HC Wake-Up Call: Sessions Says DOJ Won’t Be Influenced by 'Political Considerations', CA Will Expunge Old Marijuana Convictions & Hurricane Lane Threatens Hawaii

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

AG Jeff Sessions Says DOJ Won’t Be Influenced by “Political Considerations”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump have shared their fair share of harsh words and criticism, but on Thursday, Sessions issued his strongest pushback yet, saying the Department of Justice “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

When Trump was asked during an interview with Fox News on Thursday whether he will “fire Sessions,” Trump took aim at his Attorney General, who he has shared a war of words with since Session recused himself from the Russia investigation last year.

“I said ‘What kind of a man is this?’” Trump said during the interview, adding that Sessions has failed to take control of the DOJ.

“The only reason I gave him the job — I felt loyalty.”

In a statement from Sessions, the attorney general said that he “took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda.”

via Getty Images

“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” Sessions’ statement read. “I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action.”

Sen. John Cornyn, a top Republican senator, came to Sessions defense on Thursday.

“I think those of us who’ve worked with Jeff Sessions for the last 15 years or more know him to be an honorable man, somebody who’s dedicated not only to rule of law, but also to the Department of Justice,” Cornyn said, according to his office.

“He’s a quintessential Boy Scout in that respect. And I know this is a difficult position for him to be in but I think it would be bad for the country, it would be bad for the president, it would be bad for the Department of Justice for him to be forced out under these circumstances. So I hope he stays the course and I hope cooler heads prevail,” Cornyn added.

Responding to Trump’s comment that he would have not nominated Sessions for Attorney General if he would have known that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said, “I don’t think the president should have said something like that. Jeff’s a very fine fellow and that’s a comment that really I think we could have done without.”

“But you know, the president’s the president. He’s very open, he’s straightforward, he sometimes gets himself in trouble in being so straightforward,” Hatch said.

According to ABC News, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters, “The president’s entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice. Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn’t have the confidence of the president.”

California Passed a Bill to Expunge Old Marijuana Convictions

California lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday that lays the legal framework to expunge old marijuana convictions.

The California Senate passed AB 1793, a bill that would require the California Department of Justice to review the records of of cannabis convictions that are eligible for “recall or dismissal of sentence, dismissal and sealing, or re-designation” under current marijuana laws.

According to The Huffington Post, activists across the country have called for previous cannabis convictions to be wiped out as more and more states decriminalize, and legalize, the drug.

via iStock by Getty Images

A Drug Policy Alliance study found that nearly 500,000 Californians had been arrested on marijuana charges between 2006 and 2015. The state recently passed a proposition allowing for recreational use of marijuana in 2016.

According to CNN, more than 218,000 convictions could be expunged or downgraded under the new law.

If California Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill, state officials will have until July 1, 2019 to compile a list of eligible cases, and prosecutors will then have a year after that to determine which cases they will challenge.

Hurricane Lane Threatens Hawaii

Residents of Hawaii are preparing, as Hurricane Lane inches closer to landfall as a Category 4 storm.

Lane’s forecast track prompted hurricane warnings for all of the main islands, including including the Big Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu.

“The center of Lane will track dangerously close to the Hawaiian islands from Thursday through Saturday,” the Central Pacific Warning Center said in an update. “Regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes its closest approach.”

At a press conference on Wednesday, Hawaii Gov. David Ige told residents to shelter in place and have enough food and supplies to last for 14 days.

“We are expecting large amounts of rain, flooding and high winds,” Ige said. “There will be significant impacts even if the hurricane doesn’t hit us directly.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Big Island started seeing rain, and by Wednesday evening, heavy rains showered the Big Island and Maui as the storm made its way northwest to the other islands.

Residents have flocked to the nearest grocery and hardware stores to get essentials, clearing out items such as bottled water, canned foods and propane tanks.

The storm is expected to bring anywhere from 10 to 15 inches of rain to the islands, with some areas seeing up to 20 inches of rain, the hurricane center said late Wednesday.

Lane is also expected to cause a storm surge of an estimated two to four feet above normal tide levels on west and south shores of the islands.

According to The Huffington Post, Gov. Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday in anticipation of Lane. The White House approved the governor’s request for a presidential disaster declaration on Wednesday, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the state.

On Wednesday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned residents that the city was planning for the worst case scenario, but “hoping for the best.”

“We do not want to see what happened in Puerto Rico and we do that by making sure we’re prepared,” Caldwell said. “We need the full cooperation of all of the public, really showing the aloha that we’re all about.”

What to look out for...

The Queen of Everything, aka Oprah, has released her very own line of frozen pizzas. And you get a pizza! And you get a pizza!

Not really, but it's time to clean out our freezers and head to the grocery store.