitoring rising rates.

Rates rose again later in the session.

Bleakley Advisory Group’s Peter Boockvar said Lagarde “will be less inclined to accept a rise in long-term rates” relative to some other central bankers.

Fed chair Jerome Powell is set to address Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The White House said it expects to finish sending out millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines this week, after a sweeping winter storm disrupted its distribution logistics, helping to boost optimism about an economic recovery.

Meanwhile, January data from the Chicago Fed National Activity index showed a month-over-month increase, while the Dallas Fed’s Texas manufacturing survey showed “markedly faster” expansion in the state’s factory activity.

Auctions were held Monday for $54 billion of 13-week bills and $51 billion of 26-week bills.

— CNBC’s Amanda Macias and Jesse Pound contributed to this report.

Data also provided by Reuters ... hopes.html

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p


"Fed's Bowman says U.S. economy 'substantially' recovered, but unevenly so"

By Reuters Staff

February 22, 2021

Feb 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. economy has “recovered substantially” from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman said Monday, but communities of color and low-income families continue to be hard hit, as have working women.

“It is concerning to see signs that the improvements have been uneven, with some households continuing to struggle with unemployment and facing financial difficulty,” Bowman said in remarks prepared for delivery at a Dallas Fed event held to honor four Texas-based community initiatives aimed at reducing economic inequities.

She did not address the U.S. economic outlook or monetary policy.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Andrea Ricci) ... SW1N2KG00J

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p


"TREASURIES-Investors push down yields ahead of Powell remarks"

By Ross Kerber

February 22, 2021

Feb 22 (Reuters) - Investors pushed U.S. Treasury yields down from milestone highs on Monday and looked ahead to remarks U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell is set to give on Tuesday in Washington.

The benchmark 10-year yield was up two basis points at 1.3653% in afternoon trading.

It had been as high as 1.394% overnight, the highest since February 2020, on expectations of faster U.S. growth and inflation, then fell back with equity markets.

Powell is scheduled to speak Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, and investors will be watching to see if he offers any changes to the central bank's dovish outlook of recent months as it looks to shepherd the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bryn Mawr Trust Director of Fixed Income Jim Barnes said investors will watch to see if Powell gives a more optimistic assessment of U.S. economic growth and for signs it might be quicker to act to control inflation.

Doing so could help bring down the TIPS break-even inflation rate.

The 10-year U.S. TIPS break-even inflation rate was at 2.17% and has been above 2% since Jan 27.

"If there's anything that can break the streak of higher yields, it can be the Fed," Barnes said.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes came under pressure on Monday as higher Treasury yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of high-flying growth companies.

On Friday, the yield on 30-year U.S. TIPS rose above zero for the first time since June, and it stood at 0.049% on Monday afternoon.

A closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes, seen as an indicator of economic expectations, was at 125 basis points, about two basis points higher than Friday's close and the highest since 2017.

The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was up less than a basis point at 0.1129%. ... SL1N2KS23R

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p


"Nasdaq, S&P 500 end lower as U.S. yields rise; Disney lifts Dow"

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

February 22, 2021

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed lower on Monday as climbing Treasury yields and prospects of rising inflation triggered valuation concerns, hitting shares of high-flying growth companies.

The Dow index ended slightly higher, lifted by a 4% surge in Walt Disney Co shares.

U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were up at 1.363%.

Since the beginning of February, 10-year yields have risen about 26 basis points, on track for their largest monthly gain in three years.

Still, some analysts noted that the stocks pullback was expected after a torrid rally this year and in 2020.

“This is a small pulback primarily because stocks got a little overheated and there are a few worries out there that people are making mountains out of molehills,” said Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist, at Reynolds Strategy.

He cited worries about the rise in Treasury yields, but noted that junk bond yields hit all-time lows last week, suggesting there has been a shift from the safety of Treasuries to the riskiness of corporates among investors.

“That’s bullish for stocks,” he added.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, and investors are expected to look for any potential changes to the central bank’s dovish outlook.

“What investors are grappling with ... is what does this (higher Treasury yields) mean from an inflation perspective."

"Because of that, there’s a little bit of tantrum in the market right now,” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Shares of Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc, Tesla Inc and Inc resumed their slide from the previous week, falling between 0.9% and 5%.

Largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings had powered Wall Street’s main indexes to record highs early last week, but the rally lost steam, in part due to fears of a potential snag in U.S. vaccination efforts and inflation concerns emanating from stimulus measures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 27.37 points higher, or 0.09%, to 31,521.69, the S&P 500 lost 30.21 points, or 0.77%, to 3,876.5 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 341.42 points, or 2.46%, to 13,533.05.

The last time the Dow ended higher, while the Nasdaq fell more than 2.4% was May 29, 2001.

The S&P 500 declined for five straight sessions, its longest such streak in a year.

Value stocks have outperformed growth shares in February, with investors betting on a rebound in industrial activity and a pickup in consumer demand as countries roll out vaccines to tame the pandemic.

The S&P 500 industrials and financial sector rose 0.3% and nearly 1%, respectively, while energy stocks surged 3.5% on higher oil prices.

Discovery Inc jumped 8.9% after the media company said it was expecting 12 million global paid streaming subscribers by the end of February, as coronavirus restrictions kept people at home.

Kohl’s Corp gained 6.2% after a group of activist investors nominated nine directors to the department store chain’s board.

Principal Financial Group Inc added 8.1% after a media report that activist investor Elliott Management Corp had taken a stake in the life insurance company and planned to push for changes.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.13-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.63-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 71 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 268 new highs and 15 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 14.38 billion shares, compared with the 16.05 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York; Additional reporting by Terence Gabriel; Editing by Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio ... SKBN2AM1AX

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p


"Biden to revise small business PPP loans to reach smaller, minority firms"

By David Lawder

February 22, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Monday launched changes to the U.S. coronavirus aid program for small businesses to try to reach smaller and minority-owned firms, sole proprietors and those with past criminal records left behind in previous rounds of aid.

For two weeks starting on Wednesday, the Small Business Administration will only accept applications for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from firms with fewer than 20 employees.

“A lot of these mom and pop businesses got muscled out of the way by bigger companies who jumped in front of the line” in the initial rounds of the program, Biden said.

His PPP changes here also aim to allow more single-person businesses -- sole proprietors, independent contractors, beauticians and others -- to get loans.

Many of these were excluded previously because the program was geared towards firms with traditional payrolls, or because their business cost deductions limited them to only nominal loan amounts, administration officials said.

They added that SBA rules will be changed to match the approach used to allow small farmers and ranchers to receive aid.

The changes announced by Biden are only good through the program’s expiration at the end of March.

He has proposed $7 billion more in PPP funding for small businesses in his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan now under debate in Congress.

Bankers say demand for PPP loans is slowing as firms reopen.

When the PPP was launched in April 2020 at the height of coronavirus lockdowns, its initial $349 billion ran out in two weeks.

Congress approved another $320 billion in May, but that round expired in August with about $130 billion in unused funds.

The program was re-launched on Jan. 19 with $284 billion in new funds from a coronavirus aid bill passed at the end of December, and a Biden administration official said about $150 billion of PPP money is still available.

Biden said he is open to ideas to make his $1.9 trillion aid plan “better and cheaper” but added that small businesses must be supported.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, an architect of the initial PPP aid program, urged the Biden administration to work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress on changes to the program.

“No other federal relief program has done more to help our smallest businesses, especially those in underserved and under-banked communities,” Rubio said in a statement.

The Biden administration said the program will also set aside $1 billion for businesses without employees in low- and moderate-income areas, which are 70% owned by women and people of color.

The SBA will provide new guidance making it clear that legal U.S. residents who are not citizens, such as green card holders, cannot be excluded from the program.

Exclusions for business owners with past non-fraud felony convictions and student loan delinquencies also will be lifted.

Reporting by David Lawder; Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Aurora Ellis and Chizu Nomiyama ... SKBN2AM0UP

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p

The Guardian

"Merrick Garland vows to target white supremacists as attorney general"

Martin Pengelly in New York @MartinPengelly

Sun 21 Feb 2021 08.11 EST

Last modified on Mon 22 Feb 2021 12.37 EST

At his Senate hearing on Monday, attorney general nominee Merrick Garland will pledge to prosecute “white supremacists and others” who attacked the US Capitol on 6 January, in support of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat.

The pledge was contained in Garland’s opening testimony for the session before the Senate judiciary committee, released on Saturday night.

“If confirmed,” Garland said, ‘I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on 6 January – a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

Five people including a police officer died as a direct result of the attack on the Capitol, before which Trump told supporters to “fight like hell” against the result of the presidential election.

Trump lost to Joe Biden by 306-232 in the electoral college and by more than 7m ballots in the popular vote.

More than 250 participants in the Capitol riot have been charged.

As NPR reported, “the defendants are predominantly white and male, though there were exceptions."

“Federal prosecutors say a former member of the Latin Kings gang joined the mob, as did two Virginia police officers."

"A man in a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt took part, as did a Messianic Rabbi."

"Far-right militia members decked out in tactical gear rioted next to a county commissioner, a New York City sanitation worker, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.”

In his testimony, Garland made reference to his role from 1995 to 1997 in supervising the prosecution of the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing, in which 168 people, including 19 children, were killed.

One of the men convicted, Timothy McVeigh, had expressed support for white supremacists.

Trump was impeached for a second time on a charge of inciting an insurrection but was acquitted after only seven Republicans joined Democrats in the Senate in voting to convict, 10 short of the majority needed.

“It is a fitting time,” Garland said, “to reaffirm that the role of the attorney general is to serve the rule of law and to ensure equal justice under the law.”

The 68-year-old federal appeals judge was famously denied even a hearing in 2016 when Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell blocked him as Barack Obama’s third pick for the supreme court.

Biden’s selection of Garland for attorney general is seen as a conciliatory move in a capital controlled by Democrats but only by slim margins, the Senate split 50-50 with Vice-President Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.

In his testimony, Garland said he would be independent from Biden, being sure to “strictly regulate communication with the White House” and working as “the lawyer … for the people of the United States”.

Trump pressured his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to do his bidding, then saw his second, William Barr, largely do so, running interference on the investigation of Russian election interference and ties between Trump and Moscow.

If confirmed, Garland will face sensitive decisions over matters including Trump, now exposed to criminal and civil investigation, and Hunter Biden, the new president’s son whose tax affairs are in question as he remains a target for much of the right.

Some on the left have expressed concern that Garland might be too politically moderate.

Black Lives Matter founder LaTosha Brown, for example, told the Guardian: “My concern is that he does not have a strong civil rights history … even when Obama nominated him, one of the critiques was that he was making a compromise with what he thought was a ‘clean’ candidate to get through.”

In his testimony, Garland said justice department civil rights work must be improved.

“Communities of colour and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system,” he said, “and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution, and climate change.”

Garland is expected to be confirmed.

• This article was amended on 22 February 2021. An earlier version described the Oklahoma City bombing as a “white supremacist atrocity”. To clarify: one of the perpetrators, Timothy McVeigh, had expressed support for white supremacists but the bombing itself was not believed to have been carried out to further white supremacist ideology. ... ry-hearing

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:40 p

The United States Department of Justice

Organization, Mission & Functions Manual: Attorney General, Deputy and Associate


The position of Attorney General was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789.

In June 1870 Congress enacted a law entitled “An Act to Establish the Department of Justice.”

This Act established the Attorney General as head of the Department of Justice and gave the Attorney General direction and control of U.S. Attorneys and all other counsel employed on behalf of the United States.

The Act also vested in the Attorney General supervisory power over the accounts of U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

The mission of the Office of the Attorney General is to supervise and direct the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals Service, which are all within the Department of Justice.

The principal duties of the Attorney General are to:

* Represent the United States in legal matters.

* Supervise and direct the administration and operation of the offices, boards, divisions, and bureaus that comprise the Department.

* Furnish advice and opinions, formal and informal, on legal matters to the President and the Cabinet and to the heads of the executive departments and agencies of the government, as provided by law.

* Make recommendations to the President concerning appointments to federal judicial positions and to positions within the Department, including U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals.

* Represent or supervise the representation of the United States Government in the Supreme Court of the United States and all other courts, foreign and domestic, in which the United States is a party or has an interest as may be deemed appropriate.

* Perform or supervise the performance of other duties required by statute or Executive Order. ... ey-general
The Independent

"Garland says laws must be 'fairly and faithfully enforced'"

Via AP news wire

21 FEBRUARY 2021

President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general says the Justice Department must ensure laws are “fairly and faithfully enforced” and the rights of all Americans are protected, while reaffirming an adherence to policies to protect the department’s political independence.

Judge Merrick Garland who is set to appear Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to tell senators that the attorney general must act as a lawyer for the people of the United States, not for the president.

The Justice Department released a copy of Garland’s opening statement late Saturday.

If confirmed, Garland would inherit a Justice Department that endured a tumultuous time under President Donald Trump — rife with political drama and controversial decisions — and abundant criticism from Democrats over what they saw as the politicizing of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.

“It is a fitting time to reaffirm that the role of the attorney general is to serve the Rule of Law and to ensure equal justice under the law,” Garland says in his prepared statement.

The previous attorney general, William Barr, had also sought to paint himself as an independent leader who would not bow to political pressure.

But Democrats repeatedly accused Barr of acting more like Trump's personal attorney than the attorney general.

They pointed to a number of controversial decisions, including overruling career prosecutors to recommend a lower sentence for Trump ally Roger Stone and moving to dismiss the criminal case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn after he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Barr resigned in late December, weeks after he told The Associated Press that the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, countering Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.

In his prepared remarks Garland, a federal appeals court judge who was snubbed by Republicans in 2016 for a seat on the Supreme Court, lays out his plan to prioritize the department’s civil rights work after the nationwide protests last year over the deaths of Black Americans by police.

He highlights a key mission for the division: to protect the rights of all Americans and particularly the most vulnerable.

“That mission remains urgent because we do not yet have equal justice."

"Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system; and bear the brunt of the harm caused by pandemic, pollution and climate change,” Garland says.

Garland also addresses domestic terrorism and rising extremist threats, pointing to his prior work in the Justice Department supervising the prosecution following the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City.

And as federal prosecutors continue to bring cases following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Garland calls the insurrection a “heinous attack that sought to distrust a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.”

So far, the Justice Department has charged more than 200 people with federal crimes in connection with the riot, including members of extremist groups accused of conspiracy and other offenses. ... 05219.html

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