I’ve heard he cannot, but that doesn’t make sense to me. Can’t Trump just start firing people who work for the southern district in New York until they stop doing the investigation into Cohen? He got rid of Preet Bharara, why can’t he just start firing people there? Or fire the head US attorney and appoint a lackey who will shut down the investigation?
Also how many separate criminal investigations that may involve Trump are ongoing? Note, I’m talking about criminal investigations that could affect Trump directly, not civil investigations into the Trump administration (like the attorney generals suing the EPA, or lawsuits between California & the federal government regarding the wall).
Mueller special counsel probe
SDNY probe into Cohen
Schniederman NY attorney general probe into Trump (I don’t know if this has been rolled into the Mueller investigation though)
My understanding is that the President can only directly fire Federal employees who are political appointees, that is, those that are nominated by the administration and who require Senate confirmation. Preet Bharara was in a such a position. The President can’t fire staff members below that level.
On Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, either last night or the night before, she noted that Geoffrey Berman, who was appointed by Trump (or Sessions) on an interim basis to fill Bharara’s former post, is about to have the time limit on his interim position run out. Berman still hasn’t been confirmed to hold the post on an ongoing basis, and he has recused himself from involvement in the Cohen case (for reasons that are not clear).
Maddow hypothesized that Trump would let Berman’s interim window run out, and then appoint someone else to the post, who might then be willing to stop the Cohen prosecution.
He couldn’t fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox directly, he had to ask the Attorney General to do so. And he had to go through several until he found a toady willing to do so; the others resigned rather than do this.
As has been explained several times on these boards before, both Richardson and Ruckleshaus, the AG and Deputy AG who resigned, urged Bork to comply rather than resign himself. They were concerned that if Bork also resigned, Nixon would continue down the list of Justice Department staff until he found someone that would carry out the order, leaving the department bereft of capable leadership. Bork was minded to resign, but was convinced by this line of reasoning – and he believed, correctly, that Nixon’s order was both ill-advised and perfectly legal.
None of this supports the claim that Bork was a “toady.”
Did you know that, and post the above anyway, or is this news to you?
Finding a lackey? Bork was willing, and it came back to bite him (along with his other views). Any lackey would also have to consider the possibility that the fired non-lackeys would take any instructions to stop an investigation to any bar association where the guy lands up later… Can you be a DA if you have your license revoked?
Gorsuch just voted against Trump’s deportation effort. Not everyone you think is on your side is a automaton yes-man.
Can a DA be impeached? Certainly can be called to congress to answer questions about an investigation, especially if it is not ongoing
Of course he can fire him. Colibri was talking specifically about Senate-confirmed political appointees, which you have to be to lead a US Attorney’s office, outside of a recess appointment.
The Chief Usher of the White House isn’t a political appointee. Senior White House staff also serve at the pleasure of the president but don’t generally require Senate confirmation, because their duties are either advisory or administrative.
In the short term, political pressure and congressional oversight. (Larf.) In the long term, the requirement for Senate confirmation.
US Attorneys can get the job via recess appointment, just like any political appointee, without Senate confirmation. But those terms are limited to when Congress next convenes. Or they may just decide to never recess.
There can also be temporary appointments, in which someone in another position who has already been confirmed by the Senate (for that other position) takes the job temporarily. Those things are time-limited by statute (I don’t care to look it up at the moment.) Eventually they have to return to their old job or get a new confirmation.
They can be fired for cause, certainly. But they also have civil service protections that makes it difficult to remove them at will. That said, the boss can simply reassign them to other duties or order them not to pursue a given investigation. Prosecutors are unlikely to take that kind of treatment lying down, but it can certainly throw a wrench into the works.
Notice the use of the word “only.” “[T]he President can only directly fire Federal employees who are political appointees…” So then you agree that there is a class of federal employees that the president can fire who are not political employees or not confirned by the Senate?
I was stating my understanding of the rule as it pertained to the question in the OP. I won’t dispute that there may be some positions under the President’s direct purview who are not subject to Senate confirmation that he can fire directly. But unless you are contending that Trump can fire staff in the southern district of New York who are not political appointees and subject to confirmation, your point isn’t really relevant to the discussion at hand. Your point is taken, but Trump firing the White House Usher probably isn’t going to derail the investigation.