Tuesday on CNN’s “The Situation Room” network legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin reacted to The New York Times’ report that President Donald Trump wanted his 2016 presidential election rival Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey prosecuted.
Toobin said, “This is what happens in authoritarian countries. The president orders, the leader orders the investigation and prosecution of his political enemies.”
On Trump reportedly calling FBI Director Christopher Wray “weak,” Toobin said, “This is his view of any government official, whether it’s in the FBI or the Justice Department, who doesn’t do his personal bidding. He has absolutely no understanding that the FBI, the Justice Department, the entire U.S. government, works for the taxpayers, works for defending the Constitution. He thinks they are all his personal servants. When they don’t do something he wants to be done, even if there is no legal basis for it, even if it’s a violation of all of our traditions in the legal community, he gets angry.”
He added, “This is so similar to what Richard Nixon was investigated and ultimately articles of impeachment were voted on in the House Judiciary Committee. You know, Richard Nixon used the IRS to investigate his enemies. Richard Nixon used the Federal Trade Commission—I forget, maybe it was federal—whichever regulates television—to investigate The Washington Post, because The Washington Post also owned television stations. I mean, the abuse of governmental authority to investigate and harass political enemies was at the core of the general scandals known as Watergate. What Don McGahn and his colleagues knew is this is worse. Nixon didn’t try to actually prosecute George McGovern or his political enemies. He didn’t use the most powerful force that the Justice Department has, which is criminal investigation and prosecution. If this had gone forward, this would have been worse than what Nixon did during Watergate. But it’s in the same category.”
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