At present, as President Donald Trump continues to face impeachment and other simultaneous investigations into his wide-ranging misconduct, he and his closest allies keep lashing out against those daring to investigate the corruption, including the dedicated public servants at the FBI and Justice Department in general who aren’t politically beholden to the president. Now, William Webster, who led both the FBI and the CIA, has spoken out harshly against the president’s brazen affronts to the rule of law in a bold new opinion piece for The New York Times. He insists that the partisan attacks on that rule of law pose a grave danger to the United States.
He served under presidents of both major parties including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and he indicates that he never felt the kind of political pressure that has come to define the current president’s relationship to the basic systems of government. Webster insists:
‘Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order are, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them… Every American should demand that our leaders put the rule of law above politics.’
There are many available examples of this assault on the independence of the judicial institutions meant to protect the rule of law and its application to all Americans. Just recently, after former FBI Director James Comey appeared on Fox News Sunday and admitted that there are problems with the process for obtaining court approval for surveilling Americans, Trump suggested that the former official (who he himself fired) should possibly face jail time. He did not even attempt to link this declaration to any actual crime — he simply proved to be rabidly after political retribution. That’s not normal!
‘I am deeply disturbed by the assertion of President Trump that our “current director” — as he refers to the man he selected for the job of running the F.B.I. — cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency… The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly. The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director are critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government.’
Webster also singled out Attorney General Bill Barr and Rudy Giuliani, whose past career includes stints as U.S. Attorney in New York and mayor of New York City and now serves as the president’s personal lawyer.
‘I know firsthand the professionalism of the men and women of the F.B.I. The aspersions cast upon them by the president and my longtime friend, Attorney General William P. Barr, are troubling in the extreme… I’m profoundly disappointed in another longtime, respected friend, Rudy Giuliani, who had spent his life defending our people from those who would do us harm. His activities of late concerning Ukraine have, at a minimum, failed the smell test of propriety. I hope he, like all of us, will redirect to our North Star, the rule of law, something so precious it is greater than any man or administration.’
Barr’s most recent affronts against the basic rule of law include his claim that the Russia investigation was founded on false, politically influenced pretenses, despite the complete lack of evidence supporting this claim. No matter their desperation, the investigations are continuing — and this week, Trump is set to become the third U.S. president to be impeached.