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The U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington issued a statement early Thursday denying an explosive report that claimed Attorney General William Barr asked federal prosecutors to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for allowing the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) police-free protest zone that led to two fatal shootings.

Brian T. Moran, the federal prosecutor, said he has had multiple conversations with leadership inside within the Department of Justice and "at no time has anyone at the Department communicated to me that Seattle  Mayor Jenny Durkan is, was or should be charged with any federal crime" related to CHOP.

"As U.S.  Attorney I would be aware of such an investigation," he said.

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The New York Times reported Wednesday that Barr directed the Justice Department’s civil rights division to consider criminal charges against the Democratic mayor, who publicly sparred with President Trump and repeatedly denied federal help to quell the unrest in her city. A department spokesman told the paper that Barr did not direct the civil rights division to explore this idea.

The report also accuses Barr of directing federal prosecutors to consider charging rioters and other violent actors with federal charges --  including sedition --  in a call with U.S. attorneys last week.

Federal sedition charges apply to two or more people who "conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force" the U.S. government, and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Durkan issued her own statement in light of the Times' report. She said the report was "chilling and the latest abuse of power from the Trump administration."

"Ultimately, this is not a story about me. It is about the (sp) how this President and his Attorney General are willing to subvert the law and use the Department of Justice for political purposes. It is particularly egregious to try to use the civil rights laws to investigate, intimidate, or deter those that are fighting for civil rights in our country," she wrote.

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The administration's aggressive crackdown on demonstrators follows warnings from Barr and other officials who anticipate an increase in violence ahead of the November election.

Yael Halon is a reporter for Fox News.

News Source: FOX News

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West Virginia Secretary Of State Denies President Donald Trumps Claim That Postal Worker Was Selling Ballots

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s secretary of state said Wednesday that a postal worker had tried to alter absentee ballot applications, but he refuted President Donald Trump’s claim that the employee was “selling ballots.”

The postal worker, Thomas Cooper, pleaded guilty in July to attempted election fraud and injury to the mail after changing five ballot requests from Democrat to Republican. He also altered three other ballot applications by circling the word “Republican” in a different color ink than what was used on the forms, Secretary of State Mac Warner said in a written statement.

The attempted fraud was a “unique circumstance where a postal carrier altered absentee ballot applications, not ballots,” Warner said.

Trump said of ballots in West Virginia, “They’re being sold. They’re being dumped in rivers.” It was among several other false claims the president made about the nation’s election system at a time when many more people are trying to vote by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is going to be a fraud like you’ve never seen,” Trump said.

Warner said that is not true. “Voters should be confident that this election will be safe, secure, and fair,” he said.

The Republican secretary of state added that he shared Trump’s concerns about the potential for an increase in election fraud, but he said states can prevent it. In the West Virginia case, he said an “astute county clerk” identified the altered ballot applications and alerted Warner’s office.

Warner said an Election Anti-Fraud Task Force, which includes federal and state law enforcement, got a confession out of the mailman within days in May.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin denounced Trump’s claims.

“There is no widespread voter fraud in West Virginia and any claim to the contrary is false,” he said in a written statement.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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