NBC News reports that among the documents being sought by attorneys representing separated families are minutes from a White House meeting where officials from the previous administration reportedly voted on the policy of state-sanctioned kidnapping.
Two people at that May 2018 meeting told NBC News last year that former White House aide and noted white supremacist Stephen Miller, reportedly upset that separations were going far too slowly for his tastes, made officials take a vote on proceeding through a show of hands. “The Trump administration denied that such a meeting or vote took place,” NBC News reported this week. Meanwhile, too many journalists continue to quote Miller on immigration policy like he has anything other than his white supremacist ideology to offer.
“The lawyers are also pursuing documents cited in the Justice Department inspector general’s report on zero tolerance,” NBC News continued. That report, which former Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III refused to be interviewed for, found that he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein where “a driving force” in the previous administration’s family separation policy.
“The notes further recorded Sessions telling the U.S. Attorneys, ‘we need to take away children; if care about kids, don’t bring them in; won’t give amnesty
to kids; to people with kids’ [strikethrough in original],” the watchdog report said. The inspector general said that Sessions refused numerous times to be interviewed and that the office had no power to force him to submit to an interview because he’s a former official.
NBC News reported that following the release of the watchdog report, Rosenstein issued a statement claiming regret. “Since leaving the department, I have often asked myself what we should have done differently, and no issue has dominated my thinking more than the zero tolerance immigration policy,” he claimed. “It was a failed policy that never should have been proposed or implemented. I wish we all had done better.”
None of this deserves any shielding. NBC News reports that if the Biden administration chooses to not release the documents, government attorneys “will have to explain their reasoning in a public legal briefing by Friday.” The report said “[a]ttorneys for the families have argued that the materials could show that the officials intentionally sought to inflict emotional harm on the children and parents they separated.” Once again, this should be a no-brainer: Release the documents, Mr. President.