Now that he’s closer than ever to being ousted and criminally charged, Donald Trump has settled on a new strategy to magically save himself. He’s removing a key Trump-Russia scandal prosecutor by offering her a major, and perhaps not optional, promotion. Here’s the thing: it’s going to flop.
Donald Trump is nominating Jessie Liu to be the new number three person at the Department of Justice. The good news is that Liu appears to be on the up-and-up. The trouble is that she’s currently the U.S. Attorney for Washington DC, and by promoting her, Trump is creating an opening that he’ll then get to fill. In theory, Trump could pick a corrupt loyalist to replace her, and suddenly that loyalist would be overseeing the criminal cases against Roger Stone and Samuel Patten, among others.
Sounds scary, right? But we’ve heard this story before, just with different names. Back when Donald Trump fired Preet Bharara as the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY, he replaced Bharara with his own buddy Geoffrey Berman. But then Berman recused himself, and the SDNY went on to bust Michael Cohen, and is still targeting Trump and his henchmen. Back when Trump appointed Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General, that was supposed to magically get Trump off the hook, but that also went nowhere. For that matter, Trump appointed Rod Rosenstein back in the day, with the expectation that Rosenstein would magically get him off the hook, and we all know how that one played out.
In fact, assuming Jessie Liu accepts this promotion, she’ll be taking the place of Rachel Brand. Back when Brand resigned last year, everyone thought that was somehow going to magically get Trump off the hook. But it just never happens. Trump keeps tepidly shuffling the DOJ deck, and it keeps doing nothing to stop the criminal investigations into his scandals, or even slow those investigations down. There’s no reason to expect this latest move to be any different.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report