‘This is Ukraine-style extortion right here in our own country…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Following a familiar pattern of accusing President Donald Trump of “retaliation” while downplaying the provocations that may have invited it, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo complained that the dialing back of services by the Department of Homeland Security was a ‘punishment’ for the so-called sanctuary state‘s refusal to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
As it did with the debunked dossier, Buzzfeed claimed to have obtained a leaked DHS memo that discussed possible forms of retribution against New York and other far-left blue states that have defiantly flouted federal law.
Among other recent affronts, New York recently drew controversy for greenlighting a policy to administer driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, raising concerns about widespread voter-ID fraud and related issues.
The law also blocks state officials from sharing information with DHS authorities, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“[T]he administration considered using ‘friendly’ states to discreetly collect information for federal immigration authorities that would otherwise be inaccessible by law,” said the article.
“The plans also include retaliation measures against states that limit access to records, such as closing down DHS offices there, refusing to accept their state identification, cutting TSA PreCheck services, and potentially subpoenaing for drivers’ licenses provided to undocumented immigrants,” it declared.
Many of those courses of action fall well within the purview of the federal agency as legitimate, legal means for addressing New York’s noncompliance.
The alleged Buzzfeed memo has not yet been independently verified by reliable news sources. However, DHS appeared to have confirmed its authenticity—while downplaying its significance.
“As the memo clearly states, the recommendations were informational, draft, and pre-decisional,” DHS spokesperson Heather Swift said in a statement, according to Buzzfeed.
“The Acting Secretary did not consider the draft recommendations in his decision making,” Swift said. “Instead, the Acting Secretary took targeted and limited action to address the security vulnerability New York’s law created.”
Nonetheless, Cuomo’s office whined that the nothingburger memo was “smoking gun” evidence of a “politically motivated” persecution campaign by the White House.
“From the beginning we have said the Trump administration’s decision to ban New Yorkers from the trusted traveler program was politically motivated retaliation meant to specifically punish New York. We were right,” it said in a press statement.
“The leaked DHS memo is the smoking gun that proves that the Trump administration is once again knowingly abusing power by using government to extort states for political purposes, with no rational link to a legitimate policy,” Cuomo claimed.
As is often the case with any action taken by the Trump administration, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued in response—although clearly not in any sort of a retaliatory fashion.
“Make no mistake: We will not allow New York to be used as President Trump’s punching bag, and we will fight against this illegal and retaliatory policy with every tool available until it is overturned,” Cuomo pledged.
Perplexingly, the Democrat governor’s office sought to link the Buzzfeed memo with the failed House impeachment effort that recently netted Trump an acquittal and a boost in his approval ratings.
“The memo reported on by BuzzFeed is a clear, documented admission by the Trump administration that they are purposely targeting law-abiding U.S. citizens to play partisan politics,” Cuomo claimed, without evidence.
Cuomo then hinted that the alleged memo, which appears already to be public, was part of a cover-up conspiracy.
“This is Ukraine-style extortion right here in our own country,” he said. “The Trump administration should release the memo immediately.”
While celebrating his acquittal last week, Trump predicted that vindictive, partisan leftists wound not let the failure of the recent impeachment derail additional efforts, particularly in his former home state.
“I’m sure they’ll try and cook up other things. They’ll go through the state of New York, they’ll go through other places. They’ll do whatever they can,” Trump said.
“Because, instead of trying to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do, in my opinion—it’s almost like they want to destroy our country,” he added. “We can’t let it happen.”