Jeffrey Clark, the man who sought to become attorney general in the tail days of the Trump administration so that he could steal the election, has teamed up with another former Trump administration official to put forward a plan to remake the DOJ the next time we have a Republican president.
Clark and Russ Vought, Trump’s former OMB director, now work at the recently founded Center for Renewing America; Vought is president, Clark is “director of litigation.” (I found it humorous that the homepage greets you this with testimonial from Trump: “Russell Vought did a fabulous job in my administration, and I have no doubt he will do a great job in continuing our quest to make America great again.” So, that’s what they’re about.)
The Times, today, reports on the duo’s latest brainwave: a plan to strip the DOJ of its independence.
Mr. Clark and Mr. Vought are promoting a legal rationale that would fundamentally change the way presidents interact with the Justice Department. They argue that U.S. presidents should not keep federal law enforcement at arm’s length but instead should treat the Justice Department no differently than any other cabinet agency. They are condemning Mr. Biden and Democrats for what they claim is the politicization of the justice system, but at the same time pushing an intellectual framework that a future Republican president might use to justify directing individual law enforcement investigations.
The Times goes on to explain how this is the Bill Barr-favored Unitary Executive Theory taken to absurd lengths that even Trump couldn’t realize while he was in office.
More broadly, the Center for Renewing America has set an intention of overhauling the federal government in a whole range of ways the Trump administration dabbled in but never quite succeeded at. Another of its favored policy proposals — stripping Civil Service protections for those who work in the administrative state — was in the process of being implemented, under the sinister-sounding moniker of Schedule F, when Trump was in office. Biden immediately reversed the executive order that put it in place.
As I wrote before, these dangerous ideas aren’t just Trump-specific. DeSantis is into them too. Center for Renewing America seems to feel that these policies will be needed, someday, if not in 2025, for use by some president, if not Trump. And they’re coming up with quite a heap of ideas for whenever the moment arrives.
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