More than 1,000 DOJ Alumni Explain Ongoing Investigations of Trump Should Not Be Deterred by His Presidential Candidacy

  • November 28, 2022
The Department of Justice alumni, who served Democratic and Republican administrations from Eisenhower to Trump, explain that investigations into Trump are required by the Department’s rules that prohibit basing investigative and prosecutorial decisions on political considerations and that the special counsel recently appointed by the Attorney General is bound to follow those rules. 

More than 1,000 alumni of the Department of Justice issued a statement supporting its ongoing investigations of Donald Trump’s role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election and his handling, as a private citizen, of classified and other government materials, and explaining that Trump’s declaration of his candidacy for the presidency in 2024 should not deter those investigations. The alumni, who collectively have many decades of experience enforcing the Department’s rules in both Republican and Democratic administrations, wrote that the Principles of Federal Prosecution and the department’s mission to ensure the fair and equal administration of justice demand that Trump be treated in the same manner as anyone else who is similarly accused. Further, the special counsel recently appointed by the Attorney General “must,” as he noted, “comply with the regulations, procedures, and policies of the department.” The alumni published their statement here.  

As the Alumni explained, not only do the Department’s rules not prohibit the prosecution of a candidate for office, they require that politics play no role in whether a case goes forward and how it is resolved. As they wrote, “the Department’s mission to ensure equal justice for all rests on the principle that no one – no matter how powerful – is above the law. Thus, the Principles of Federal Prosecution explicitly provide that political considerations should have no role in a prosecutor’s investigative or charging decisions. Rather, the only relevant considerations are the facts, the law, and whether a prosecution vindicates a federal interest as described in the Justice Manual…For these reasons, Donald Trump’s announcement of his candidacy for the presidency should have no bearing on the department’s investigations or the weighing of the charges against him.”

The alumni noted that the department would violate its rules by standing down now simply because Trump is now a candidate, rather than continuing the ongoing investigations. “Any other result would undermine our democratic system of government by politicizing law enforcement…and create dangerous incentives for those seeking our highest elected office. Pursuit of the presidency must be about serving the American people, not shielding a candidate from accountability for wrongdoing.”  

The alumni concluded by urging the Attorney General and the special counsel to continue to pursue the Attorney General’s pledge to “apply[] the law evenly, without fear or favor,” calling it “exactly the correct approach.”

The signatories comprise individuals who have served in both career and high-ranking politically-appointed positions in administrations from Eisenhower to Trump. Many had careers that spanned multiple decades in multiple administrations. 

Their full statement can be read here.  

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