Trump’s Allies Are Urging Him To Purge All DOJ Staff Involved In Russia Probe
Allies of President Donald Trump have long pushed for a purge of all Justice Department and FBI officials who worked on former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, but now that Trump was acquitted, they are turning up the heat to finish the job.
Politico reported that pro-Trump commentators and others outside the White House have taken to social media and television — two of the easiest ways to influence the president’s thinking — to pressure Trump to finally remove every last remnant of the Mueller team.
Political commentator and Trump ally Kurt Schlicter said of the several officials and prosecutors who worked on the Russia probe and are still in the DOJ: “Why would they expect not to be fired?”
Such calls intensified after four career prosecutors on the Roger Stone case recommended a seven- to nine-year prison sentence for the Trump associate, which ultimately was overruled by Attorney General William Barr. All four prosecutors withdrew from the case in protest, and one quit the Justice Department entirely.
Politico noted that three of the prosecutors had worked on Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“I think that the White House understands that it has the support of the insurgent conservative punditry in this fight, because we see what the fight is,” Schlicter told Politico.
Tom Fitton, the president of the conservative activist group Judicial Watch, is also pushing Trump to clean house at the DOJ and FBI, tweeting numerous times daily about the “deep state” that far-right conservatives maintain is out to end Trump’s presidency.
“This is a straightforward issue,” Fitton said. “The president runs the Justice Department and there are a lot of people who don’t want the Justice Department to investigate Democrats. All of this noise is designed to make it difficult for the Justice Department to investigate Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and those implicated in the illegal spying of Donald Trump.”
But veterans of the Justice Department hold that Trump and his allies fail to appreciate or understand how the department works, resulting in unwarranted outrage.
One former national security official told Politico that “supposed concerns over rogue line attorneys ring hollow given DOJ policies requiring sentencing recommendations to be reached after consultation with high-level leadership.”
However, all it takes for Trump and his allies to call for purging the department — along with the FBI — is mere suspicion or gut feelings that there is an agenda against the president.
Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg, who was interviewed by Mueller’s team, said although he could not point to factual bias against the president, he was sure the official who interviewed him — Aaron Zelensky — was anti-Trump.
“I personally liked Aaron,” he told Politico. “I found him highly professional, very smart. They had facts, yes, but I believe that they had an agenda ... They were trying to take down Trump.”