Trump’s Law Enforcement

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

With his impeachment trial over Trump is reorganizing his troops and updating his weaponry.  After kicking the Vindmans out of the White House and Sondland out of Brussels he removed the Undersecretary for Policy, John Rood, who had testified in Congress that Ukraine met the standards for military aid, from the Pentagon.  And the president claims that he knows who under the pseudonym ‘Anonymous’ wrote a book about White House insider attempts to thwart his agenda, but so far nobody has been identified.  Choosing loyalty over competence Trump appointed Richard Grenell, the US Ambassador to Germany, as acting Director of National Intelligence.  Grenell has no intelligence background and will keep doing his ambassadorship on the side, but he is close to Don Jr. and apparently that qualifies him sufficiently.  The president also chose his former body man John McEntee, in the West Wing simply known as ‘Johnny,’ to head the Presidential Personnel Office, and he brought former Communications Director Hope Hicks, who is slated to become the 4th Mrs. Trump if that position becomes available again, back from exile.

After Attorney General Barr, who is facing an insurrection at the Justice Department, said in an interview that the president’s tweets about pending cases make it impossible for him to do his job, Trump agreed.  Barr’s implicit message that he’s happy to do the president’s dirty work but can only do it in the dark, however, fell on deaf ears with Trump, who told the White House press corps that he has every right to interfere because he is the chief law enforcement officer in the country.  Illustrating what he believes to be his authority the president then attacked the judge and the jury forewoman in Roger Stone’s case and threatened to sue the four prosecutors who withdrew from the case when Barr reduced their sentencing recommendation.  And Trump was only getting started.  Without the customary Department of Justice review process and in fact on a whim he granted clemency to the disgraced ex-Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, who was doing 14 years for trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat after Obama had been elected president.  A FOX News appearance by Blagojevich’s wife had gotten her husband off the hook.

Having commuted the sentence of Blagojevich, who immediately upon being set free declared himself a ‘Trumpocrat,’ Trump pardoned Bernard Kerik, a former NYPD Commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, who was convicted for tax fraud and is now a FOX News commentator.  Pardons were also granted to Michael Milken, the former ‘junk bond’ king who had done 2 years for securities fraud and conspiracy, Edward DeBartolo, the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, convicted for concealing an extortion plot, and three other male white collar criminals.

Next to seven men Trump also pardoned or commuted the sentences of four women, respectively convicted for storing and distributing drugs, Medicare fraud and participating in a stolen vehicle ring.  Pundits see a relationship between the president’s earlier pardoning of Scooter Libby and the commutation of Blagojevich’s sentence, because both had been prosecuted by Pat Fitzgerald, the former US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and a friend of James Comey.

Trump’s commutation and pardoning spree is widely seen as an attempt to prepare the American electorate for the upcoming pardons of Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and possibly also Paul Manafort.  Today Stone was sentenced to 40 months in jail for his role in the Russian plot to get Trump elected in 2016, and the president cannot let him rot in the slammer and risk that Stone starts singing about it.

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