President Trump hosted a sanctuary state roundtable at the White House Wednesday, bringing together roughly 20 representatives and elected officials from cities throughout California who oppose the sanctuary state law passed by the left-leaning legislature. About 15 minutes into the meeting, President Trump once again expressed his outrage over Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s decision to warn illegal immigrants that ICE was about to do a sweep in her community. From Politico:
“I mean, you talk about obstruction of justice, I would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of Oakland, California, Jeff,” Trump said, gesturing toward Sessions. The attorney general did not respond, and sat expressionless as the president made his comments.
“She informed them, and they all fled — or most of them fled — and that whole operation, that took a long time to put together,” Trump said. “To me, that’s obstruction of justice. And perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that, with respect to the mayor. Because it’s a big deal out there, and a lot of people are very angry about what happened. There was a lot of hard work and a lot of danger involved. And that was a terrible thing.”
Trump has previously accused Schaaf of obstructing justice by interfering with the raid, but Wednesday marked the first time he directly implored the nation’s top law enforcement official to contemplate legal action against the mayor.
Mayor Schaaf responded to Trump’s comments on Twitter:
Spent the day presenting our vision to make college a reality for every child from #Oakland. Now onto DC to fight for federal $$$ for affordable housing and homeless services w bipartisan @mayorsandceos. #NotDistracted #NotObstructing #DoingMyJobhttps://t.co/A8DtM5rzWQ
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) May 16, 2018
Governor Jerry Brown also put up a statement about the roundtable event on Twitter:
🤥 @realDonaldTrump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of CA. Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed.
— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) May 16, 2018
Brown is talking of the citizens of California as if they all agree with him, but the whole point of today’s meeting was to highlight the fact that a number of cities in the state have joined the lawsuit brought by the DOJ against the sanctuary state policies. When the lawsuit was announced, Sessions told the California Peace Officers’ Association, “So, California, it appears to me is using every power it has, powers it doesn’t have to frustrate federal law enforcement.” He added, “Immigration law is the province of the federal government. It’s in the constitution.
“I understand that we have a wide variety of political opinions out there of immigration, but the law is in the books and its purposes are clear and just. There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is the supreme law of the land…This matter has been settled.”
In response, Gov. Brown accused Sessions of unleashing a “reign of terror” on the state. Needless to say then, neither side of this debate seems interested in compromise at this moment. As for Libby Schaaf, I have no idea if what she did was illegal but it was certainly revealing of the attitude toward federal law enforcement on this issue. Ultimately, what will matter here is whether the DOJ wins the lawsuit and a judge agrees that this is an issue where federal law supersedes state law.
Here’s the White House clip of today’s meeting. I have the cued up to Trump’s comment about Mayor Schaaf.