DOJ whistleblower: California emissions investigation was ‘abuse of authority’

The Justice Department (DOJ) decision to investigate a California effort to reduce vehicle emissions was heavily criticized Wednesday by House Democrats, who called it an effort to strengthen the state and automakers.

An antitrust investigation into the July deals between California and four different automakers was launched just a day after a tweet from President TrumpDonald John Trump Bowman has a double-digit lead over Engel in New York. McGrath leads Booker in Kentucky with results expected next week New York Republican Chris Jacobs wins special election to replace Chris Collins MORE, a Justice Department whistleblower testified during a heated hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

John W. Elias, a career Justice Department employee who served as acting chief of staff for the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in the first half of the Trump administration, said the investigation served as “evidence that the laws Our nation’s antitrust was being misused. “

Trump’s August tweets and subsequent investigation came as the administration was developing now-finalized exhaust pipe mileage and emission standards for vehicles that significantly reduce those developed under the Obama administration.

“Auto companies should know that when this administration’s alternative is no longer available, California will squeeze them to a point of business ruin,” Trump tweeted in August.

Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen Lofgren The proposed changes to asylum rules could address the biggest immigration problem: the backlog of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the rider to take advantage of the debate on police reform The end of asylum, for now MORE (D-California) called it a “bad faith” investigation. He was one of the many Democrats on the committee who cited the investigation as an example of the Justice Department exerting inappropriate political influence over industries disadvantaged by the administration.

Elias said there was little legal basis for the collusion investigation. A well-established antitrust precedent gives states broad freedom to regulate, while “businesses are free to collectively pressure the government to regulate them.” The investigation collapsed in October when automakers informed the Justice Department that they had signed individual agreements with California.

“Simply put, it wasn’t a legitimate antitrust investigation, was it?” Rep said. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. Johnson Progressives urge Democrats to listen to a federal judge deeply critical of Roberts, the House of Conservatives passes a bill that bans flavored tobacco products Clinton advises to check your voter registration during Trump’s State of the Union MORE (D-Ga.)

“The events here constituted an abuse of authority,” Elias replied.

California’s agreements with BMW, Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen commit automakers to produce vehicles that could average 50 miles per gallon by 2026, while the Trump plan asks automakers to achieve 40 mpg therein. time frame.

“The president, of course, is free to pursue an anti-environmental agenda within the limits of the law. But there is a line between the department that prioritizes executive policies and prosecutes companies and individuals solely to retaliate against political enemies perceived by the president, “said the representative. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Apple developer dispute draws scrutiny from lawmakers over App Store | Republican Senator Blocks Bill to Expand Mail and Early Voting | Twitter notes that Trump tweeted protesters for including ‘threat of harm’ Apple developer dispute draws scrutiny from lawmakers over App Store Ocasio-Cortez: Trump rally sabotaged by ‘teens on TikTok’ MORE (DR.I.).

Elias said that because the investigation was expedited, career personnel did not have the opportunity to do much preliminary investigation into the case, including communication with California.

Normally, import decisions, here an investigation of a $ 630 billion auto market, would take time and care to evaluate, especially when the action would face defenses. In the rushed investigative paperwork, staff acknowledged that they had only partially examined public information, “he said.