April 22nd, 2013
06:24 PM ET
1 year ago

Ashcroft: I would try Boston suspect as enemy combatant

(CNN) - When asked if he would recommend Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev be tried as an enemy combatant, former attorney general under George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, replied, "Yes, the answer to that question is yes."

The White House said Monday that Tsarnaev would not be tried as an enemy combatant.

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Former Bush A.G. Ashcroft backs Romney
March 5th, 2012
12:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Former Bush A.G. Ashcroft backs Romney

(CNN) – John Ashcroft, who served as U.S. attorney general in the administration of George W. Bush, became one of the first major names from that White House to endorse a presidential candidate Monday.

Ashcroft backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, saying in a statement, "No other candidate stands out for his executive leadership experience or ability to accomplish difficult tasks as does Mitt Romney."

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Filed under: 2012 • John Ashcroft • Mitt Romney
June 2nd, 2010
07:36 PM ET
4 years ago

Ashcroft: BP criminal investigation should have come sooner

Washington (CNN) – Former Attorney General John Ashcroft suggested Wednesday that the Obama administration’s criminal investigation into the circumstances that led to the Gulf oil spill should have come sooner than it did.

Almost six weeks after the initial explosion on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, the Justice Department announced Tuesday it had launched a criminal and civil investigation into the oil spill.

Asked during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, whether he thought the investigations or the timing of the announcement were politically motivated, Ashcroft said he didn’t know “enough facts and circumstances” to comment. But the former head of the Justice Department went on to say, “If someone ever commits a crime against me or my family I would hope that in something less than five weeks they would decide to investigate it.”

Ashcroft also criticized the Obama administration’s decision to close the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where a number of suspected terrorists have been held by the federal government.
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Filed under: BP • Guantanamo Bay • John Ashcroft • Obama administration
February 19th, 2010
02:58 PM ET
4 years ago

Ashcroft warns conservatives not to get too confident

John Ashcroft returned to the spotlight Friday at CPAC.
John Ashcroft returned to the spotlight Friday at CPAC.

Washington (CNN) - Former Attorney General John Ashcroft warned conservatives against overconfidence Friday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

"I think I overheard someone whispering the reason why Ashcroft was brought to the conference. You see, Ashcroft is the only person ever to lose his Senate seat to a deceased opponent. And he is here to keep the conservatives from getting overconfident too early for the 2010 elections." Ashcroft joked. "Let me say to you don't get overconfident too early."

In 2000, Ashcroft, then a senator from Missouri, lost his re-election race to deceased Gov. Mel Carnahan, who had passed away in a plane crash a month before Election Day.

During his speech to the friendly audience, the former attorney general also echoed a refrain that has become a CPAC rallying cry.

"Keep working hard too long and we will celebrate the victory – not just a victory for conservatives or not just a victory for Republicans, but a victory for the United States of America and for freedom at the end of this year," Ashcroft encouraged the crowd. "Keep the intensity up and keep the energy up."

Ashcroft also earned applause with a not-so-subtle dig at the Obama administration's counterterrorism policies.

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Filed under: CPAC • John Ashcroft
September 4th, 2009
07:04 PM ET
2 years ago

Former AG Ashcroft can be sued for terror probe arrest, appeals

Former U.S. Attorney General can be sued by a man who claims he was illegally detained.
Former U.S. Attorney General can be sued by a man who claims he was illegally detained.

(CNN) – Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is not immune from being sued by a man who claims he was illegally detained under Justice Department policies implemented after the September 11 terror attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The man, a native-born U.S. citizen who was once a college football star, was held and interrogated by the FBI for 16 days in 2003 and his travel was limited for another year, court documents said.

A spokesman for Ashcroft, asked for his reaction, told CNN, "We're reviewing the decision and have no further comment."

The court rejected Ashcroft's argument that his involvement was as a prosecutor, which would give him full immunity from lawsuits - not as an investigator, which could leave him liable.

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Filed under: John Ashcroft
May 18th, 2009
12:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Liberal groups seek disbarment of Bush lawyers over torture

Alberto Gonzales is among the former attorneys general named in the complaints.
Alberto Gonzales is among the former attorneys general named in the complaints.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coalition of progressive groups sought Monday to have 12 Bush administration lawyers disbarred for their roles in crafting the legal rationale for so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that many view as torture.

"It is time to hold these lawyers accountable for violating their legal oath," Kevin Zeese, an attorney for the coalition, said in a written statement.

"Just as the bar would suspend an attorney who advised a police officer to torture and brutalize a detained immigrant or criminal defendant, the bar must suspend these attorneys for advocating and causing the torture of war detainees. The disciplinary boards that hear these complaints must act or they will be seen as complicit in the use of torture."

Zeese called disbarment "an important step toward the ultimate accountability of criminal prosecution."

The group registered formal complaints against David Addington, John Ashcroft, Stephen Bradbury, Jay Bybee, Michael Chertoff, Douglas Feith, Alice Fisher, Timothy Flanigan, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes II, Michael Mukasey, and John Yoo.

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June 21st, 2007
03:30 PM ET
3 years ago

Ashcroft discusses Comey visit

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Attorney General John Ashcroft deflected questions from reporters about the visit White House officials paid to his hospital room in 2004 urging him to reverse a Justice Department opinion that a government wiretapping program was illegal, but he apparently discussed the visit during a closed door hearing Thursday of the House Intelligence Committee.

"It is very apparent to us there was robust and enormous debate within the administration about the legal basis for the president's surveillance program. These people deserve credit for standing on their principles in that debate and taking their duties seriously," Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chairman of the panel, told reporters after the hearing.

Concerning the debate over whether the National Security Agency's program for intercepting terrorist communications was legal, "I think that is something that has been well documented," Reyes said. "That's why we're conducting closed hearings so that we can get into the real details of ... what that ... dialogue was about."

Ashcroft and committee members refused to discuss specifically what was said in the hearing.

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Filed under: John Ashcroft