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Attorney General Bill Barr gives a speech in Washington, D.C., on March 6. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Republican and Democratic lawmakers reacted with concern Saturday to a Politico report that the Department of Justice is seeking new powers to ask judges to detain people indefinitely without trial in emergency situations.

The big picture: Politico reports the DOJ documents for Congress it reviewed "detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted." The unconfirmed report prompted Doug Stafford, the chief strategist for Rand Paul (R-Ky.), to tweet his agreement with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who criticized such a measure.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What they're saying: Several other members of Congress spoke out against the reported proposals, which come amid the novel coronavirus outbreak and include for Congress to grant Attorney General Bill Barr "power to ask the chief judge of any district court to pause court proceedings 'whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.'"

  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tweeted, "OVER MY DEAD BODY."
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) tweeted, "This is wrong and must not be allowed to happen."
  • Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) tweeted, "Congress must loudly reply NO."
  • Arizona state Sen. Martín Quezada (D) tweeted, "That would be a hard no."
  • Axios has contacted the DOJ for comment, along with the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), about the report.

Go deeper

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

8 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.