As President Donald Trump and many of his Republican supporters continue to attack the Justice Department, the attorney general is nowhere to be found — and his lack of response is hurting agency morale.
Jack L. Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor and former DOJ counsel under President George W. Bush, told The New York Times that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should be leading the charge to defend the FBI amid GOP allegations of corruption.
“What is unusual is the [FBI] and the Justice Department being attacked, the president leading the charge and the attorney general missing in action,” Goldsmith said. “Why isn’t he sticking up for the department?”
Former and current prosecutors told the Times that Sessions’ “tepid response reflects efforts to appease” Trump at the expense of the department’s resolve.
After the Trump declassified the House GOP’s controversial memo alleging abuse within the DOJ and FBI, Sessions circulated a statement to its employees saying that although he has “great confidence in the men and women of this department,” nonetheless “no department is perfect.”
Current DOJ prosecutors told the Times on condition of anonymity that despite the attorney general’s morale-breaking silence, “they remain optimistic that the institution can withstand political attacks, with or without Mr. Sessions’s public support,” particularly in light of a stronger statement by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“I am determined to defend your integrity and professionalism every day,” the bureau’s director told employees in his own statement. “Talk is cheap; the work you do is what will endure.”