Rogue Federal Prosecutors
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on April 10, 2018; Updated at 4 p.m. EST on April 10, 2018
I do not agree with President Donald Trump on many issues. We are polar opposites in the political world.
One issue where Trump is absolutely right is his observation that federal prosecutors have politicized the law enforcement process. In many instances, they are out of control and accountable to no one. This is especially true where they personally dislike the “target” of their criminal investigations.
Yesterday, FBI agents raided Attorney Michael Cohen’s law office, home, and hotel room in New York. This raid crossed the line. Cohen is Trump’s personal attorney. The raid was the FBI's way of belittling and disrespecting President Trump in front of the nation and the international community.
This is not the first time America has experienced lawlessness inside federal law enforcement agencies. In 1976, the Church Committee (named after U.S. Senator Frank Church) brought this problem to the public’s attention with its Congressional Report about COINTELPRO, the FBI’s official campaign from 1956 to 1971 to smear and harass activists for social justice and equal opportunity in America. During the COINTELPRO campaign, the FBI and other federal agencies routinely lied, cheated, and framed targeted activists.
I have seen this abuse of prosecutorial power during most of my 45-year legal career. Every time I thought this situation was getting better, it only got worse. Today, unelected federal prosecutors act like they have more power than the President of the United States, who happens to be their boss.
The only checks and balances on the lawlessness of federal prosecutors are a handful of brave federal judges and those enlightened jurors who sit in judgment of falsely accused defendants in criminal cases. Nothing else seems to work.
The best chance for reforming this systemic abuse of federal prosecutorial power lies with Donald Trump. He can and should reign in this abuse of power. All Trump has to do is make some heads roll within the Department of Justice in Washington and inside several U.S. Attorney’s Offices. Trump should fire these rogue law enforcement officials in the Oval Office on live TV and have the Secret Service escort each one of them from the White House grounds.
As for me, I do not condone the conduct of prosecutors who cheat to win simply because they can. This is not a partisan issue for me; it is a law enforcement issue.
As a nation, we must not morph into a country where federal prosecutors can intimidate, harass, and abuse ordinary citizens with reckless abandon.
PHOTO: Attorney Michael Cohen with President Donald Trump