AG Sessions blames ‘ACLU Effect,’ local officials for rise in Chicago violence

WAUKEGAN, Ill. — Attorney General Jeff Sessions may regularly take heat from President Trump, but on Wednesday he roasted Chicago officials over violent crime in the city.

"Accepting the status quo of death and crime because it's confined even to a few neighborhoods is not responsible, it’s not a moral approach. This great city of Chicago cannot capitulate to the violence," Sessions said.

Speaking to law enforcement professionals in Waukegan, Sessions addressed violent crime in America. Sessions said from 1991 to 2014 crime dropped, but in recent years across the U.S. crime has increased.

"Colossal mistakes were made by political leaders - politicians and others - judges that have had particular catastrophic consequences for the people of Chicago, Baltimore and St. Louis," Sessions said.

Sessions says officials have cowed to the ACLU and other organizations. He cites Chicago as the most dramatic example, saying crime "shot up" when the city entered into a court agreement to end “stop-and-frisk.”

"The professors who studied Chicago called it the 'ACLU Effect.' Policing went down. Crime when up. So there’s a clear lesson here. If you want more shootings, more death, listen to the ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter and groups who don’t know the realities of policing," Sessions said.

In a statement, the ACLU said such remarks from Sessions and the Trump administration "encourages unlawful behavior and strong-arm tactics."

"Attorney General Sessions essentially argues that police officers are too scared to do their jobs if they have oversight. This claim insults officers and downplays the harms of unlawful policing," Karen Sheley, ACLU of Illinois, said in the statement.

Before his Waukegan speech, Sessions visited the Chicago Police Department's 15th District station in the Austin neighborhood, where he met with officers and crime analysts. He also met with victims of gun violence.

Sessions' visit comes as he continues to take heat from President Trump, who said in an interview released Wednesday that he "doesn’t have" an attorney general, but walked those comments back slightly later in the day.

"We have an Attorney General. I’m disappointed in the Attorney General for many reasons," Trump said.

President Trump has repeatedly considered firing Sessions, but has been met only with opposition from congressional Republicans. Mr. Trump is angry that Sessions recused himself in the Russia investigation leaving him with no control over Special Counsel Robert Mueller.