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The Law-And-Order President Needs His Law-And-Order Attorney General

Among the planks of the platform President Trump was elected on was his promise to be a law-and-order President.  Unlike some of the other planks, that is a promise he has delivered on so far.  Two of Mr. Trump's most important accomplishments six months into his term are the appointments of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.

Yet strangely, Mr. Trump is having second thoughts about the AG appointment, obsessively focusing on the Russia investigation recusal.  Third thoughts are in order.  The Department of Justice is much bigger than that one investigation.  Broader and more lasting decisions are at stake.

As we have discussed many times on this blog, American criminal justice has come a long way since the dark days of the 1980s and early 1990s.  Simply put, getting tough worked.  But that success is in peril.  George Soros and the Koch brothers have been spreading their money on the same side of the ledger for once.  The dangerous myth that our prisons are mostly full of people imprisoned for possession of one joint whom we can safely release has gained far more currency than it deserves.  Jeff Sessions resisted this tide in the Senate, and he continues to resist it at the Department of Justice.  The chances of replacing him with anyone nearly as good are remote.

The political pressure to appoint a special counsel for the Russia kerfuffle was irresistible, and one would have been appointed regardless of whether the AG was recused.  Yet Mr. Trump continues to focus on the single matter that involves him personally rather than the broader issues of greater concern to the ordinary folks who make up his base and put him in office. 

It's not all about you, Mr. President.  There is blood in the streets already, and how much more there will be depends to a considerable extent on how well you keep your promise to be a law-and-order President.  You took an important first step in appointing a law-and-order Attorney General.  Don't go wobbly on us now.

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