Trump’s Attorney General: A Flaw in American Democracy

The United States mingles politics and prosecution in a way that has become much more dangerous under President Trump. Behind the scandal that this president has appointed an under-qualified crony as acting attorney general – is the larger problem that a president can. President Trump has installed a scandal-tainted under-qualified loyalist as acting attorney general, with rumors that a Trump-loyal elected politician like Chris Christie or Kris Kobach or Pam Bondi may ultimately be nominated to fill the Senate-confirmed office. Britain and Germany entrust prosecutions to a career official, a director of Public Prosecutions. Many other advanced democracies follow their example. Not the United States. The 93 US attorneys who lead federal prosecutions are politically appointed. They report to the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, also a political appointment, who is in turn overseen by a politically appointed attorney general and deputy attorney general. Legal experts have long worried about the potential for abuse in these arrangements. But most Americans have long taken for granted the mingling of politics and prosecution, trusting the system and hoping for the best. Until now. Trump is reportedly entangled in multiple criminal inquiries. Trump has loudly and repeatedly insisted that he wants an attorney general who will act as his personal lawyer, defending his own personal interests. “My own Roy Cohn,” as he calls him. Now Trump is moving to find one. Trump seeks impunity for himself and his family. Americans should fear that his plan for survival threatens the rule of law in the United States. The Trump years have cast a hard light on many of the ancient flaws in American democracy. Flaws left unredressed because not enough of us worried about them. We should worry now about how to ensure once and for all, that politics and prosecution are never again mixed.

Maurice Vega

24 Responses

  1. Thanks for all the sober talk about this administration. A lot of Trump critics talk about his policies or bigotry but the problems run deeper than that.

  2. Coming from Britian I've always found it insane how you elect judges and DA's in some states, and have a partisan Supreme Court. Justice should always aim to be as politically impartial as possible.

  3. Prosecution mixed with politics is nothing new. Donald Trump just does it openly when other politicians have done (and will keep doing) it subvertly.

  4. Yeah it’s a flaw that was ripe for exploit. We always talk about how much we don’t trust politicians, but we never really had to deal with anything like this. Presidents before Trump would typically find people who had been leaders and experts in their field for years. So while partisanship existed, we trusted that the partisans were working inside the law because they actually knew the law. Society actually progress forward as time went on, in spite of the system.

    However, this is what America said we wanted. This is what we deserve. We, the people, dropped the ball.


  6. It is far beyond time to change the system. Starting with this president, but this change would apply equally to all future presidents, assuming there are future presidents.

  7. ????????????????????
    Politics and Prosecution are mix. And always have been. But these liberals criminals don’t want you to know that! That’s why Cops almost never get indicted at grand juries, because the political hacks in the prosecutor office don’t want to prosecute unless under intense public pressure!!! But now they are complaining because Trump is going after them. But wasn’t it Obama that went after the Tea Party with the IRS!!! How soon do we forget?
    Mr and Ms America, YOU have to make sure your public officials do want they are supposed to do!!!

  8. Amen. The wholesale replacement of thousands of professionals due to change of party in power is, well, insane. Not only it is inefficient and demoralizing, but it also delivers the elite of civil service into the arms of industries they were regulating 5 min ago. Everywhere else such system is called corruption.

  9. David Frum, how many times do you want to be wrong about everything? Give up your personal animus towards president Donald Trump.

    Can’t wait for you to retract most of your statements over the last 2 to 3 years. The president has been railroaded by an elitist government determined to overthrow a duly elected president. With each passing day we learn the dirty details of the Obama administration spy gate!

  10. I’m truly concerned about our democracy and still have faith in our judicial branch but Barr must resign Imho

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