Earlier today, President Trump sent out this tweet:
So sad that the Department of “Justice” and the FBI are slow walking, or even not giving, the unredacted documents requested by Congress. An embarrassment to our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
What he’s referring to is the necessity of the House Judiciary Committee to subpoena the Department of Justice and FBI in order to obtain documents needed for their investigation.
Specifically, GOP lawmakers want to see a tranche of more than a million documents examined by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is conducting a parallel probe into decision-making during the 2016 race.
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently announced the bureau was doubling the number of personnel working to respond to the document requests, to 54 staffers working in two shifts from 8 a.m. to midnight. Lawmakers have received about 3,000 documents so far.
The tweet, sent out the morning after Easter, is the latest salvo in Trump’s ongoing criticism of the Department of Justice. He has previously tweeted that the reputation of the FBI is “in tatters.”
It comes just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed lawmakers that, for now, he will not be ceding to Republican demands for a second special counsel to investigate a swath of allegations related to the department’s conduct during the presidential race.
(The guys at PowerLine think Sessions is playing a good game on the demand for a second independent counsel. I’m not so sure I agree, not because it isn’t a good strategy but because I’m not convinced he’ll survive to see it through to fruition.)
While I’m not supportive of whacking your subordinates about the head and shoulders via Tweet, I’m broadly sympathetic to the issue. The Department of Justice and FBI have acted as though their statutory role was part of the #Resistance and not part of the executive branch. By Sally Yates, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe generating a totally bogus need for Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia probe, the career staff at both Justice and the FBI seems to have a real screw-you attitude towards both the White House and the GOP congressional majority that they clearly regard as usurpers.
Ultimately, this is not going to end well for Jeff Sessions. He’s clearly lost the confidence of President Trump on matters great and small. The fact that his organization is not helping Congress unravel what happened in regards to the use by the FBI of the Trump dossier developed by the Hillary Clinton campaign seems to indicate open mutiny towards Sessions’ leadership much more than garden variety incompetence or bureaucratic inertia. If Sessions goes you can bet Rosenstein and the FBI’s Wray find themselves under the same bus.