Twenty former U.S. Attorneys appointed by Republican Presidents have endorsed Joe Biden for President, saying Donald Trump is “a threat to the rule of law.” The prosecutors—among them William Weld and Wayne Budd of Massachusetts, William Webster of Missouri, Paul Perez and Marcos Jiminez of Florida, Matthew Orwig of Texas, Paul Charlton of Arizona, Greg Brower and Daniel Bogden of Nevada, and Thomas Heffelfinger of Minnesota—explain that their job in the Department of Justice was to work with all their state and local officials to enforce the law fairly for everyone, without regard to party affiliation:
When we were in office, we operated in accordance with a mandate from our leadership that reflected the foundational principles of the Department of Justice. Our primary duty was to ensure that the laws were enforced both effectively and impartially within our respective districts. In pursuing that mission, we understood that our offices were to be guided solely by the interests of the American people and the cause of justice. Although we were political appointees, it was expected that politics would play no role in the exercise of our prosecutorial discretion and that we would make decisions according to the facts and law and without regard to their political implications. And, as the chief federal law enforcement officials in our districts, we were expected to work closely with state and local officials of all political affiliations to build a unified law enforcement partnership to protect and promote justice in our communities [20 Former Republican U.S. Attorneys, public statement, 2020.10.27].
The prosecutors say that Trump has continually pushed the DOJ to violate this duty for his personal and political benefit:
As we watch the turbulent events unfolding in our country today, we are concerned that the President has departed from this traditional mandate in several troubling ways. First, the President has clearly conveyed that he expects his Justice Department appointees and prosecutors to serve his personal and political interests in the handling of certain cases — such as the investigations into foreign election interference and the prosecution of his political associates — and has taken action against those who have stood up for the interests of justice. He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision making – a barrier that has been fundamental to maintaining confidence among the American people that their Justice Department is acting as a fair and impartial arbiter of prosecutorial discretion. Finally, he has undermined the Department’s ability to unify and lead our nation’s law enforcement by picking political fights with state and local officials in a naked effort to demonize and blame them for the disturbances in our cities over the past several months. For these reasons, we believe that President Trump’s leadership is a threat to the rule of law in our country, and we do not support his reelection [20 USAs, 2020.10.27].
The prosecutors express their confidence, based on the evidence of a lifelong career of public service, that Joe Biden will restore the Justice Department’s focus on justice:
In contrast with President Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden has devoted his career to supporting law enforcement, protecting the independence of the Justice Department, and working to ensure that the federal government exercises its law enforcement powers fairly and impartially and in the interests of all Americans. And, as he has often mentioned during this turbulent time, Joe Biden understands that unity – and not division – is the key to meeting the challenges that our country is facing. Unlike the current president, Joe Biden and his Justice Department will make every effort to unite law enforcement and the nation in the pursuit of justice — to defend the rule of law, to serve and protect all Americans, and to build a criminal justice system that provides equal justice under the law [20 USAs, 2020.10.27].
Former U.S. Attorney for South Dakota Marty Jackley did not, alas, join his former colleagues in calling for the restoration of justice at Justice and in the White House. Maybe Marty is hoping for a Trump victory so Kristi can get her appointment to the Cabinet to open the door for him to become Governor in 2022. Maybe Marty has no sense of duty or public service left and is willing to let Trump’s selfish assault on justice go unchallenged.
But come on, Marty: you should be able to see as clearly as your fellow former U.S. Attorneys that Trump is a pox on the Department of Justice and the cause of justice. Now is the time for all good men and women to speak up in the aid of their country. Kudos to those who put party aside and vote for a real public servant, and raspberries to those who don’t.