Four stories at the end of this week, all apparently timed to hit the press over the weekend and thus be less noticeable, all indicate that the Trump administration, specifically Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, might finally be taking control respectively of the Justice Department and the FBI from the Democratic partisan hold-overs from the Obama administration, who for all intents and purposes have apparently been running those agencies during Trump’s first year in office.
- FBI’s top lawyer said to be reassigned by FBI Director Wray
- Sessions orders DOJ review after report Obama administration gave Hezbollah a pass
- Under orders by Sessions, prosecutors ask FBI agents for info on Uranium One deal
- AG Sessions orders examination of Bundy case after mistrial over prosecution bungling
The first story is significant in that the lawyer reassigned, James Baker, was also the lawyer used by Andrew McCabe during his eight hours of stone-walling during a closed-door House hearing this week about his part in the Mueller Russian collusion investigation.
The middle two stories indicate that the Trump administration is not going to let Obama and Clinton off the hook for their own apparent collusion with both the Russians and terrorists.
The last story involves what appears increasingly to be a terrible abuse of power by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Justice Department in is prosecution of the Bundy family following its stand-off with federal officials, a prosecution that has now resulted in a mistrial because the Justice Department improperly withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense.
That it took this long for the Trump administration to make these moves strongly illustrates how fragile our hold on democracy presently is. Trump was duly elected. By law, he is in charge, and has the right to fire anyone in the executive branch, as well as set policy there. Yet, he and his appointed cabinet officials have apparently felt they needed to tiptoe carefully during the first year of their administration, as if the people that Obama appointed and the policies he established were still in control.
Even now, I am unsure that these actions will put the Trump administration truly in charge of the administrative state. There is ample evidence in both the Uranium One deal and Iran deal that the Obama administration committed acts that at a least should destroy political careers, and at the most might even send some people to prison. Unless one of those scenarios actually happens, however, Trump will have done little to rein in the administration state. They will continue to act as if they can do whatever they want, defying elected officials, with impunity, because it will be apparent that there are no consequences for such actions.