Escalation in Calls from Trump and His Supporters for Justice Department Reform Raises Fears for Democratic Institutions

by Sophia Chen
Justice Department Overhaul

Since the unsettling Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol over two years ago, a bipartisan act has been ratified by Congress to seal gaps in the intricate procedure of electing a new president, an effort aimed at thwarting attempts like those of Donald Trump to cling to power post his 2020 electoral defeat.

All candidates who supported Trump’s move to challenge the 2020 election results, vying for pivotal swing-state electoral positions, experienced defeat in the elections held the following year. In the present week, federal prosecutors have lodged four felony charges against Trump due to his participation in the strategy to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Simultaneously, another federal indictment accusing Trump of improperly handling classified data after his term had ended is fueling conservative demands for a Justice Department overhaul.

Such a move is seen as a potential threat to democracy by advocates, particularly if Trump should secure a second term as president.

“The triggers for him to pursue this path will only intensify, and the level of control he might seek over federal law enforcement is an increasing concern,” stated Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College and co-director of Bright Line Watch, an organization that observes democratic practices in the U.S. “Instances from other nations serve as potent reminders of the perils of a political usurpation of law enforcement.”

It’s crucial to acknowledge that other threats to American democracy persist apart from a potential Justice Department takeover. Almost 60% of Republican voters held the false belief that Trump had won the 2020 elections, according to a survey by Big Big News last autumn. This misconception has led millions to cast doubts over voting machines, mail-in voting, and vote tallying, and has even led to death threats against election officials.

Several rural counties have seen the rise of election conspiracy theorists influencing election processes and vote-counting, fostering concerns about more election disorder next year. The certification of election results continues to be a possible pressure point for delaying or discrediting the final result in future elections.

Nevertheless, the accelerating GOP primary has brought to light a new concern — Trump and his allies’ increasing calls for exerting more control over federal prosecutions. Several legal experts have identified this as possibly the most alarming threat to the country’s democratic institutions should Trump or another Republican win the presidency next year.

Currently, although the president has the authority to nominate the Attorney General and other top officials in the Justice Department, the influence over career prosecutors remains limited.

Paul Coggins, a former president of the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys, warned against compromising the independence of the Justice Department, a move he believes would be a colossal error. He noted that federal prosecutors have taken notice of Trump’s recent promises to gain more control over the system.

Indeed, Trump and his conservative allies have insisted that such a move is long overdue, especially considering the prosecutions against him, which they deem as politically driven. After his most recent indictment, Trump vowed to pursue charges against Biden and his family should he be re-elected.

In a Republican Party dinner held in Alabama, Trump reiterated his assertions that the latest criminal charges against him were an unwarranted criminalization of political speech. He labeled the indictment as an act of desperation from Biden and his left-wing supporters to maintain their hold on power.

Trump’s allies, including Russell Vought, his former budget office head, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who was implicated in the attempt to overturn the election, are devising a plan to strengthen control of the federal bureaucracy the next time a Republican is in the White House.

Trump is not the only one advocating for this push, indicating how his contentious perspectives on federal law enforcement have influenced a party traditionally known for advocating law-and-order. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called for a new FBI director on the day the most recent indictment was released, while House Republicans have convened a committee to probe what they term the “weaponization” of federal law enforcement.

Even though some seasoned conservatives have expressed disillusionment with the agency’s recent conduct, there remains skepticism over the feasibility of gaining tighter control over career prosecutors without reforming the civil service system.

In the event of a future Trump presidency, there are concerns about the possible absence of safeguards, as those within the Justice Department previously played a crucial role in resisting Trump’s attempt to remain in power.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson expressed that the fate of future elections is largely in the hands of voters, encouraging Americans to consider the implications of their electoral choices.

Christina A. Cassidy from Atlanta and Gary Fields from Birmingham, Alabama, reporters for Big Big News, have contributed to this report.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Justice Department Overhaul

What actions did Congress take after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack?

Congress passed a bipartisan law to fix gaps in the intricate procedure of presidential elections, particularly to prevent efforts like those of Donald Trump to maintain power after his 2020 electoral loss.

Who were charged for their roles in attempts to overturn the 2020 election?

Federal prosecutors have lodged four felony charges against former President Donald Trump due to his role in the scheme to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Why are conservatives pushing for an overhaul of the U.S. Department of Justice?

An additional federal indictment accusing Trump of mishandling classified information after leaving office is fueling conservative demands for a Justice Department overhaul. Conservatives, including Trump, argue that the department has become too politicized and biased.

What are the potential implications of a Justice Department takeover?

Democracy advocates warn that a takeover could mark a new assault on the U.S. system, especially if Trump should win a second term as president. It could increase political control over federal law enforcement, undermining its independence and possibly faith in the system.

Who are some of Trump’s allies involved in planning for increased control of federal bureaucracy?

Russell Vought, Trump’s former budget office head, and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official implicated in the attempt to overturn the election, are involved in developing a plan to enhance control of federal bureaucracy, including the Department of Justice.

What stance are long-time conservatives taking on the conduct of the Justice Department?

While some conservatives have expressed disillusionment with the agency’s conduct, particularly in pursuing Trump with what they perceive as more intensity than Democrats, they remain skeptical about the feasibility of exerting tighter control over career prosecutors without reforming the civil service system.

More about Justice Department Overhaul

You may also like


FutureFocusedFreddy August 5, 2023 - 6:17 am

ppl we need to vote wisely in the next election, this could change everything

DemocracyDave August 5, 2023 - 1:59 pm

trump again, really? how many times will we go down this road? just let it be already.

John_Doe_1984 August 5, 2023 - 2:19 pm

Trump really never lets up, does he? Always looking for ways to maintain control… Scary stuff!

LibertyLisa August 5, 2023 - 2:39 pm

even with spelling errors, bad punctuation, and missing letters, it’s clear that this is a serious situation… democracy is at stake!

PatriotPam August 5, 2023 - 6:35 pm

They’re always out to get Trump. What about investigating Biden and his son, huh?!

NeutralNed August 6, 2023 - 1:24 am

what’s happening to our democracy, guys? it’s like we’re losing it little by little.

ConstitutionCharlie August 6, 2023 - 2:16 am

DOJ overhaul? not a good idea. its independence is crucial to a functioning democracy.

RedStateRalph August 6, 2023 - 4:02 am

trump’s got a point… justice department’s way too political these days


Leave a Comment

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News