L Before Donald Trump became president, he demanded the imprisonment of his opponents. With the support of Attorney General William Barr, he can now effectively train the full force of federal prosecution against his enemies, both real and alleged. Unlike Richard Nixon, who acted in secret, Trump corrupted the justice system openly and publicly.
The gravity of such an abuse of power by the President and his potential to undermine the constitutional order may outrun any of the crimes listed in the Müller Report. Indeed, Congress has long ago realized that such misconduct deserves to be ousted.
Trump's desire to investigate the investigators who uncovered the Russian plan to elect his president has been particularly pressing since the publication of the Muller report, with Trump repeatedly accused government officials of "high treason" and the White House : " This whole thing was a TAKEDOWN ATTEMPT with the President of the United States ."
Thursday night after Trump spent He announced that he had given Barr the "full and complete authority" to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation. The White House also stated that Trump has instructed intelligence agencies to cooperate with the investigation "quickly and unreservedly".
It recalls Nixon's secret scheme of "using the available federal machinery to strangle our political enemies," as the then White House lawyer John Dean put it, "granting availability, federal contract, litigation , Law Enforcement, etc. " manipulated. Nixon told the IRS to provide potentially harmful information against some of his enemies. Although the agency's representative refused Nixon's request, the plan became part of Nixon's impeachment lawsuit, which accused him of illegally seeking "[information] from the Internal Revenue Service" in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens.
While much of Nixon's plan has been prevented, Trump seems prepared to do his part. Barr recently hired Connecticut US Attorney John Durham (known for investigating the FBI's corrupt relationship with Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger) to investigate the "origins" of the Russia investigation. Unknown government officials have attempted to minimize the impact of the investigation by telling the press that grand jury summons are not required at present, but this is subject to change at any time – Senator Lindsey Graham also demands it publicly
Meanwhile, Barr is notable He is open-minded about his intention to follow the President's leadership by placing investigators in the focus of as much opprobrium as possible. In a statement by the Senate a few weeks ago, Barr denied the President's accusation that the Trump campaign had been "under-supervised." More recently, however, he responded to a Fox News interviewer's question as to whether he "smells a rat [ed]" at the FBI, stating, "The answers I get are not enough," suggesting that Officers at FBI Headquarters are culpable. in a simple allusion to James Comey and the other former high-ranking FBI officials who have repeatedly angered Trump.
" Barr even suggested that the evidence against Clinton was stronger than any evidence of misconduct by the President. "
Trump's original goal was Hillary Clinton. Trump summoned Jeff Sessions (eventually with some success)) to resume an investigation for unfounded allegations that she had unjustifiably obstructed the sale of uranium mining company Uranium One to a Russian company as Secretary of State. In November 2017, New Yorkers named ten former Attorney Generals, but only one responded to the question of whether Trump's sessions should meet loud demands: It was Barr who said he saw no problem with the President targeting a political enemy as long as it was an "arrest warrant" [ed]. Barr even said the evidence against Clinton was stronger than any evidence of misconduct by the president, even though the primary "evidence" for the Uranium One allegations came from a Steve Bannon-sponsored book.
Barr did not seem to consider the risk of a president using the Ministry of Justice as a mechanism for vengeance against a former opponent. In fact, Barr said, the department would "refuse its responsibility" if it did not pursue Clinton as Trump wished. In a memorandum he later wrote to the DOJ officials who oversaw Mueller and shared with Trump's defense team before he became Attorney General, Barr claimed that the president's powers to determine the conduct of law enforcement investigations, including those carried out by him Investigations, "no limits" are personally interested in.
Indeed, Trump's efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the now completed investigation in Russia are an integral part of Trump's earlier efforts to restrict and even halt the investigation during the ongoing investigation. One possible obstacle to the judiciary, and that Trump (with Barr's support) merely said he "defended himself."
Barr suggested to the Times that there simply is no problem if a president personally chooses who should not and should not be the subject of a criminal investigation, as long as the facts justify an investigation. But that goes completely wrong.
As the nation realized during the Watergate era, the president uses the federal government's apparatus to pick out and punish political or personal enemies by putting them at the center of law enforcement investigations, the perception (and reality) of Fairness on which our judicial system depends will be severely endangered.