No matter how he ends up ever turning it into actual policy moves, the president has long made his anger with the nation’s justice system clear. He put that anger on full display yet again this week after, thanks in part to a reported referral from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the FBI raided the home, office, and hotel room of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
The Department of Justice has since confirmed that Cohen is the subject of a criminal investigation that has been proceeding for months.
In response to the president’s continued threatening belligerence offered in response to these allegations, a huge group of former employees of the Justice Department have banded together to sign a letter asserting their support for not just Robert Mueller but Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as well.
Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation last year, has faced his own rounds of criticism from the president. Besides his role in appointing Mueller, he also had a hand in the raids on Cohen this week, and he was also involved in the surveillance on former Trump associate Carter Page that has so attracted the ire of the president and his allies.
The former Justice Department officials defending Mueller and Rosenstein note in their letter that they have immense personal experience with the integrity of the agency that the president has spent so much time going after.
Thus, they continue:
‘We are therefore deeply disturbed by the attacks that have been levied against the good men and women of the Department. Not only is it an insult to their public service, but any attempt to corrupt or undermine the even-handed application of the rule of law threatens the foundation of our Republic.’
The president’s attacks on the Justice Department have taken a variety of forms in recent months. The most prominent among these is no doubt his tweets, which include a statement he put up just this Friday reading:
‘DOJ just issued the McCabe report – which is a total disaster. He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!’
He is speaking there of former FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is accused by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department of having misled them about his improper role in leaking information from inside to the press. (We all know how they feel about the press.)
He jumped from those already contentious allegations to seeming to refer to the entire Justice Department as a “den of thieves and lowlifes.” That already low blow is made ironic by the fact that the president has lied thousands upon thousands of times since taking office. In other words, if there is a den of thieves and lowlifes in Washington, D.C., his White House is certainly included.
Besides his incessant angry tweeting, the president has also been reported to be interested in firing both Mueller and Rosenstein. When pressed about the possibility of firing the special counsel by reporters recently, he gave a conspicuously noncommittal answer.
In that light, the Justice Department veterans defending Mueller and Rosenstein this weekend call on Congress to act should the president actually fire any of the key players in the Russia investigation.
‘[I]t is up to the rest of us, and especially our elected representatives, to come to their defense and oppose any attempt by the President or others to improperly interfere in the Department’s work, including by firing either Mr. Mueller, Mr. Rosenstein or other Department leadership or officials for the purpose of interfering in their investigations.’
Some members of Congress have introduced measures protecting Mueller from the president, but none of those have passed yet.
Read the Justice Department alumni’s full letter at this link.
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