Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman slammed the latest reports of President Donald Trump demanding loyalty as “straight thuggery” during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC with Chris Hayes.
“Harry, let me start with you, because you had you Rod Rosenstein’s job. I want to get your first person sense of how appropriate or inappropriate or unusual it would be to have that asked of you in this circumstance,” Hayes questioned.
“Stupefying,” Litman responded.
“I was a kid at the Department with Rod Rosenstein during the infancy of the Starr investigation. If anything like that had come from the White House, it would have sent shock waves through the building,” Litman suggested.
“This was the President of the United States — the boss of Rosenstein — with a proven track record of firing people he doesn’t consider to be loyal and the main suspect in a criminal investigation, looking him in the eye and ‘saying are you on my team?’ That’s like straight thuggery plain and simple,” Litman charged.
Former Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) agreed.
“Without a doubt. And you know, I was for a while the chairman, and for a long time, the top Democrat on the Ethics Committee and I can tell you if a United States senator was under investigation by the Justice Department and they even so much as called to see how am I doing, what’s going on, they would be kicked out of the United States Senate,” Boxer predicted.
“Wait a second, really?” Hayes asked.
“Can’t do it,” Boxer declared.
“What scares me — and even if I seem a little calm, I am so alarmed — is that the lackeys in Congress, those GOPers led by Ryan and Nunes are just in many ways I use a word I don’t mean in a legal sense, colluding and collaborating with a president who obviously is under investigation,” Boxer concluded.
“You don’t buy that this is essentially good faith bumbling as opposed to bad faith interference?” Hayes asked Litman.
“I don’t see how you can,” Litman replied. “When you look someone in the eye and say are you on my team, yes, he doesn’t know the norms, yes, he lacks the protocols but that’s sinister.”
“There’s nothing kind of hokey or folksy about that,” Litman concluded. “That’s a straight out implicit threat.”