Saturday, June 17, 2017

Deconstructing Justice

What little we may have had.
The nation’s law enforcement agency is under siege, short-staffed because of delays in filling senior positions and increasingly at odds with a president who had already engaged in a monthslong feud with the government’s intelligence agencies.

Several current and former assistant United States attorneys described a sense of listlessness and uncertainty, with some expressing hesitation about pursuing new investigations, not knowing whether there would be an appetite for them once leadership was installed in each district after Mr. Trump fired dozens of United States attorneys who were Obama-era holdovers.


Inside the White House, those close to the president say he has continued to fume about the actions of Justice Department officials, his anger focused mostly on Mr. Rosenstein for appointing Mr. Mueller and on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime political ally whose decision to recuse himself from the Russia case in March enraged Mr. Trump.

I used to wonder why that made him so angry, but after I saw Sessions' testimony I understood. Sessions was one person Trump was sure he could get "loyalty" from and get to do his bidding.
An impatient New Yorker by nature, Mr. Trump has been unable in his first months in office to bend Washington to his “you’re fired!” ways.
Not from lack of trying.
He is frustrated, friends say, and unsure what to do — apart from tweeting, which he views as the most direct and effective way of defending himself and venting his anger.
And cutting off his nose to spite his face.
By Friday morning, his focus was on Mr. Rosenstein, though the president never used his name, and his tweet[*] oversimplified and misstated the truth. Mr. Rosenstein is supervising the investigation, not conducting it. And Mr. Trump has said he decided to fire Mr. Comey before he received Mr. Rosenstein’s memo.
*The tweet:

Mr. Trump has repeatedly pushed top intelligence officials to exonerate him publicly.


Mr. Trump’s tweet, demonstrated the political pressure on the deputy attorney general as the department pursues the Russia probe.

“If the president thinks he can fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will shut down the investigation, he’s in for a rude awakening,” [Dianne Feinstein] said in a statement. “Even his staunchest supporters will balk at such a blatant effort to subvert the law.”
Well, I think she's wrong about that last part.
People close to the president say he is in a firing frame of mind but feels blocked from carrying out such a move because of the potential political damage.
It's good he's at least got that much sense.
While he has left open the possibility of dismissing Mr. Mueller and began considering it shortly after the special counsel was appointed last month, the president’s anger has been largely trained on Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein, whom he views less as executors of law than as salaried staff.
And by "salaried staff" you mean "servants". He views everybody that way.
On Friday morning, Mr. Rosenstein reacted in public with the calm of a career prosecutor who had spent nearly three decades in government.

Within an hour of Mr. Trump’s tweet, he addressed a crowd of several hundred people in the Justice Department’s great hall, shaking the hands of 175 government employees, a majority of them assistant federal prosecutors from around the country who had won awards for their work over the past year, including drug and human trafficking prosecutions.


At a congressional hearing this week, Mr. Rosenstein issued a modest declaration of independence, testifying that he was the only person who had the ability to fire Mr. Mueller. And he made plain that his actions would not be dictated by the president.


Mr. Trump has a different view of the chain of command, aides said, but he also knows that he cannot afford to fire Mr. Rosenstein without prompting a massive backlash on Capitol Hill, even among Republicans. But the deputy attorney general, who would have to sign off on Mr. Mueller’s firing, has become a favorite target for Mr. Trump in conversations with advisers and friends.
Who all seem all too happy to leak it.  OK by me.

Trump should be happy James Comey isn't getting any more attention, and  I expect he is.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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