Okay, it’s official. President Trump wants to upend 230 years of constitutional history and principle to run the U.S. justice system like a banana republic, or perhaps more aptly like what now passes for the rule of law in the country he aspires to emulate, the Russian Federation.
.. For months, Trump has been trying to divert attention from the walls closing in on his former campaign chairman, his former national security adviser and his own son Donald Trump Jr., who are caught up in the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Trump has practiced some of the favorite tactics of his role model Vladimir Putin, labeling any damaging revelation as “fake news” and practicing a refined form of “whataboutism.”.. The first line of defense against authoritarianism is an independent Justice Department committed to the rule of law. In 1940, Attorney General (and future Supreme Court Justice) Robert Jackson, in a famous speech to U.S. attorneys in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice warned that when “the prosecutor picks some person whom he dislikes or desires to embarrass, or selects some group of unpopular persons and then looks for an offense, that [is where] the greatest danger of abuse of prosecuting power lies. It is here that law enforcement becomes personal, and the real crime becomes that of being unpopular with the predominant or governing group.”