Can We Stop Pretending Trump’s Dismissal of US Attorneys Is A Scandal?

[US Attorney Preet Bharara | Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]
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Thus far, the president has switched out 46 US Attorneys—enter media blitz. They’re using this as cannon fodder to overdramatize the situation—heck, there’s really no drama to it. When a company merges and some folks are let go, sure, those folks are sad (and it often sucks)—but it’s nothing that would make the proverbial front page. But many journalists won’t (can’t) write on the legality and/or ethical aspect(s) of President Trump’s executive decisions, rather they play on suppositions and conclusions. It’s easy to do this when the president has been a well-known person of interest—in industries other than politics.

Case in point—the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler:

[Source: Twitter/Glenn Kessler]

Kessler’s referring to US Attorney Preet Bharara. The Post’s journo spun some drama via President Trump first keeping Bharara on staff then asking for his resignation—a seemingly change of mind. However, Bharara wasn’t exactly on board with this, so the president let him go—along with 45 others being cut or sent resignation requests.

Like Kessler, there are journalists who are skeptical of a typical-business situation and mix a dash of conspiracy-theory juice into their “ink.” Upon researching President Obama’s administration, it was found he cut out George W. Bush’s remaining attorneys. Check out Politico-journalist Josh Gerstein’s juxtaposed headlines on attorney changeovers for Obama’s administration and Trump’s people:

[Source: Twitter/Jay Caruso]

Just to be clear, the left headline is “Trump Team Ousts Obama-Appointed US Attorneys” while the right shows “Obama to replace US Attorneys.” Some might argue it was a word choice, but political journalists have a certain responsibility when it comes to reporting the facts—i.e., get a thesaurus if that’s your excuse. (Perhaps he could’ve gone with “switched” as opposed to “ousts”?) Both presidents were simply managing their administrations, making executive decisions in terms of who would have their best interests in mind.

That Tweet got some serious action too—Twitter handles tagged Gerstein a lot (a “woot, woot” for him)! However, in the following, Gerstein was seemingly annoyed with RedState’s Jay Caruso.

[Source: Twitter/Jay Caruso]

Apparently, unbeknownst to Gerstein, Caruso actually did his research. Further, Gerstein seemingly forgot things aren’t mandated to be “parallel” in order for him to craft correlating headers. Regardless, Gerstein suffered the media-bias plague—the dangerously subtle ninja-like strain. Let’s be honest too—the phrase “liberal media” enables some journalists to ignore facts when writing their news. Those shadowy biases are more effective than blatantly obvious words. Often times, some journalists use “bully” and “attacks” to describe President Trump’s immigration decisions for the US. But they could’ve gone with “executive order”—that’s what it actually is. The public can opine; but again, journalists have a responsibility to be factual.

Therefore, Gerstein’s “oust” isn’t honest journalism—rather editorializing. Merriam-Webster defines “oust” as “to eject from a position or place: turn out: expel.” It’s a bit hard to do as such when referring to politically appointed attorneys. The National Review‘s Andrew McCarthy elaborates:

“US attorneys are the instruments through which the president exercises his policy discretion. That is why they are political appointees. They do not have power of their own. Under our Constitution, all executive power is reposed in the president alone. Every officer of the executive branch is thus a delegate. The US attorney exercises the president’s power and can be removed at the president’s will.

It is only natural, then, that a president will want his power wielded by his own appointees, whom he trusts to carry out his policy program. And it thus follows that, when there is a transition between administrations that see the world, and the Justice Department’s role in it, as differently as the Obama and Trump administrations, there will be sweeping turnover, carried out rapidly.”

Go back to the ’90s—President Bill Clinton and AG Janet Reno did their share of White House cleaning. Ninety-three US attorneys submitted their resignation upon Clinton winning the presidency—Jeff Sessions was among them. It’s not like there was proof George H.W. Bush’s attorneys performed poorly—it was a new presidency, which usually precipitates changeovers.

Making random, seemingly impulsive decisions is one thing Trump could be held responsible for—but that’s sort of his administration’s practice. Thus far, there has been much drama amid Team Trump—no need to fabricate…


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