Media Mention

Ayer, Adler & Gerson on the danger of political prosecutions in a second Trump term

August 28, 2020

Note: This piece was originally published in Vox and features quotes from Checks & Balances members Donald Ayer, Jonathan Adler, and Stuart Gerson.

President Donald Trump wants his enemies locked up — he says so all the time.

He told Hillary Clinton that once he won, she’d be “in jail.” He wants foreign countries to investigate the Bidens. He said that John Kerry “should be prosecuted.” He wants Adam Schiff “questioned at the highest level for Fraud & Treason.” John Bolton, he says, should be “in jail, money seized.” James Comey should face “years in jail.” The list goes on. This isn’t just empty political rhetoric — Trump says similar things to officials in private, and grows angry when his demands aren’t carried out.

And so far, they haven’t been carried out. Yet the Department of Justice under Attorney General Bill Barr has already become increasingly responsive to Trump’s preferences in criminal cases involving Trump’s friends. So the question is whether, if Trump wins in November, his talk of investigations and prosecutions will become more than just talk.

I spoke to more than a dozen former Justice Department officials about Trump’s increasingly tight grip on an agency that has long prided itself on independence when it comes to criminal matters.

Continue reading at Vox.