Trump frustrated he can’t order the Justice Department around

President Trump he is frustrated but sort of acknowledges that he shouldn’t get involved in what the US Justice Department and FBI do, but he still seems unable to resist. He has been particularly prominent in commenting about the investigation of his own campaign.

It’s sad that the President even thinks of being able to demand and dictate to justice organisations.

@BengaminWittes:

I’ve been thinking about these comments Trump made. What a fabulous tribute they are to the men and women of the DOJ and the FBI!

The tribute is, of course, inadvertent: Trump doesn’t understand the statement he is making about independent law enforcement. But let’s unpack it for a moment.

The President is saying that he would like to interfere in ongoing investigations. He is saying that he would like to order up investigations of his political opponents. He is announcing that he is a corrupt actor who does not believe in the rule of law.

He is a man who is capable of firing his FBI Director because he will not aid him in these endeavours and to threaten his Attorney General and his Deputy Attorney General and the special counsel over the inconveniences they pose him.

Even as I type this, he is tweeting about how DOJ should be investigating Clinton. (For example: )

In these comments, he is announcing frankly how badly he wants to corrupt the Department of Justice.

And yet, he is “frustrated.” Why? It’s not because of Jim Comey. He got rid of Jim Comey. It’s not because of Sessions or Rosenstein. Lordy knows they have not shrouded themselves in glory.

It’s because the norm of independent law enforcement—which he is menacing—is actually strong enough to constrain him—at least right now.

It’s strong enough that he can fulminate all he wants about investigating Clinton and still Mueller does his job, and the FBI does its job, and the men and women of the DOJ do their jobs, and none of their jobs, as our democratic polity has determined them, is to fulfill his undemocratic ambitions to loose investigators on people he doesn’t like and to have the Justice Department protect him.

It’s a stunning statement of presidential constraint: A president actually saying that he aspires to corrupt interference with law enforcement and can’t pull it off. Let it warm your heart. It sure warms mine.

But the attempts at interference continue.

 

Just now:

More than eight years after Bergdahl walked off his base in Afghanistan — and unwittingly into the clutches of the Taliban — Bergdahl walked out of a North Carolina courtroom a free man Friday. Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades, was fined, reduced in rank to E1 and dishonorably discharged — but he received no prison time.

Prosecutors had requested a 14-year prison term following a week of emotional testimony from the survivors who were wounded during missions to find Bergdahl after he left the base in June 2009. Bergdahl’s defense team has asked for no prison time.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys argued that Bergdahl already had suffered enough confinement during five years of brutal captivity by Taliban allies. They asked the judge for a dishonorable discharge and no prison time.

Their argument for leniency also cited harsh campaign-trail criticism by Donald Trump and Bergdahl’s mental disorders.

The 31-year-old soldier from Hailey, Idaho, was brought home by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Obama said at the time that the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield.

Republicans roundly criticized Obama, and Trump went further while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a traitor who deserved death.

So Trump has been trying to interfere in this case since before he was president. He is still doing it as Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.

Because US justice officials appear to refuse to be influenced by Trump it is just futile posturing, but it’s a piss poor look for a President.

Bernie Sanders gets it. First he gets a swipe from Trump.

But he responded:

Bernie gets it. I don’t know whether it is deliberate attempts at distraction by trump, or that he is easily distracted from his job, but one could legitimately question who the crazy one is.

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44 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  November 4, 2017

    And yet no doubt there’ll be many who would contend that Carter was a worse president than Trump.

  2. David

     /  November 4, 2017

    They are just words that his opponents are fixated upon and they are just words from the most open President we have seen in modern times, actions the President has taken to usurp the independence of the FBI and DOJ..none. This is a ratings game played by Trump and the media who both benefit enormously from it.
    Trump is quite refreshing in that he says exactly what is on his mind, is often on the same page as the average American and it marks the end of the endless spin characterised by Blair/Obama/Cameron/Hollande et al.
    Hilary and Obama actually did interfere with the FBI and DOJ but there is less coverage about that sordid little incident.

    • “is often on the same page as the average American”

      His approval rating suggests otherwise. It is currently about 56% disapproval, 39% approval, near record negative.
      https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_trump_job_approval-6179.html

    • Gezza

       /  November 4, 2017

      How the hell is saying what’s on his mind a virtue when sometimes it’s bullshit, other times it’s twaddle and other times it’s just plain nuts?

      • Gezza

         /  November 4, 2017

        * sorry – missed a couple – .. . and other times it’s fake news, other times it’s just egotistical boasting, other times it’s jingoistic shouting & other times it’s just “poor me” whinging?

        • David

           /  November 4, 2017

          Twaddle, bullshit, plain nuts. Why actually hearing what a politician actually thinks gets your knickers in a bunch probably calls for some self analysis. Step away from indoctrination from your Al Jazeera and take a quick squizz at the way american government works, the players involved in it and that your average american hasnt had a pay rise in 9 years, their health insurance costs are through the roof etc etc and you may start to see the appeal of Trump.
          25% of black americans under 30 are in jail or the justice system, 90% of paint sold in the US is made by prison labour, 500 young black men will be shot and killed in Chicago this year, the average american gets 12 days annual leave, there are no employment protections, no maternity leave etc etc etc. Obama will be remembered as the biggest let down in American history and your average American gives not one shit if Trumps tweets are a bit fruity because the lives of those that vote Trump and live in the middle of America have gone backwards for 20 years.

          • Gezza

             /  November 4, 2017

            Yaw average American spends hours at Grid Iron & baseball games for reason other than that his or her tv suggests that they should. Most of them don’t know where Idaho is, & that includes half of the population of Idaho. Only 2% of them have a passport, & of those most of them think think that New Zealand is right next door to Botswana, (although to be fair their Geography whizzes think we’re Tasmania) & that Palestine is where Bibles used to be manufactured before Jesus came along, looking for something better to do with his life than carpentry. Yaw notion that because Obama was almost as big a disappointment as that peanut farmer (did you know that peanuts are also colloquially known as monkey nuts?) replacing him with a fruit cake is an improvement cuts no ice in this whare. I only ever pay close attention to Aljazeera when Maryam or Felicity or Kirsty or Dareen are presenting.

            • Gezza

               /  November 4, 2017

              *1 sentence should say “… for NO reason other than that…”
              (Sorry. I fell down due to never sleeping and have only just come round.)

            • Gezza

               /  November 4, 2017

              Aha! Only just noticed. Been outside, checking on the estate. Full moon tonite. Stunner. No wonder the Trump supporters are out.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  November 4, 2017

      David’s comments supporting trump are evidence of the “epistemic struggle” going on in the US today, as Vox describes it:

      a split not just in what we value or want, but in who we trust, how we come to know things, and what we believe we know — what we believe exists, is true, has happened and is happening.

      The primary source of this breach, to make a long story short, is the US conservative movement’s rejection of the mainstream institutions devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge (journalism, science, the academy) — the ones society has appointed as referees in matters of factual dispute.

      In their place, the right has created its own parallel set of institutions, most notably its own media ecosystem. But the right’s institutions are not of the same kind as the ones they seek to displace.

      Instead, Vox contends that an explosion of right-wing media in the ’90’s and 2000’s has given the loudest voice, the most exposure, and the most power to the most extreme elements on the right:

      they conclude, “conservative media is more partisan and more insular than the left.” {‘They’ being Harvard researchers]. That insular partisan far-right media is also full of nonsense like Pizzagate that leaves the base continuously pumped up — outraged, infuriated, terrified, and misled.

      As always, the goal of this media/political offensive (there is no longer much distinction) is less to present some coherent alternative account of the facts than to fill the atmosphere with fog, to give those on the right enough cover to slough off the charges as yet another liberal plot. …

      This reaction to Mueller in right-wing media was predictable enough. Similar things have happened so many times before, and been studied, analyzed, and documented. But to this day, no one knows how to stop or counter it. Mainstream institutions seem as unable as ever to resist its warping effects. It’s all playing out like some morbid script that we can only watch, stupefied.

      As David’s comments (and those of others like Alan and Corky) demonstrate, if one side rejects the epistemic authority of society’s core institutions and practices, we’re left with nothing. Truth can’t speak for itself. It can only speak through human institutions and practices, and when facts and persuasion don’t matter any more. All that’s left is a raw contest of power.

      Donald Trump has the power to hold on to the presidency, as long as elected Republicans, cowed by the conservative base, support him. That is true almost regardless of what he’s done or what’s proven by Mueller. As long as he has that power, he will exercise it. That’s what recent history seems to show.

      Democrats do not currently have the numbers to stop him. They can’t do it without some help from Republicans. And Republicans seem incapable, not only of acting on what Mueller knows, but of even coming to know it.

      Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe US institutions have more life in them than I think. But at this point, it’s just very difficult to imagine anything that could bridge the epistemic gulf between America’s tribes. We are split in two, living in different worlds, with different stories and facts shaping our lives. We no longer learn or know things together, as a country, so we can no longer act together, as a country.

      So we may just have to live with a president indicted for collusion with a foreign power.

      https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/2/16588964/america-epistemic-crisis

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 4, 2017

        A lot of words that boil down to saying you don’t like Trump. We know. We don’t care.

      • David

         /  November 4, 2017

        The new word of the week children is “epistemic” and if you can slot it into a sentence then the actual meaningless nonsense elsewhere wont matter because you will be cloaked in the superiority from using a long word.

      • Fight4NZ

         /  November 4, 2017

        Thanks Joe. Very refreshing to see something so thorough, informative and accurate.

  3. George

     /  November 4, 2017

    The President of the US is still a taxpaying private citizen who is permitted to have an opinion.
    Or are the fake news and social justice warriors sole arbitrators of the freedom of speech ?

    • Gezza

       /  November 4, 2017

      Of course they aren’t. And neither is he!

    • Patzcuaro

       /  November 4, 2017

      Is the POTUS actually a private citizen during the term of his presidency? A “private citizen” can say or do what he likes within societies boundaries without much consequence. In my view the POTUS gives up the luxury of being a “private citizen” during the term of his presidency and to a degree afterwards. What he says or does has consequences far beyond that of a “private citizen”, with great power comes great responsibility.

      • I agree. A private citizen might write these things in a letter to the editor, but the president should not be seen to be trying to force their will on government departments; that’s called dictatorship.

        He cannot order juries to think in a particular way and appoint himself judge, jury and executioner. Sorry, Trump, the days of lynch mobs are over. I hope.

  4. David

     /  November 4, 2017

    Bergdahl Is a deserter, he should have served a long prison sentence.

    • artcroft

       /  November 4, 2017

      [Deleted personal swipe. PG]

      • Corky

         /  November 4, 2017

        [Deleted.]

      • artcroft

         /  November 4, 2017

        Apologies.

        • Gezza

           /  November 4, 2017

          Sorry I missed Corky’s. I was outside lifting a sod of lawn (where the fejoa tree used to be) which had sunk, so I could put more dirt under it. Sorted now.

  5. David

     /  November 4, 2017

    The funny thing being that Hillary really did rig the election, and now Bernie owns the DNC…

  6. Corker versus trump, continued…

    • David

       /  November 4, 2017

      A bit rich given Holder was never shy about being Obama’s ‘wingman’.

  7. Patzcuaro

     /  November 4, 2017

    Donald “Look@Them” Trump

  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 4, 2017
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  November 4, 2017

      Yeah, whatever…emails, uranium, Podesta, servers… there I’ve sorted out your daily does of what-aboutism for you… To use Sen Warren’s words: “The DNC shouldn’t play favorites. But that’s a whole lot different from illegally conspiring with Russia. The FBI knows the difference.”

      Meanwhile trump commits yet another impeachable offense
      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/11/president_trump_committed_another_impeachable_offense_on_friday.html

      Sessions is under fire (again) as new revelations cast further doubt on his Russia testimony
      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/11/jeff-sessions-under-fire-as-new-revelations-cast-further-doubt-on-his-russia-testimony/

      Manafort, who has been mining a rich tradition of corruption, wealth and power, is finally ensnared, because of his fateful relationship with trump
      https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/03/panic-on-k-street-the-fall-of-paul-manafort/

      Scott Pruitt continues to sabotage science at the EPA
      https://newrepublic.com/article/145631/scott-pruitts-plot-sabotage-science-epa

      And then there are the investigations, law suits, and other inquiries:
      – against trump for violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution by running his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
      – against Flynn, for undisclosed lobbying work done on behalf of the Turkish government
      – against Kushner, for failing to disclose $1 billion in loans tied to his real-estate company
      – against at least six Cabinet heads being investigated for or asked about exorbitant travel expenses, security details or business dealings.
      https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/trump-administration-most-corrupt-american-history

      the political crooks are not in the WH? Bullshit on that spin.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 4, 2017

        Accusations: 10**n. Convictions: 0.
        = b.s.

      • David

         /  November 4, 2017

        Jo have you actually been there and talked to an American that is not from California or the East Coast. Trump won by winning the blue collar working class vote from the Democrats and his support hasnt changed in that group and that should be borne in mind when you go linking to articles written by young graduate snowflakes writing for minority interest websites.

    • Patzcuaro

       /  November 4, 2017

      Deflection what about them

    • Patzcuaro

       /  November 4, 2017

      @Alan Trump won the Presidency he ran for office and won Clinton lost and is history. You can’t keep blaming the loser for what is happening.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 4, 2017

        I’m not blaming Clinton for what is happening, only for what she did.

        • Patzcuaro

           /  November 4, 2017

          But are you blaming Clinton to deflect attention from Trump.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  November 4, 2017

            No, just to relieve the tedious boredom of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

            • Patzcuaro

               /  November 4, 2017

              Are the symptoms similar to Key Derangement Syndrome? The worst of KDS seems to have past, a new panacea has been developed called Jacinda mania

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 4, 2017

              The symptoms are KDS on steroids. Sufferers must write/read or publish at least ten articles per day telling the world why Trump is terrible/dangerous/mad/ludicrous – or preferably all of those. Jacinda mania epidemic is on the downhill slide now. I think there will be just isolated cases remaining in a year or so.

          • David

             /  November 4, 2017

            Pitzacaro If you want to condemn Trump because of unproven speculation that bizzarely Russia influenced how 200 million americans voted because they spent 100k on facebook adverts then you probably need to ask why Billy Clinton was paid $500,000 to do a 1 hour speech to a Russian bank and explain the 145 million russian donation to the clinton foundation.

            • Patzcuaro

               /  November 4, 2017

              Francisco Pizzaro Gonzalez was a fore runner of Trump, he conquered ad looted the Inca Empire.

  1. Trump frustrated he can’t order the Justice Department around — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition