Despite being impeached for abusing his power as part of an effort to gin up an investigation of a political opponent, President Donald Trump reportedly wants to use the U.S. Department of Justice in a quest for revenge against those he believes crossed him during the impeachment process.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton is the name at the top of the alleged “enemies list,” according to Vanity Fair. The report claimed that Trump has been telling multiple administration officials that he wants Bolton to be criminally investigated, further eroding the independence of the Justice Department and sparking the usual outrage from legal professionals.
“He has an enemies list that is growing by the day:" With Acquittal Certain, Trump Plots Revenge on Bolton, Impeachment Enemies
— Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) February 3, 2020
“A person familiar with Trump’s thinking said Trump believes Bolton might have mishandled classified information,” the report said. “According to a former official, the White House is planning to leak White House emails from Bolton that purportedly allege Bolton abused his position at the National Security Council. The official said that West Wing officials have discussed releasing emails ‘showing [Bolton] was doing pay-to-play,’ the official said.”
Among those also named on Trump’s alleged “enemies list” are Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.
“This is an abuse of power, plain and simple,” former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti wrote of the president’s alleged desire to prosecute Bolton. “Using the Justice Department to go after political adversaries and potential witnesses against you is corrupt.”
This is an abuse of power, plain and simple. Using the Justice Department to go after political adversaries and potential witnesses against you is corrupt. https://t.co/mLGtCzKC22
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) February 3, 2020
Others all but said: Here we go again.
So … heads on proverbial spikes?https://t.co/GVpiBasrM9
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) February 3, 2020
So it begins. What else did you expect? And an acquitted Trump will be an even more vindictive Trump. Here it comes!https://t.co/EPHohNDYkV
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) February 4, 2020
“The source added that Trump wants Bolton to be criminally investigated.”
Trump, now impeached for abusing the tools of national power, is preparing yet again to abuse the tools of national power—even before he’s acquitted?
— Joshua A. Geltzer (@jgeltzer) February 3, 2020
The Vanity Fair report is particularly interesting because the alleged concern here is that Bolton “mishandled classified information.” A “person close to Bolton,” of course, denied that occurred. Recently, suspicions of political revenge were raised when it was reported that former FBI Director James Comey was under investigation for a “years-old leak of classified information.”
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]