Democrats demand Trump administration stop federal executions during transition period


A group of Democratic lawmakers Friday called on the Trump administration to suspend all federal executions during the transition of power to presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden.

The Democrats say Mr. Biden deserves an opportunity to evaluate the death penalty, which was restarted earlier this year by Attorney General William P. Barr.

Since the Trump administration reinstated the death penalty, the federal government has killed seven inmates, the most in U.S. history. Another execution is scheduled for November and two more are slated for December.

Mr. Biden and presumptive vice-president elect Kamala Harris have spoken out against the death penalty. As a senator, Ms. Harris sponsored legislation to eliminate the federal death penalty.

“A record number of Americans voted in favor of President-Elect Biden and Vice-President Elect Harris and they deserve an opportunity to implement their policy agenda without the Trump administration rushing into to take preemptive steps,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Mr. Barr.

“While you remain in office for a few more weeks, going forward with executions in the weeks before the new administration takes office would be a grave injustice,” they wrote.

The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

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