Washington: One of President Trump’s biggest disappointments in office, by his own account, was discovering that he is not supposed to personally direct law enforcement decisions by the justice department and the FBI. So, instead, he has made himself into perhaps the most vocal critic of America’s system of justice ever to occupy the Oval Office.
Just this week, he denounced the criminal justice system as “a joke” and “a laughingstock”. He demanded that the suspect in the New York terrorist attack be executed. He spent Friday berating the justice department and FBI for not investigating his political opponents. He then turned to the military justice system and called a court-martial decision “a complete and total disgrace”.
The repeated assaults on law enforcement cross lines that Presidents have largely observed since the Watergate era, raising questions about the separation of politics and the law. But as extraordinary as Trump’s broadsides are, perhaps more striking is that investigators and prosecutors are so far ignoring the head of the executive branch in which they serve while military judges and juries are for the most part disregarding the opinions of their commander in chief.
“You know, the saddest thing is that because I’m the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the justice department,” Trump said in a radio interview on Thursday on the Larry O’Connor Show. “I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.”
That frustration has been fuelled particularly by Trump’s inability to control the special counsel investigation into whether his campaign coordinated with Russia during last year’s election, an investigation that unveiled its first criminal charges this week against Trump’s former campaign chairman and two other advisers.