CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday lamented Donald Trump’s “staggering lack of regard for the sanctity of judicial matters and the norms of the United States government” after the president’s repeated attacks on various aspects of our nation’s justice system.
Tapper began discussing Trump’s comment Thursday that he, as president, is frustrated that he’s “not supposed to be involved with Justice Department.”
“I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. and i’m very frustrated by it,” Trump complained.
“Points for candor there, I suppose,” Tapper said. “The president openly admitting that he knows that being involved with the Justice Department or the FBI in terms of their investigations crosses a line. Even though we also know that President Trump has crossed that line.”
Tapper noted Trump’s repeated statements expressing anger at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, his request to former FBI Director James Comey to take it easy on former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and his decision to fire Comey to relieve pressure from the FBI’s probe.
“Here we have the president openly expressing his frustration that he’s not supposed to intrude in ongoing investigations or order investigations of his political opponents,” Tapper said. “We’ve certainly seen that President Trump has been willing to play with that line.“
Tapper also noted Trump’s decision to express his judicial opinion on deserter Bowe Bergdahl’s sentence, his attacks on George Papdapolous—who’s at the center of the investigation into Trump’s campaign—and his declaration on Wednesday that the U.S. justice system is “a joke and … a laughing stock.”
“A lot of people in the justice system might disagree with that,” Tapper said. “They’re working hard to put those people behind bars. But, of course, what might be more troubling is the president’s public signals to the Justice Department and the FBI that he wants investigations into his political opponents.”
“This morning, the president continued this on Twitter, ‘Everybody is asking why the Justice Department and FBI isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with crooked Hillary [Clinton] and the Dems. At some point the Justice Department and the FBI must do what is right and proper.’ And, ‘Let’s go, FBI and Justice Department!’ In case you thought the previous two tweets were too subtle.”
“Think about what it might be like to be a military judge or an attorney general or a Justice Department staffer or an FBI agent and your boss, President Trump, is out there criticizing the decisions you’ve made and/or announcing what he wants you to be doing, investigating his political opponents,” Tapper said. “Might that impact what you do? Might that have an effect?”
“It’s a staggering lack of regard for the sanctity of judicial matters and the norms of the United States government, and yet we don’t hear much those on Capitol Hill in the president’s party,” Tapper continued. “Just another periodic reminder none of this is normal.”