Trump Would Love to Tell the DOJ What to Do

This is the type of thing I tend not to write about anymore because it feels like I’m beating a dead horse. By now, anyone who doesn’t know that the president doesn’t respect the norms and laws of his office simply doesn’t want to be convinced. But I commend Greg Sargent for spelling it out once again for the people in the back row who are hard of hearing.

In a new interview, President Trump once again telegraphed his desire to see the Justice Department investigate Hillary Clinton over the array of fake scandals that he and his allies have been talking about in recent weeks. But in this case, he went further than that. Asked by radio host Larry O’Connor about demands that the Justice Department probe those scandals, Trump openly stated his frustration with his inability to get the department to do his bidding in this regard…

What Trump said ought to be enough to invoke the 25th Amendment:

“The saddest thing is, because I am the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing. And I am very frustrated by that. I look at what’s happening with the Justice Department, why aren’t they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her dossier, and the kind of money — I don’t know, is it possible that they paid $12.4 million for the dossier, which is total phony, fake, fraud and how is it used?

“It’s very discouraging to me. I’ll be honest, I’m very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn’t going — maybe they are but you know as President, and I think you understand this, as a President you’re not supposed to be involved in that process. But hopefully they are doing something and at some point, maybe we are gonna all have it out.”

Clearly, Trump has internalized enough from his numerous attorneys to realize that he’s under scrutiny for obstructing justice precisely because a president isn’t supposed to tell the Justice Department what to do and who to investigate and who not to investigate. He’s certainly not supposed to fire the Director of the FBI in a naked and admitted attempt to shut down an investigation that involves himself.

But he’s doing everything he can, within these limitations, to provoke the Justice Department into launching an investigation of a former political opponent for no real reason other than he’s crazier than the drunk guy at the end of the bar.

And, of course, it would serve as a distraction from his own political woes.

This episode doesn’t teach us anything we should not have already known. But we can’t get so inured to this behavior in our president that it begins to pass without comment.

He isn’t fit to serve in his office, and he makes that clear every single day.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.