DOJ inspector general should condemn Trump attacks on Mueller, DOJ, FBI

DOJ inspector general should condemn Trump attacks on Mueller, DOJ, FBI
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In the very near future, Michael Horowitz, the inspector general (IG) of the Department of Justice, will issue what may be the most important IG report in the history of the federal government.

It is very possible that whatever is concluded in the IG report, it will be misused by President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE to influence the midterm elections and execute a version of Richard Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre in a last-ditch attempt to destroy the investigation of Russian attacks against America by the Justice Department, the FBI and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

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What has happened during the course of the Mueller investigation, which the IG should clearly and unequivocally condemn, is an attempt by Trump and others working on his behalf to exert political pressure against Mueller, the Justice Department and FBI.

 

Trump repeatedly fired previous leaders of investigations. He repeatedly threatened senior officials at the Justice Department and FBI. He repeatedly attempted to influence and disrupt investigations by Mueller, the Justice Department and FBI.

He falsely accuses officials of the Justice Department and the FBI of committing criminal acts through what he falsely claims is a “Criminal Deep State” conspiracy against him. He attempted to intimidate the Justice Department into initiating false and malicious investigations and prosecutions of political opponents including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton‘Prosperity and peace’ is the winning Republican theme for midterms Mueller recommends Papadopoulos be sentenced to up to 6 months in prison Poll: Dem opponent leads Scott Walker by 5 points MORE, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president.

Since the president falsely accused the investigations of being led by Democrats who seek to influence the midterm elections, the IG should publicly state that this charge is false and that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller Watergate's John Dean: White House counsel is 'doing right' by cooperating with Mueller MORE, Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinFive things to know about Bruce Ohr, the DOJ official under fire from Trump Preet Bharara: ‘God bless the Deep State’ if it’s people who care about the law FBI chief: I'm trying to bring 'normalcy' in 'turbulent times' MORE, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Mueller are all Republicans who are conducting this investigation without a scintilla of partisan politics or political bias.

The magnitude of these attacks against the Justice Department, the FBI and the special counsel investigation, attempts to interfere with the administration of justice and destroy procedures that protect the rule of law and the repeated use of false statements in furtherance of these attacks are assaults on justice.

  • The partisan politicization of the Justice Department and the FBI that the president continues to pursue;
  • the defamatory allegation that institutions of justice are being run by Democrats who seek to help Democrats in the midterm elections;
  • the flagrant use of these attacks by the president to excite his base in support of Republicans in the midterm elections; and
  • his attempts to criminalize actions by Democratic opponents and investigations by law enforcement and counterintelligence agencies did not even occur during Richard Nixon’s darkest moments during his ill-fated presidency.

Given the history of the president of making egregiously false statements designed to discredit the investigations of the Russian attacks against America that a long list of law enforcement and counterintelligence agencies have warned about, the IG must understand that the probability is high that whatever he concludes will likely be misused to further undermine and potentially destroy the investigations by Mueller, the DOJ and the FBI.

Whatever the IG concludes, the release of his report will be a momentous, game-changing and potentially historic event.

At a time when democracy is under attack from a foreign power, when the rule of law is under attack from the White House, when our democratic system of checks and balances is under siege in Washington, Americans will soon learn whether the inspector general of the Department of Justice is part of the solution or part of the problem.  

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.