Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lashed out at--and got snapped back by--his own Attorney General.

Once again reacting emotionally to something he'd seen during his morning Fox News time, Trump tweeted out another attack on Jefferson Sessions:

For the record, the Justice Department's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, is indeed an "Obama guy." He's also a "George W. Bush guy," a "Clinton guy," and a "George H.W. Bush guy," having been appointed to federal offices by those presidents too.

It's possible that Trump is genuinely confused about why "an Obama guy" has any responsibility at all. Trump often seems to think that Sessions is his personal defense attorney, and that the Justice Department is his private police force. Sessions' failure to "protect" Trump by recusing himself from the criminal investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia's election sabotage infuriated Trump, and led to him demanding Sessions' resignation before cooler heads prevailed.

Trump tweet-ordered Sessions investigate "Dem crimes" last week, too. This time, though, Sessions immediately returned fire in a statement: “As long as I am the attorney general, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”

Why does this matter?

  • A president who can't even conceive of an independent, non-political justice system is unfit to lead it.
  • Selectively calling for your political enemies to be prosecuted is what authoritarians do.
  • It's a bad sign when a president needs to be spoken to like this by his own cabinet-level appointees.