Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times on Friday calling for new legislation that is built to stop “authoritarian-minded presidents” like Donald Trump from staying in office.
“The president’s vengeance against civil servants is disturbing enough, but it occurred alongside an even greater danger that has come into sharper focus this week: the politicization and potential weaponization of the Department of Justice,” Schiff writes.
Schiff specifically pointed out to Attorney General William Barr for willingly carrying out Trump’s corrupt orders in the cases against Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, after previously agreeing to sow doubt about intelligence assessments on Russian election interference.
“These interventions by Barr to benefit the president have profound implications for the rule of law and our democracy,” Schiff writes. “With a willing attorney general and compliant congressional Republicans, Trump is attempting to utilize the instruments of justice for his political benefit, something that would give him immense power to punish and harass his political opponents and protect his friends.”
“We cannot let that succeed,” he added.
During the impeachment trial of Trump, Republicans were able to justify the president’s acquittal because Trump refused to turn over the most potentially damning evidence, knowing the judicial review process could last months and months — and Schiff called for new laws to speed up that process.
“Congress should enact legislation to expedite judicial review of congressional subpoenas,” Schiff writes, wryly things that’s “an idea House Republicans favored unanimously under President Obama.”
He also called for new laws requiring extensive records of White House-DOJ contacts to protect the department from presidential corruption.
“There is also a clear need to legislate a stronger firewall between the Department of Justice and the White House, one secured by more than regulations or norms,” Schiff writes. “More will be required to prevent an unethical president from initiating or interfering in cases that involve the president’s enemies, allies or family members.”
Schiff himself introduced legislation to limit abuse of the pardon power, after Trump issued 11 dubious pardons and commutations this week and ponders pardons for Stone and Flynn.
“Some of these reforms may not become law while Trump remains in office, but that must not stop us from getting started. The future of our democracy depends on it,” he writes.
You can read the entire LA Times piece HERE.