Just before nine last night, Donald Trump screeched this nastygram into the airless void of his social media platform.
“Dear Attorney General Garland,” his attorneys John Rowley and Jim Trusty began, channeling their inner Karen.
We represent Donald J. Trump, the 45′ President of the United States, in the investigation currently being conducted by the Special Counsel’s Office. Unlike President Biden, his son Hunter, and the Biden family, President Trump is being treated unfairly. No President of the United States has ever, in the history of our country, been baselessly investigated in such an outrageous and unlawful fashion. We request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss the ongoing injustice that is being perpetrated by your Special Counsel and his prosecutors.
Rowley and Trusty are both DOJ veterans — they know damn well this isn’t how you ask for a pre-indictment meeting. And yet media outlets are credulously treating this as a request to speak with Manager Garland about bad customer service from Clerk Smith.
As Mueller investigation veteran Andrew Weissman points out, the entire point of a special counsel is to achieve a measure of independence from the executive branch. And Attorney General Merrick Garland appears to have allowed Special Counsel John Durham a free hand to press on with doomed prosecutions and issue a report slagging multiple unindicted parties. If the purpose of this missive was really to tattle on Special Counsel Jack Smith to his boss, it would be very funny in light of Trump’s constant social media carping that Garland and Biden are pulling the strings of local district attorneys as part of a plot to get him.
But of course, this letter is not that. Coming just five hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that Smith is close to a declination decision in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, it would appear to be more of a reaction to a looming indictment than anything else. Even Trump’s former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who ran point for him in the first impeachment, recently described it as “a tight obstruction case,” telling CNN, “Yes, I do think he will go to jail on it.”
Or perhaps the letter is a reaction to reporting from the Washington Post that the special counsel’s inquiry has expanded to cover the Trump Organization’s foreign business deals.
According to the Journal, Trumplanders “are bracing for his indictment and anticipate being able to fundraise off a prosecution.” And judging by the number of deranged emails the campaign has fired off in the past 24 hours, perhaps that’s right. But it seems more likely that the “Representatives of Congress” cc’d on this document are the true intended recipients.
Before noping out and blaming Trump’s fixer Boris Epshteyn for doing “everything he could to try to block us, to prevent us from doing what we could to defend the president,” attorney Timothy Parlatore fired off a ten-page letter to House Intel Chair Mike Turner demanding that Congress order the Justice Department to “stand down” on the documents prosecution and instruct that the “intelligence community should instead conduct an appropriate investigation.”
Astute readers will note that Congress has no more power to order the DOJ to stop an investigation than it does to order the IC to begin one. And indeed Rep. Turner has done little more than shout about the investigation on conservative media. But Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan is burdened by no such scruple, as evidenced by his efforts to ratf*ck Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s criminal prosecution of the former president. So perhaps this latest one-paragraph epistle is aimed at those among Trump’s congressional colleagues who are less inclined to read some longass lawyers’ letter with footnotes and acronyms and statutory references.
Perhaps Trump (cough, cough Boris) is hoping that a Hail Mary pass name-checking Hunter Biden will spur Jordan and his pal Jamie Comer at the Oversight Committee to leap onto the special counsel grenade before it goes off. Ironic from a guy who spent four years telling Congress to get bent on a theory of magical executive immunity from not only legislative interference but criminal process itself.
Help me, Obi Wan-Jordan! You’re my only hope.