He needs norm-glasses

The Post goes into contortions to say it politely:

President Trump on Friday pressured the Department of Justice — and specifically the FBI — to investigate Hillary Clinton, ticking through a slew of issues involving the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and her party, and urging law enforcement to “do what is right and proper.”

Trump’s advocacy for criminal probe of his political opponent marked a significant breach of the traditional boundaries within the executive branch designed to prevent investigations from being politicized.

In other words Trump’s rant was completely deranged and trampled all over the norms that prevent total breakdown and internecine war and corruption.

In his Thursday radio interview, Trump said, “You know, the saddest thing is, because I am the president of the United States I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing and I am very frustrated by it.”

The interview was on “The Larry O’Connor Show.” (Never heard of it.)

As he departed the White House Friday morning for an 12-day trip to Asia, Trump told reporters: “A lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”

In a series of Friday morning tweets, Trump claimed there was mounting public pressure for the Justice Department to investigate Clinton. Trump suggested law enforcement reopen its probe of the deleted emails from Clinton’s private server while she was secretary of state, as well as a Russian uranium sale and the international business of Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta.

He also went on and on about Clinton and the DNC yadda yadda – so on the eve of his trip abroad he sounded like a raving lunatic. That’s productive.

This marks only the latest attempt by Trump to use his presidential bully pulpit to influence the criminal justice process. He has delivered off-the-cuff remarks this week recommending punishment for Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect accused of killing eight people with a rental truck in New York. Trump at first said he was considering sending Saipov to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but then reversed course and advocated a civilian trial in federal court for the terrorism suspect he called “an animal.”

The Justice Department is a part of the executive branch; the attorney general is nominated by the president. So it is normal for the White House to direct the Justice Department on broad policy goals.

But unlike other executive branch agencies, the Justice Department traditionally enjoys a measure of independence, especially when it comes to individual criminal investigations. Government lawyers have long sought to enforce a clear line preventing White House officials from influencing specific investigations or prosecutions to ensure such work is not politicized.

Like this business of interviewing candidates for federal prosecutor jobs – that’s entirely abnormal and wrong and bad. We have a system that’s full of “norms” that prevent the government from acting like a dictator, and Trump is stampeding all over them, acting like a dictator. They’re norms as opposed to laws, so it’s turning out to be impossible to make him obey them, because he’s a reckless narcissistic monster who cannot see any norms or needs that don’t serve his desires. He can’t perceive them; it’s as if they’re on some other spectrum that his senses can’t detect.

The president directing a particular investigation — especially of a former political rival — would be viewed by most in law enforcement as inappropriate. When Trump made similar comments on the campaign trail a year ago, even former Republican attorney general Michael Mukasey, a vocal Clinton critic, said Trump ordering a prosecution of her would be “like a banana republic.”

Remember that? I remember that. He said it in one of the debates – I think the second one. He said if he were elected he would have her prosecuted, and there was an outcry. Then he got elected and we all fell into hell.

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