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Jack Goldsmith @jacklgoldsmith
, 5 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
What NYT presents as an ominous development—"one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies”—is really another story about how weak Trump is.…
It's not news that Trump wants DOJ to investigate or prosecute Clinton or Comey. He's long expressed that opinion on Twitter and elsewhere. The tiny bit of news in the story is about how Trump’s own WH Counsel, and the FBI and DOJ run by his appointees, rebuffed him yet again.
The NYT worries that w/ Whitaker in charge and McGahn gone, Trump can finally get his way. But even if Whitaker wanted to satisfy the President, I doubt he could succeed.
DOJ norms and culture and rules, plus the political backlash, would thwart any such effort, just as it has thwarted every similar effort to date.
The President has nearly complete formal authority over DOJ. But the remarkable lesson of the last 2 years is that Trump nonetheless has practically no effective authority to use these tools to harm his political enemies. When it comes to using DOJ, Trump is incompetent and weak.
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