Washington, D.C., December 29, 2017 – As President Trump claims in a year-end interview with The New York Times that he has an “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” AFJ Goldfarb Fellow for Justice Bill Yeomans notes that Trump’s unceasing attacks on the integrity of our justice system threaten the rule of law itself – and must not be allowed to succeed. He writes in his latest post on Yeomans Work:
“The Constitution places the enormous power to prosecute in the executive branch of government…To cabin political influence, however, a series of norms and laws have been implemented to ensure that political considerations don’t drive law enforcement.
“One such norm is the erection of a wall between the White House and Justice Department that allows the president to set policy, but prevents him from launching investigations or prosecutions of individuals. A second is a requirement, enforced by custom, that investigators and prosecutors act in response to criminal conduct, rather than targeting an individual first and then looking for criminal actions. A society that allows the executive to employ criminal law as a weapon against opponents because they are opponents has abandoned the rule of law.”
Yeomans notes in his post that far from observing this “wall,” Trump has repeatedly acted to politicize the justice system. In addition, he writes that “nothing could be more dangerous” than one of the most recent developments on this front: demands of Republicans in Congress that the FBI be “purged” of personnel with political views in opposition to Trump.
Yeomans Work focuses on the challenges to the justice system in the era of Trump. Bill Yeomans is available for media interviews. Contact Laurie Kinney, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-464-7367.