20180104 PD Letter to DOJ IG and OPR Re WH Interference 01042018

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20180104 PD Letter to DOJ IG and OPR Re WH Interference 01042018
   January 4,   2018 The   Honorable Michael   E. Horowitz Inspector General Office   of    the   Inspector General U.S.   Department of    Justice 950   Pennsylvania Avenue,    N.W Suite   4706 Washington, DC   20530 BY   FAX:   (202)   616-9881 Robin   C. Ashton Counsel Office   of Professional Responsibility U.S.   Department of    Justice 950   Pennsylvania Avenue,    N.W Suite   3266 Washington, DC   20530 BY FAX:   (202)   514-5050  RE:   Investigating   Improper White House   Influence   on   Specific Investigations Dear    Mr. Horowitz and   Ms. Ashton: We write   to ask your    offices to open an   immediate inquiry   into whether attorneys   at the Justice Department are acting in   a specific enforcement matter    involving   the President’s    political opponents    because of     pressure from the President   or other White House   officials. For the   Justice Department   to pursue a specific investigation or    enforcement action based   on   White House influence   would   violate our    country’s and   the Department’s   most foundational    principles—that we are a   nation of    laws, with equal    justice   under law.   The   Department and   the American    people rely on   your    offices to safeguard the Department’s   sacred obligations   to the   fair and impartial administration   of the   law. We   ask that   you   open an immediate inquiry   and   take all   appropriate remedial actions if    any Justice   Department   officials are engaging   in investigative or     prosecutorial actions   in a   specific matter    in response to   White House political    pressure. I.Reports   of White   House   Interference in   a   Specific DOJ Enforcement   Matter According to recent   news reports,   the Justice   Department   is now   engaging   in investigative or     prosecutorial   activity related   to the   President’s political   opponents in   the face of substantial pressure from the   White House. According to this   report,   Department officials   “are acutely   aware of    demands from President   Donald Trump that   they   look into Clinton’s   use   of a  private   email   server    while secretary   of state—and   that they   lock up her    top aide,   Huma Abedin.” 1 1   Betsy Woodruff, “Justice Department ‘Looking Into’ Hillary Clinton’s Emails— Again,” The Daily  Beast (Jan. 4, 2018), https://www.thedailybeast.com/justice-department-looking-into- hillary-clintons-emails-again. Protect Democracy 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW #163 Washington, DC 20006    This   recent report follows   on   a   letter    from the   Department   to   the   House   Judiciary   Committee indicating that “the   Attorney   General has   directed”   certain federal prosecutors   to   look    into   issues related to   the   Clinton   email investigation and   to   “report directly   to   the   Attorney   General and   the Deputy   Attorney   General.” 2 The   reported   activity at the   Department comes   in the   wake   of repeated   requests    by   the President to    prosecute   his   former electoral opponent.   Those   attempts began   during   the   campaign when   President Trump   and   his   surrogates   regularly led   “lock    her up”   chants   at campaign   rallies and   the   Republican    National   Convention.   Mr.   Trump’s   threats   to   use   the   Justice   Department against his   opponent continued   during one   of the    presidential   debates,   when   candidate   Trump  promised   to   instruct the   attorney general to investigate   Secretary Clinton: TRUMP .   .   .   [I]f I win,   I am going   to instruct my   attorney   general to   get a   special  prosecutor to   look into your situation,    because   there   has   never been   so   many   lies,   so much   deception. There   has   never been anything   like   it,   and   we’re   going   to   have   a special    prosecutor. . .   . So   we’re   going to get a   special prosecutor,   and   we’re   going   to   look    into   it,    because you   know   what?   People   have    been    —    their lives   have    been   destroyed   for doing one-fifth   of what you’ve   done.   And it’s   a   disgrace.   And   honestly,   you   ought to    be ashamed   of yourself. . .   . CLINTON: .   .   .   [I]t’s    just awfully   good   that someone   with   the   temperament   of Donald   Trump   is   not in charge   of the   law   in   our country. TRUMP: Because   you’d    be   in jail. 3 And   those   efforts   have   not ceased   since   Mr.   Trump   assumed   office.   The    president has, on multiple occasions,   called for DOJ   to   investigate Secretary Clinton   and   her aides:  2   Letter from Stephen   E.   Boyd, Assistant Attorney   General, to   Hon. Robert W.   Goodlatte, Chairman, House   Committee   on   the   Judiciary   (Nov. 13, 2017). 3   Transcript of the   Second   Presidential Debate, N.Y. Times   (Oct.   10,   2016), available at https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/us/politics/transcript-second-debate.html. 2  Donald   J. Trump   (@realDonaldTrump),   Twitter    (July 22,   2017,   4:44   AM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/888726438265966592 Donald   J. Trump   (@realDonaldTrump),   Twitter    (July 24,   2017,   5:49   AM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/889467610332528641 Donald   J. Trump   (@realDonaldTrump),   Twitter    (Oct.   29,   2017,   7:17 AM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/924641278947622913 3 Donald   J. Trump   (@realDonaldTrump),   Twitter    (Nov.   3,   2017,   3:57 AM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/926403023861141504  Donald   J. Trump   (@realDonaldTrump),   Twitter    (Nov.   3,   2017,   4:11   AM), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/926406490763784194 Donald   J. Trump   (@realDonaldTrump),   Twitter    (Jan.   4,   2018,   4:48   AM). Sadly,   according to   these   recent reports, it appears   that President Trump’s   efforts   to command   the   Justice   Department to pursue   a    politically-motivated   investigation of his   opponent may   finally   have    borne   fruit. II.Acting   Based on White   House   Pressure   Violates   the   Constitution,   Ethical Rules,   andthe   Justice   Department’s   Most Sacred Duty Pursuing   an   investigation in   response   to political    pressure   from the   White   House   violatesthe   Department’s most sacred   duty to the   American people.   In keeping with   the   words   “Equal Justice   Under Law”   engraved on   the   Main   Justice    building, DOJ’s   mission requires   the Department “to   ensure   fair and impartial administration   of justice   for all Americans.”   As   the Department’s website   notes: “Thomas   Jefferson wrote,   ‘The   most sacred of the   duties   of government   [is] to   do   equal and impartial justice   to   all its   citizens.’ This   sacred   duty   remains   the guiding    principle   for the   women   and men of the   U.S.   Department   of Justice.” 4 For the   Department   to pursue   or re-open   an   investigation    based   on    political pressure   also violates   core    principles of our Constitution. Every attorney   in   the   Department   swears   an oath   to 4   Department of Justice,   About DOJ, https://www.justice.gov/about. 4
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