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Trumpian Justice

Don Rose 7 November 2017 One Comment

Imagine, if you will, the public outcry from the right if Barack Obama called the American system of criminal justice a “joke” and suggested it is a “laughingstock.” (We all know it is not without flaws, but it seems to work pretty well, cleaning up mistakes through the years.)


Imagine then the reaction if Obama had called for the Department of Justice to prosecute a defeated opponent, say, Sarah Palin, for any of many stupid remarks.

Critics immediately point out that the president cannot order the DOJ to prosecute anyone. There’s a wall between them to protect us from political prosecutions. (Not that political prosecutions never happen.)

Obama never did any of those things. In fact he refused calls from his own party to investigate or prosecute members of the George W. Bush administration for lying to induce us into the Iraq War–that might make a good case.

Nor did he seek action against members of the administration or the banking industry for causing the great recession of 2008. He caught hell again from his own party for being too damn nice. Obama’s position was the past was the past and we must get on with the job of solving the many problems before us.

But somehow, Donald J. Trump, who is not even a lawyer and as a litigious businessman lost numerous cases, is a self-proclaimed expert on our legal system and blanketly condemns it when things don’t go his way. The system he prefers is one where he calls all the shots and always wins. Some would term that “autocratic”–a word not in his personal lexicon.

He is fixated on taking some strange kind of vengeance on his predecessor, Obama, and defeated opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Remember his ludicrous claim that Obama had his Trump Tower phones “tapped”? That set off a congressional investigation wasting countless dollars and time to disprove what everyone on both sides knew was a false charge.

Now he is extralegally trying to goad the justice department into investigating Clinton, her campaign chief John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee for crimes that are not crimes–though perhaps unethical practices that he says stole the nomination from Bernie Sanders.

But he also turns on his own, berating and threatening to fire his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for properly recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion in the 2016 election. Recusing himself was probably the one decent and proper action Sessions has taken.

Trump also improperly injects himself into important cases, such as the recent terrorist murder in New York and the military desertion case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl–calling for the death penalty in both instances.

In the latter matter, the deserter was severely punished in military terms but was given no prison time.  A judge in the case said Trump’s intrusion was the reason for a lighter sentence than Bergdahl might have received. In the New York case his call for death could save the terrorist from execution.

So just who’s legal misbehavior is the real laughingstock?

Me? I’m laughing to keep from crying.

Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer

One Comment »

  • Observant said:

    The leading defenders of the Community Reinvestment Act were Representatives Barney Frank and Maxine Waters, both vocal Democrats, who resisted any attempt to put the brakes on the runaway train that derailed and crashed the real estate market. Obama never called for an investigation because Democratic fingerprints were all over the place.

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