I wrote a column two weeks before the 2016 electon entitled "Donald Trump Is An Existential Threat To American Democracy." I not only stand by that claim; I will double down on it. We are well on our way towards autocracy. Donald Trump has launched an unrelenting assault on the institutions that support our democracy, and his fellow Republicans are either looking the other way or they are rooting for democracy's demise. Mike Lee, a Republican Senator from Utah, let the cat out of the bag. He, at least, would not mind seeing our democracy die.
Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prospefity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) October 8, 2020
The Justice Department is part of the Executive Branch of government and is under the control of the President--to an extent. The President can set broad policy for the Department and can pick, with the consent of Congress, the person he wants to lead the Department. But it was never intended for him to be able to use the Justice Department as tool to help his political allies escape punishment for their crimes or as a hammer to wield against his political adversaries. President Trump tried to use his influence via the Justice Department to try to reduce the sentencing guidelines for Roger Stone after Stone was convicted of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. This set off alarm bells, prompting Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, to write:
Among the Founding Fathers’ chief goals was to do away with a government where the king was above the law and had absolute power over the lives of his subjects. In our system, the President, like every other citizen, is meant to be subject to the law. The Founding Fathers were explicit about that intention when they debated the shape the new government they were creating would take. And that quintessentially American view that no man is above the law has been the case up until the presidency of Donald Trump.