An editorial from the Bloomberg News editorial board makes the case that despite all of the attempts President Donald Trump has made to take down the democratic systems outlined by the founding fathers, the country still stands.
June 19, Attorney General Bill Barr announced that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman out of the Southern District of New York was "stepping down," though it soon became clear that he was being fired. Trump was aiming for an "acting" replacement but was bested by the process, which put the deputy in charge while the new DA is being approved by Congress.
"What was the objective of this ploy?" asked Bloomberg. "To put it mildly, there are grounds to suspect the president's motives. The Southern District once prosecuted Trump's fixer for paying hush money to some of his former paramours. According to news reports, it is currently investigating whether his personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, tried to illegally lobby on behalf of a foreign government; expansive financial misconduct suspected on the part of his inaugural committee; and potential money-laundering by his son-in-law's family real-estate company. That's not to mention the 12 criminal referrals from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation that haven't yet been publicly revealed and may have been handed to the office."
The editorial said that if Trump wanted to act with corrupt intent, he certainly had many reasons for doing so.
"Even setting aside such suspicions, Barr's action is perplexing," said the editorial board. "If Berman had been performing poorly on the job, then why offer him a high-ranking position within the Justice Department, as Barr says he did? If the president felt that Berman — a Republican and former Trump donor — was out to embarrass him politically, as he has hinted, then why not say so and fire him overtly? Any charitable interpretation also must account for the fact governments rarely announce their most defensible decisions late on a Friday night."
The good news, they noted, was regardless of whether it was a failure on Trump's part or Barr's they did fail. Trump's attempt at a Friday-night news story that would simply disappear into the ether of news. Instead, Barr pretending Trump made the decision got him in trouble when Trump was asked about it, and he said that Barr was in charge.
"Even Senator Lindsey Graham, the Trump stalwart who heads the judiciary committee, has emphasized that the nomination of Berman's replacement will move forward as normal, and not be fast-tracked as Trump might wish," said Bloomberg. "Any hopes of a late-night power play to get the president's man in position have been humiliatingly dashed."
Over and over, Americans have watched as Trump tries to use his power for corrupt reasons. Whether it was bribing Ukraine to confirm his conspiracy theory about former Vice President Joe Biden, trying to fire anyone investigating the Russia scandal, or begging Turkey and China for election help in 2020, Trump has been caught. "Time and again, his plots have come undone," said Bloomberg. He certainly hasn't been held accountable for the crimes, but Americans have at least found out.
"What do all these failed machinations have in common?" the editorial asked. "Corrupt intent and ham-handedness, to be sure. But each also demonstrates that the American constitutional system is working. The courts have thwarted Trump's unlawful schemes and jailed his associates. Congress, despite occasional pliancy, has overridden the president's worst ideas, refused to confirm his inept nominees, and completely ignored his ill-advised budget requests, not to mention impeached him. Within the executive branch, whistle-blowers have exposed misconduct, bureaucrats have impeded abuses of power, and a bevy of officials have resigned to protest Trump's misguided or unethical actions. Through it all, a free press has exposed the administration's misdeeds on a near-daily basis.
"No normal president would have put the system under so much stress. Trump has tested it severely — but so far, at least, the system has prevailed. With the president's first term winding down, and his influence eroding by the day, Americans should be thankful for that," the editorial closed.
While Bloomberg's editorial board has identified the strength of the system, after Trump, Democrats will likely look for reforms to ensure greater transparency and accountability. There's also a possibility that many of the norms past presidents followed, but Trump has ignored may also become set in stone in the future.