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« The GOP: trading its future for a criminal | Main | Some really dumb ideas »

October 25, 2019


Consider this destructive testing. We are going to find out if the theory of minions is a real thing. Under this theory, so far not functional, the civil service consisted entirely of some sort of zombies who would leap to follow every order. It was quite popular on the left and right during the Obama years when the only thing holding back a national security apparatus coup was maybe only Obama himself. Maybe.

What was true is that people in the Justice Dept. and the FBI did exhibit the same ideological bents as Americans in general. The Hillary haters in the FBI were leaking shit left and right to the NYT and other papers. Some thought Trump an asshole. I'd say the latter were the smarter ones. But most did not take sides. They just did their jobs.

What is going to happen now is interesting. Barr, on behalf of Trump, is going to see if he can use this minority of Trump lovers within the FBI and the Justice Dept to do a top down coup against the majority of the civil servants employed there. And I do not think he is going to win. And I think everyone he brings on board is going to understand what will happen to them and their careers if they assist in this endeavor. I never thought much of the minion theory of government.

Peter G,
I wish I shared your confidence that Barr will not be successful at controlling DOJ. He now has the very powerful weapon in the near-term of the threat of prosecution to use against any who dare oppose the administration. And the long-term consequences of being a minion to the current administration that might act in the opposite direction, look less and less like they will ever materialize. An administration that would do this, open a criminal investigation of the investigation of Trump-Russia, will be willing to continue in office no matter what the results of the next election. By the time they have to face that hurdle, the deep state opponents of the administration will have already been purged out of the positions of power that would have allowed them to enforce the results of the next election.

I don't know much about the Department of Justice in terms of how it's staffed and restructured. Assuming that Trump is ousted and a Democrat (or sane Republican - if that isn't just a mythical beast) takes office, what are guidelines about firing and replacing? Can a new president clean it out or are they stuck for a period o time with Trump's people?

I am no expert in the laws governing firing civil servants, but in general, they do have considerable protection against that. Before such protections were in place, we had the spoils system, whereby govt employees would be removed en masse at the beginning of every administration to make room for cronies of the new administration.

Even people under civil service protection can be removed for cause. You would need an expert on that question to tell you the range of causes involved, but I would think that outright criminality would fit withing the range.

Have you ever heard of the Volksgerichtshof? You might be interested in learning something about it, as this is exactly where we are heading.

I see. And of course nobody wants to go back to the crony system.

But if Trump is ousted (we know he's a criminal) then one would hope that any of his toadies in the DOJ who facilitated would be ousted too. Although these days the rules don't always seem to apply.

Hideous proceedings weren't they? Close to 11,000 imprisoned or killed for "political offenses." I could see Trump and Barr licking their chops at the possibility of something similar here. (Barr would probably also want it for religious offenses.)

(The Wiki article noted that only 1 of 570 of judges and prosecutors was ever held accountable later. Talk about a travesty of justice.)

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