Rebellion in the U.S. Department of Justice: The First Sign

Donald Trump has triggered the guerrilla warfare in the United States administration.

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued the Executive Order on Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. A refined version appeared on Monday, January 30, on the official White House page.

The Mainstream Media, together with their Left-wing acolytes and part of the anti-Trump Republicans have been trying to present this Executive Order (EO) as a “Muslim ban” with anti-constitutional overtones.

The legal interpretation of the EO (containing 11 sections, on which I will comment at a later date) leads to different conclusions. The document refers to suspension of immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries of particular concern, referred to in Section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) for a period of 90 days from the date of the order. The order excludes the foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas (Section 3 of the EO).

People travelling to the United States during this period of time, coming from “countries of particular concern” (dual citizens, permanent residents, refugees, immigrant- and non-immigrant visa holders) have been and are to be subjected, for reasons of security, to “extreme vetting” at the U.S. ports-of-entry by the customs officials. This has been done in accordance with the current Department of States regulations, according to which “[a] visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.”

In addition, the Trump administration officials offered the necessary clarifications after the EO was issued, including the President, in a Statement Regarding Recent Executive Order Concerning Extreme Vetting.

In spite of all these, on the same Monday, January 30, 2017 acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, announced she would not defend the order. She said she would refuse to put the power of the Department of Justice behind this measure in the courts and she directed lawyers at the department to refrain from trying to defend the order. In a letter to the department attorneys she said she was not “convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”

Yates defied the President’s EO, based on rather moral principles, than legal facts. She also chose not to resign, if her views were in contradiction with the President’s, but rather to confront him. As a result, Trump fired her by a hand-delivered letter in the evening of the same day, and replaced her with Mr. Dana J. Boente (appointed in 2015 by former President Obama as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia), who stated that he would support the order.

The Yates episode was a first sign of rebellion in administration, on the part of Democrats. This was done in order to neutralize the support that the DOJ was supposed to bring for the presidential executive orders against legal challenges.

This “guerrilla action” was supposed to back up, and coordinate with, the keeping of Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, for as long as possible in the confirmation hearings by the Senate Democrats. Sessions eventually assumed office on February 9, 2017.

Unfortunately, Jeff Session himself, after he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, proved to be a big disappointment.

First, on March 2, 2017, without announcing President Trump, Sessions announced that he would recuse himself from any investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, or any other matters related to the 2016 presidential election.

As a result, on May 17, 2017, Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to conduct an investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” as well as any matters arising directly from that investigation and authorized Mueller to bring criminal charges in the event that he discovers any federal crimes.

Second, Session cost President Trump a precious senator seat in Alabama, lost to Democrat Doug Jones in the special election of December 12, 2017., narrowing the Republican Party’s fragile majority they had from 52 to only 51 of the 100 Senate seats.

Third, many expected Jeff Sessions to take a more aggressive stance against the corrupt political elite of Washington, DC, including Hillary Clinton, but Sessions has yet to deliver.

And fourth, more recently, on April 20, 2018, Sessions reportedly told White House that he may quit should President Trump fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, which was the latest in a tense standoff between the White house and the Justice Department.

And the moral of the story is that the Trump administration needs energetic measures  in order to “clean the house” within its various departments and agencies.

The president should not jeopardize his agenda and let his enemies concoct various distractions in order to derail this agenda. To be successful, he needs these measures be performed from top to bottom, not only at the top.


NOTE – A version of the article was published previously in MEDIUM.


Tiberiu Dianu has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC, and can be followed on MEDIUM.




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