Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates is sounding the alarm in response to President Donald Trump’s demand that the Department of Justice begins a politically motivated investigation of the FBI.
On Sunday, Trump concluded a long day of whining on Twitter about the Russia investigation by issuing an order to the DOJ.
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
Trump’s demand stems from his unsubstantiated accusations that the FBI planted a spy within his campaign, even though the FBI sometimes uses informants in the early stages of investigations to get more information.
That was the case in the early stage of the Russia investigation. But the informant was not “planted” within the campaign to spy. The informant merely approached a few Trump campaign officials who were suspected of having ties to Russia. As it turns out, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and Carter Page all had such ties. Papadopoulos and Flynn have pleaded guilty as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
In short, the informant did good investigative work.
The demand, however, is a serious attack on the rule of law. While the FBI investigation was not politically motivated since it was kept a secret so that it would not affect Trump’s 2016 campaign, Trump’s demand is yet another effort to undermine the Mueller probe. Make no mistake, Trump is politically motivated to attack the FBI in this way. After all, his political power is at stake.
Yates, whom Trump fired in January 2017 for refusing to defend his Muslim ban, made an appearance on Morning Joe Monday morning and warned just how dangerous Trump’s demand is.
“I think what we’re seeing here is the president has taken his all-out assault of the rule of law to a new level and this time he is ordering up an investigation of the investigators who are examining his own campaign,” she said. “You know, that’s really shocking.”
Just hours after Trump issued the tweet, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein caved into the demand.
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Rosenstein said in a statement.
Yates opined that Rosenstein is “trying to strike a balance” in order to protect the rule of law.
“I know it was just a tweet but he did say something to the effect of, if I recall correctly, ‘I hereby order,’ and we saw the Justice Department respond to that, but I think Rod Rosenstein is trying to strike a balance here between defusing the situation and also protecting the rule of law and the institutional integrity of the department,” she said.
Yates also warned Americans against getting used to Trump’s behavior toward the DOJ.
“I think one of the things we have to look out for is the old boiling the frog slowly issue. That we become accustomed to things that the president does, in directing DOJ. You know, I can remember a time when he would issue a tweet or directive and the reports would be: ‘In an unprecedented act, the president did X or Y.’ It’s not so unprecedented anymore and oftentimes it doesn’t even make it through the full 24-hour news cycle.”
She went on to point out that firing Mueller or Rosenstein would be a “red line” that Trump should not be allowed to cross without consequence.
Here’s the full segment via MSNBC:
Featured Image: MSNBC screenshot