Trump: “A lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department”

Developments on Day 288 of the Trump Administration:

See also The Hit List of Russia’s Hackers: From Clinton to Ukraine to Domestic Opponents

Trump: “Saddest Thing” That I Can’t Control “Laughingstock” System

In a reinterpretation of Presidential powers, Donald Trump has said that he should be involved in criminal and civil investigations and law enforcement.

Frustrated at the expanding Trump-Russia investigation, which has now returned the first indictments and guilty plea of Trump campaign staff — Trump said in a radio interview on Thursday night:

You know, the saddest thing is that because I’m the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.

On Friday morning, before setting off for a 12-day tour of Asia, Trump — who has spent months trying to shift the Trump-Russia inquiry into an examination of his election opponent Hillary Clinton — railed against his officials for investigating supposed scandals from the rigging of the Democratic primary system in the 2016 election, the Obama Administration’s approval of the sale of a small US uranium mining company to Russian interests, and Clinton’s e-mails.

Earlier this week, after news of the indictment of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and guilty plea of campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, Trump fumed that the criminal justice system is “a joke” and “a laughingstock”. He reacted to a van attack in New York City by demanding that the assailant be sent to the US military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and that he be executed.

He told reporters:

I’m really not involved with the Justice Department. I’d like to let it run itself. But honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta [Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta] and all of that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things. And a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.

Trump also threw a punch at the military justice system for the decision not to imprison Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who left his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for five years.

Obstruction of Justice?

Trump’s ongoing tirade reinforces the claims that he is willing to interfere to the point of obstruction of justice, which could carry criminal charges as well as the prospect of impeachment.

Trump is already under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for his May firing of FBI Director James Comey, in a vain attempt to limit the Trump-Russia inquiry.

Comey has testified that he refused Trump’s demands that he pledge loyalty and publicly declare that Trump was not a subject of the inquiry. Trump said in July that he would never have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he had known that Sessions — compromised by his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the US — would recuse himself from overseeing the investigation.

Trump’s senior advisors and lawyers have held back Trump from firing Mueller. However, others close to him — notably former chief strategist Steve Bannon — are demanding the dismissal, even though it could provoke a Constitutional crisis and fuel demands for Trump’s impeachment.

Government Climate Change Report Defies Administration

Thirteen federal agencies issue a detailed report on human-caused climate change, defying the Trump Administration’s denial.

The report explains that global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 115 years. It says the long-term trend is “unambiguous”, with “no convincing alternative explanation” to human cuases.

The White HOuse approved the release even though Administration officials, including Donald Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt have rejected the scientific finding of global warming driven by human activity such as coal-burning.

But White House spokesman Raj Shah was dismissive of the report in a statement:

The climate has changed and is always changing. As the Climate Science Special Report states, the magnitude of future climate change depends significantly on “remaining uncertainty in the sensitivity of Earth’s climate” [to greenhouse gas emissions].

The UN convenes its annual climate change conference next week in Germany, with the US delegation expected to face harsh criticism amid Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 195-nation Paris climate accord.

The scientific report by hundreds of experts is part of the National Climate Assessment, a Congressionally-mandated review conducted every four years.

The Environmental Protection Agency has removed references to climate change from its website and barred its scientists from presenting reports on the subject.