Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Swamp Creatures and Their Enablers

 

I’ve been very troubled by the Roger Stone case, but I’m only mildly concerned about the specific details of the case. The truly troubling aspect is the idea, widely bandied about in the media, that the President does not have the “legal right” to “interfere” in a criminal prosecution.

Here is what the President actually tweeted:

“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!

This is an obviously true statement of the law, and of the Constitutional power of the President under our Constitution. Yet many people seem to object. Here are a few examples:

“Emboldened, Trump defends right to interfere in criminal cases.” Reuters.

“Trump claims he has ‘legal right’ to meddle with DOJ but former officials say it would be a ‘grossly improper’ abuse of power.” Newsweek.

“Trump defends ‘legal right’ to interfere in criminal cases.” MSN.

“Trump contradicts Barr, says he has ‘the legal right’ to ask for criminal case interference.” Forbes.

“Trump says on Twitter he has right to interfere in criminal cases after Barr criticizes president’s tweets.” CNBC.

“Trump insists he has ‘legal right’ to intervene in DOJ cases, but has chosen not to.” Fox News — yes, even Fox News.

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the Swamp and its enablers in the media.

I find the proposition that it is improper for the President to “interfere” with the DoJ to be absolutely absurd. The President didn’t claim a legal right to interfere in the actions of a DoJ prosecutor in a criminal case. He claimed the legal right to control his employees who are exercising his authority.

I’ve been troubled by this for several days. I was prompted to write this post when I looked at the latest Economist/YouGov poll, intending to analyze the President’s approval ratings, and found the question: “Do you think Donald Trump has the legal right to intervene in criminal cases being investigated in the Department of Justice.” The result was 51% no, 25% yes, 24% not sure. In fairness, 99% of respondents probably should have said “not sure,” as this may be a somewhat complicated question of Constitutional law.

But no, it’s actually not complicated. You see, the President is in charge of the executive branch. He’s the boss. The buck stops on that desk. That includes the bucks passing through the DoJ. There is no such thing as permissible executive authority that is outside the control of the President.

The Supreme Court decided this issue in 2009 in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. The Board at issue had regulatory and disciplinary authority over every accounting firm that audited public companies. Members of the Board were appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The problem presented by the case was the lack of Presidential control over the Board, as: (1) Board members were appointed by the SEC and could only be removed by the SEC for good cause; and (2) the President cannot remove the Commissioners of the SEC except for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”

In a 5-4 decision, the Court held that the lack of Presidential control over the Board was unconstitutional because the executive power is vested in the President and control of executive officers cannot be taken away from the President. Here are some key excerpts from the majority opinion by Chief Justice Roberts:

The President cannot “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” if he cannot oversee the faithfulness of the officers who execute them. Here the President cannot remove an officer who enjoys more than one level of good-cause protection, even if the President determines that the officer is neglecting his duties or discharging them improperly. That judgment is instead committed to another officer, who may or may not agree with the President’s determination, and whom the President cannot remove simply because that officer disagrees with him. This contravenes the President’s “constitutional obligation to ensure the faithful execution of the laws.” Id., at 693.

.

The President has been given the power to oversee executive officers; he is not limited, as in Harry Truman’s lament, to “persuad[ing]” his unelected subordinates “to do what they ought to do without persuasion.” Post, at 11 (internal quotation marks omitted). In its pursuit of a “workable government,” Congress cannot reduce the Chief Magistrate to a cajoler-in-chief.

. . .

The Constitution that makes the President accountable to the people for executing the laws also gives him the power to do so. That power includes, as a general matter, the authority to remove those who assist him in carrying out his duties. Without such power, the President could not be held fully accountable for discharging his own responsibilities; the buck would stop somewhere else. Such diffusion of authority “would greatly diminish the intended and necessary responsibility of the chief magistrate himself.” The Federalist No. 70, at 478.

Every single prosecutor in the DOJ is exercising authority delegated from the President. The President has the right to control the actions of those prosecutors.

Don’t just take my word for it or the word of the Supreme Court. Here are the words of Benjamin Wittes, founder of the Lawfare blog, Research Director in Public Law at the Brookings Institution, and Co-Director of the Harvard Law School-Brookings Project on Law and Security. Mr. Wittes is no friend of the President, having written a book titled Unmaking the Presidency: Donald Trump’s War on the World’s Mots Powerful Office. He co-authored an article at the Lawfare blog stating that the President’s actions regarding the Roger Stone case were “[c]orruption in the justice system.”

But Wittes has written other articles, apparently not contemplating that he would later want to complain that a perfectly valid exercise of Presidential authority was “corruption.” In an article in the Atlantic in June 2018, addressing the challenges in the obstruction of justice charge then being investigated by the Mueller team, Wittes wrote:

So yes, the president’s lawyers are correct when they argue that the president is the executive branch, so presidential obstruction of justice might produce the tautology of the president’s obstructing himself. The Justice Department and the FBI are merely arms of the president, after all.

Exactly. It might be nice if Wittes told this to the media.

People don’t seem to think things through. They are concerned about fairness in the administration of justice, and rightly so. There can be unfair, politically motivated prosecutions. There can be unfair, politically motivated decisions not to prosecute. Someone has to have the discretion to decide whether or not to proceed.

What people don’t seem to understand is that the choice is not between some perfectly neutral arbiter and the current occupant of the Oval Office. The choice is between the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats and the duly elected President.

The alternative is the Swamp. If we needed the lesson, the past few years have given us ample reason to doubt that DoJ employees are free of political or personal bias. This is not a condemnation of them. It is a fact of human nature.

Our system deals with this problem by making prosecutors accountable to the President and making the President accountable to the people. The alternative, quite frankly, is tyranny.

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  1. Mark Camp Member

    I am not a lawyer, but my sense as a citizen is that in our system of government, our laws are supreme over our elected prosecutors, even the chief prosecutor. They have to follow our judicial traditions.

    The laws limiting the powers of the Executive officials in enforcing laws in the Courts are not administered by them, according to their whims, but by the judges.

    • #1
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:02 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  2. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Outstanding post! The remedy Congress has if it believes the President is abusing his executive powers in this area is impeachment.

    • #2
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:03 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  3. Bob Thompson Member

    You have this exactly right, Jerry. Knowledge of the Constitution is not going around, you know, so when folks are asked questions that depend on that, they don’t do very well. Think about it this way, we have witnessed so-called ‘prosecutorial discretion’ in the extreme since Trump has been POTUS. Witness all the FBI executives who have not had charges preferred and then look at Trump supporters like Flynn, Stone, and K.T. McFarland. All that authority exercised is under the direction of the President. It’s not complicated.

    • #3
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:05 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Paul Dougherty Member

    In a practical sense, it kinda ups the anti for people “working” for Presidential candidates. You can do whatever you want but you had better be sure your patron gets elected. Nothing is out of bounds, really, because it is in the country’s interest that the President be elected (or re-elected) or so we have learned from that sham impeachment.

    • #4
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:11 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. The Reticulator Member

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Outstanding post! The remedy Congress has if it believes the President is abusing his executive powers in this area is impeachment.

    I agree. It’s a great post. How can I tell? Because I agree with everything in it. Except I’m jealous that Mr. Giordano explained it better than my feeble attempts to do so (mostly during a previous administration). 

     

    • #5
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:20 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. Bob Thompson Member

    Paul Dougherty (View Comment):
    In a practical sense, it kinda ups the anti for people “working” for Presidential candidates.

    The Hillary Clinton team was all in to include the bureaucracy and that last part is really what we call the ‘deep swamp’. Easy enough to at least get the political appointees out of the power positions, not so with the embedded bureaucrats.

    • #6
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:20 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Easy enough to at least get the political appointees out of the power positions, not so with the embedded bureaucrats.

     The latest budget deal made it even harder.

    • #7
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:36 PM PST
    • Like
  8. PHCheese Member

    I saw Senator Mike Lee say exactly what you say on Fox yesterday.

    • #8
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:39 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Outstanding post! The remedy Congress has if it believes the President is abusing his executive powers in this area is impeachment.

    I agree. It’s a great post. How can I tell? Because I agree with everything in it. Except I’m jealous that Mr. Giordano explained it better than my feeble attempts to do so (mostly during a previous administration).

     

    My thoughts exactly. 

    Also, if we take away and of the President’s powers and authority as enumerated in the Constitution to whom do you give them, and on what basis?

    • #9
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:52 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Of course the flip side to this is it works much better for a Democratic than Republican president because the embedded employees at DOJ and the law enforcement agencies tilt (and at DOJ tilt strongly) towards the Dems. 

    • #10
    • February 20, 2020, at 5:59 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  11. Bob Thompson Member

    I hope Richard Grenell’s move to be Director of National Intelligence is an indicator that Trump is going to more direct solutions to dealing with the swamp creatures by using his executive authority.

    • #11
    • February 20, 2020, at 6:05 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    So, are 75% of people ignorant or do they have TDS? The breakdown at the link (thanks for providing that), shows that younger people are lacking in civics education. We need to bring back civics and also run PSAs for 30 years to teach people. Maybe Google can do popups and overlays to teach people civics instead of promoting climate alarmism…

    • #12
    • February 20, 2020, at 6:14 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I am not a lawyer, but my sense as a citizen is that in our system of government, our laws are supreme over our elected prosecutors, even the chief prosecutor. They have to follow our judicial traditions.

    The laws limiting the powers of the Executive officials in enforcing laws in the Courts are not administered by them, according to their whims, but by the judges.

    Mark, good point. The specific issue is prosecutorial discretion.

    I’ve never been a prosecutor myself, but I know enough about the business to understand that prosecutors have discretion in a wide variety of areas, and have to make judgment calls all the time. For example, they have to decide whether they have enough evidence to go forward with a case; they have to decide whether it is worthwhile to pursue a case, even if they have sufficient evidence, in light of other available remedies; they have to decide what specific charges to make; and they have to make sentencing recommendations.

    These are all executive functions. Neither the judiciary nor the legislature are allowed to interfere with these functions, any more than the executive could interfere with a judge’s actions, or could define crimes without a law passed by Congress.

    In carrying out these executive functions, prosecutors at the DoJ are acting as agents of the President, exercising power delegated to them by the President. He is the boss, they are the employees. He gets to tell them what to do.

    In most cases, it is more politically prudent for a President to leave ordinary prosecutions to the regular process. But he certainly has the right to intervene.

    I didn’t make this point in my original post, but one of the issues addressed in the Horowitz report (on the original Russia/Trump campaign investigation) was the decision by the FBI and DoJ to open the counterintelligence investigation that led to the wrongful Carter Page FISA warrants. There was no policy preventing low-level FBI/DoJ personnel from opening such an investigation, even in circumstances as delicate as the surveillance of a Presidential campaign. One of the Horowitz report’s recommendations was to require high-level approval of any such investigation.

    Thus, it is sometimes important for decisions in DoJ cases to be made at a high level. I think that this includes the Presidential level, as the President is the ultimate authority in the executive branch.

    I’m not sure what you mean by your last sentence. We’re not talking about a situation in which, for example, the President were to order a prosecutor to do something illegal. We’re talking about the President’s right to direct his employees in the performance of their proper executive functions.

    • #13
    • February 20, 2020, at 6:16 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  14. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    I saw Senator Mike Lee say exactly what you say on Fox yesterday.

    Cool. Here’s the link.

    Being on the same side as Sen. Lee is pretty good evidence that you’re right. He’s very rarely wrong. In fact, as far as I’ve been able to tell, he’s only ever wrong when he disagrees with me. :)

    • #14
    • February 20, 2020, at 6:25 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    So, are 75% of people ignorant or do they have TDS? The breakdown at the link (thanks for providing that), shows that younger people are lacking in civics education. We need to bring back civics and also run PSAs for 30 years to teach people. Maybe Google can do popups and overlays to teach people civics instead of promoting climate alarmism…

    I suspect that most people are ignorant on this point, and that quite a few of the 25% who got the answer right didn’t really understand the issue.

    The results were pretty partisan. 53% of Republicans thought that Donald Trump has the legal right to intervene in criminal cases being investigated by the DoJ, with 18% saying he did not and 29% not sure. Among Democrats, 7% said that he had the right, 80% said that he did not, and 13% were not sure.

    So the Democrats were overwhelmingly wrong, with very little doubt. The Republicans were mostly correct, with a goodly number saying that they weren’t sure, and only a few getting it wrong.

    My suspicion, however, is that if the question was presented 4 years ago, and “Barack Obama” substituted for “Donald Trump,” the result would have been the opposite.

    • #15
    • February 20, 2020, at 7:05 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  16. Rodin Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    The laws limiting the powers of the Executive officials in enforcing laws in the Courts are not administered by them, according to their whims, but by the judges.

    That works only with “originalist” judges. Judges that see the Constitution as a means of imposing their personal preferences on the Executive, then not so much.

    • #16
    • February 20, 2020, at 8:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. JennaStocker Member

    Great post! Perfect encapsulation of the swamp. I find it both mind-boggling and humorous that only in these twisted political times TDS loonies’ head space is rented out to Trump for free. And his far off the deep end they’ve gone when any move by President Trump to maintain his policies or agenda by hiring -or firing whom he sees fit is tantamount to cronyism at best and evidence of impeachable, conspiratorial guilt at worst. Now if Obama or any other democrat golden child does it, it’s a smart move, a necessary step in enacting proper governance. And any criticism must be pure bigotry, natch.

    • #17
    • February 20, 2020, at 9:32 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    So, are 75% of people ignorant or do they have TDS? The breakdown at the link (thanks for providing that), shows that younger people are lacking in civics education. We need to bring back civics and also run PSAs for 30 years to teach people. Maybe Google can do popups and overlays to teach people civics instead of promoting climate alarmism…

    Hmm, at least here on Ricochet, when someone mentions being skeptical of climate alarmism, there are no pop ups (as yet) from google, you tube or Fb editors letting us know that the global alarmists are right.

    • #18
    • February 21, 2020, at 12:14 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  19. Stad Thatcher

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My suspicion, however, is that if the question was presented 4 years ago, and “Barack Obama” substituted for “Donald Trump,” the result would have been the opposite.

    Especially if it was about the dismissal of charges against the New Black Pantyhers and their intimidation of white voters in Philly . . .

    • #19
    • February 21, 2020, at 5:19 AM PST
    • Like
  20. EHerring Coolidge

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    Outstanding post! The remedy Congress has if it believes the President is abusing his executive powers in this area is impeachment.

    As we have seen, Congress can exercise this power irresponsibly, also. The babbling buffoons in the media are enabling and encouraging the very abuses they accuse Trump of engaging in.

    • #20
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    In carrying out these executive functions, prosecutors at the DoJ are acting as agents of the President, exercising power delegated to them by the President. He is the boss, they are the employees. He gets to tell them what to do.

    Soros linked funders and Bloomberg are spending big money to get “progressive” DAs elected to state and local offices nationwide. Regardless of the governor or mayor, they have tremendous power to shape the everyday lives of millions of people. Their prosecutorial discretion has a quasi-legislative effect by establishing precedent. They either amplify the power of a Leftist mayor or governor and a Leftist legislator, or they subvert one who is more moderate.

    Either way, they sow chaos that is intended to make people think “we need the state to save us.”

    • #21
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. EHerring Coolidge

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I hope Richard Grenell’s move to be Director of National Intelligence is an indicator that Trump is going to more direct solutions to dealing with the swamp creatures by using his executive authority.

    With the appointment of Patel at his side, many in the deep state had to boost their Depends stock. Remember, we have Nunes to thank and the Dems would have added him to the list of those accused and interviewed by the FBI, if they could have. (Patel was a Nunes team member)

    • #22
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:34 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Old Bathos Moderator

    The word “interfere” in the poll question is biased. It is just SOP for the MSM.

    Judges hate, hate, hate having matters before them tried outside in the competing court of public opinion (for substantive as well as personal reasons) and will usually take it out on lawyers who do that. Barr instinctively recoils at having the matters he is delicately working on appear in Twitter rants by his boss. Also, keep in mind that the “non-partisan” regular staff in the DOJ is largely lefty now so media leaks and sabotage are risks. Barr would prefer to keep things closer to the vest. 

    The biggest reason why the 2020 election is important is that four more years of Donald and Mitch doing judicial appointments would shape the federal courts from top to bottom for decades, reduce the opportunities for bright young lefties to get clerkships and entree into the higher legal realms, make judge-shopping harder for partisan litigants and change the legal culture that encourages hunting GOP figures for sport while protecting connected-establishment types and hard lefties.

    Stone is an unappealing fellow who behaved stupidly. I am reluctant to circle the wagons around him as much as I hate the Mueller Miscarriage.

    However, his sentence and the vicious prosecutions of Flynn and Papadopoulos (all done supposedly in the name of rule of law and respect for process) was done by the same people who provided cover for the Hillary Seleazefest, McCabe and Comey and the bevy of Democrats who fed at the same trough as Manafort in Ukraine. That sticks in the craw. The silver lining is that the double standard has never been more obvious.

    Because these people (and their media cheer squad) are unprincipled they will have the chutzpah (or is it total lack of self-awareness?) to scream that any unraveling or criticism of their partisan antics and abuse must be –drum roll, please–a partisan abuse of process.

     

    • #23
    • February 21, 2020, at 6:57 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  24. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My suspicion, however, is that if the question was presented 4 years ago, and “Barack Obama” substituted for “Donald Trump,” the result would have been the opposite.

    That might be true, but we’d never have known because Obama wasn’t directing prosecutors to go easier on his political allies — he was directing allies not to enforce the law at all!

    • #24
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:10 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Now that this post was promoted to the main feed, I should make an additional point.

    Calling DoJ employees the “Swamp” and “unelected bureaucrats” is a bit tough on them. I believe that most of them are generally fine people — reasonably hard-working, dedicated, and typically doing their best to administer justice impartially. There are Swamp Creatures, who have been much in the news of late.

    The problem is twofold: (1) you can’t run a large organization without a bureaucracy, and bureaucrats naturally develop their own interests; and (2) individual employees can be biased in a number of ways, including politically, and sometimes they are not even aware of their own biases.

    I am quite appalled by the ignorance of the proper working of our system expressed in the open letter signed by over 2,000 former DoJ employees (here). These are people who should know better, and I find them to be sanctimonious hypocrites, especially in light of the revelations over the past few years of the outrageous bias at very high levels of the DoJ and FBI.

    • #25
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:13 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My suspicion, however, is that if the question was presented 4 years ago, and “Barack Obama” substituted for “Donald Trump,” the result would have been the opposite.

    That might be true, but we’d never have known because Obama wasn’t directing prosecutors to go easier on his political allies — he was directing allies not to enforce the law at all!

    Under Obama, enemies of the Party got enforced. Team Obama enforced the heck out of the law against them, even if they had to forge evidence and lie to do it.

    Total transformation requires  Social justice, the People’s justice. There is no real justice under laws written by dead white men.

    Bernie:

    Klobuchar calls herself a “Progressive who can get things done.”

    Just like Stalin, Mao, Mussolini and all the other dictators Progressive admire.

    Warren:

    The real difference between Sanders and Warren is actually quite simple: In the most basic of terms, Sanders sees himself as a progressive operating within the Democratic Party structure, while Warren sees herself as a Democrat who supports progressive ideals. As tautological as that may sound, the difference is rather meaningful from a left-wing perspective. For the most part, albeit with differences in the details, the two envision the same role for the American state: a government that protects the most vulnerable living among us by holding the rich accountable.

    What differs in their visions is the ideal role of the Democratic Party. Sanders sees the party as an obstacle to meaningful progress, a box within which he is forced to work, given the catatonic nature of the American two-party system. Warren is surely frustrated by the friendliness of Democratic leadership toward Wall Street and multinational corporations—once lamenting that “Republicans and Democrats had locked arms to do the bidding of the big banks”—but she is fundamentally a party loyalist.

    Bernie Sanders has called for the “total transformation” of the Democrat Party and that seems to be happening, so this is a distinction without a difference. Bloomberg (or as Rush likes to call him, “Doomberg”) looks to be trying to coopt the “moderates” in the Party. Michelle Obama and Hillary are being talked about as being in the Doomberg stew.

    The Democrat choice seems to be between a brokered convention to install very wealthy corrupt radicals like Hillary or Michelle (my guess is Bloomberg might want to be Hillary’s VP and then, when it’s obvious she’s too old, run as her successor) who might appeal to what remains of the superficially moderate Party aristocracy, less wealthy corrupt radicals like Sanders and Warren, and aspiring corrupt radicals like Buttigieg.

    But really, the old categories are breaking down. Progressive billionaires like the tech and data oligarchs (which includes Doomberg) would rather interact with transnational managerial elites than with nationalists.


    Postscript: China:

    • the apparent exception that proves the rule
    •  a digital tyranny testbed
    • #26
    • February 21, 2020, at 7:36 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    My suspicion, however, is that if the question was presented 4 years ago, and “Barack Obama” substituted for “Donald Trump,” the result would have been the opposite.

    That might be true, but we’d never have known because Obama wasn’t directing prosecutors to go easier on his political allies — he was directing allies not to enforce the law at all!

    Under Obama, enemies of the Party got enforced. Team Obama enforced the heck out of the law against them, even if they had to forge evidence and lie to do it.

    Yeah, I was comparing Trump’s advocating leniency for Stone against Obama’s non-prosecution by his “wing man” of the Black Panthers, for example. There are no consequences for leftists under either leftist presidents or Trump, if McCabe is any indication.

    • #27
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:07 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Bob Thompson Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Now that this post was promoted to the main feed, I should make an additional point.

    Calling DoJ employees the “Swamp” and “unelected bureaucrats” is a bit tough on them. I believe that most of them are generally fine people — reasonably hard-working, dedicated, and typically doing their best to administer justice impartially. There are Swamp Creatures, who have been much in the news of late.

    The problem is twofold: (1) you can’t run a large organization without a bureaucracy, and bureaucrats naturally develop their own interests; and (2) individual employees can be biased in a number of ways, including politically, and sometimes they are not even aware of their own biases.

    I am quite appalled by the ignorance of the proper working of our system expressed in the open letter signed by over 2,000 former DoJ employees (here). These are people who should know better, and I find them to be sanctimonious hypocrites, especially in light of the revelations over the past few years of the outrageous bias at very high levels of the DoJ and FBI.

    They are certainly ‘unelected bureaucrats’ and we have too many of them which makes the problem big. Your description of the problem as twofold is accurate: the organization is way bigger than it should be and seems to spend a lot of time figuring out which Americans might be lying to FBI agents and, yes, they have biases as we all do and they need to become aware and correct for them. Those 2,000 should know better and it is probable that they do and don’t care. I appreciate your sentiments but they follow the pattern of the last few decades of the Republican Party and have only emboldened Democrats.

    • #28
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:12 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    One of the things I appreciate about your piece is it’s intellectually honest, not results oriented. I think it correct but, as commented above, it can easily work out more to the benefit of a Democrat than Republican president – see, for instance, how DOJ operated from 2009-17 with Obama’s wingman, Eric Holder, in charge. It helps when your AG and you are in sync from the start of the administration limiting the need for overt interference or direction. In Trump’s case he lacked any effective control over DOJ until February 14, 2019 when Barr became AG.

    • #29
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:39 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Now that this post was promoted to the main feed, I should make an additional point.

    Calling DoJ employees the “Swamp” and “unelected bureaucrats” is a bit tough on them. I believe that most of them are generally fine people — reasonably hard-working, dedicated, and typically doing their best to administer justice impartially. There are Swamp Creatures, who have been much in the news of late.

    The problem is twofold: (1) you can’t run a large organization without a bureaucracy, and bureaucrats naturally develop their own interests; and (2) individual employees can be biased in a number of ways, including politically, and sometimes they are not even aware of their own biases.

    James Madison hoped that keeping the inevitable factions small and keeping them in competition with one another could preserve the Republic. I’m sure he had seen in operation what is now known as Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

    …[I]n any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

     First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

    Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

    The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

    I’m coming to thing that Madison may not have adequately taken into account that very large organizations could breed factions large enough to seize power beyond the organization itself.

     

    • #30
    • February 21, 2020, at 8:48 AM PST
    • 2 likes