The following commentary by the Editorial Board was posted on the Washington Post website December 5, 2017:
GIVEN HOW far President Trump strays from the norms of democratic rhetoric, we think it useful from time to time to recall how a more presidential president might speak. This is another such time. Following the guilty plea of former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the special counsel investigation, Mr. Trump’s lawyer said a president cannot be found guilty of obstruction of justice, and Mr. Trump himself has been attacking federal law enforcement:
“Many people in our Country are asking what the ‘Justice’ Department is going to do about the fact that totally Crooked Hillary, AFTER receiving a subpoena from the United States Congress, deleted and ‘acid washed’ 33,000 Emails? No justice!”
“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.”
Here is what a presidential president might have said:
“I have the greatest respect for the men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department, who every day serve their country with honor — and at times put their lives on the line to do so. Because I am a subject of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, it would be improper for me to comment on the specifics of the special counsel’s work. But in this heated political environment, I feel it’s important to emphasize my faith in the honesty and integrity of federal law enforcement.
“Justice must be served regarding any wrongdoing that took place during the election or the transition to my administration — the American people deserve nothing less. That’s why I’ve pledged my full cooperation with Mr. Mueller. I give my word that the special counsel will be able to continue his probe without political interference of any kind, and I ask my supporters and fellow Republicans equally to pledge the same.
“I am confident that the special counsel will proceed with the utmost honesty and care. When an agent was discovered to have sent political text messages during the election, Mr. Mueller seems to have moved expeditiously to remove him from his team. I’m confident that the Office of the Inspector General will address this matter professionally as part of its investigation into the bureau’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
“I often think back to the words of my former Drug Enforcement Administration chief, Chuck Rosenberg, to his staff: ‘The neighborhoods in which we live are better for your commitment to the rule of law, dedication to the cause of justice, and perseverance in the face of adversity.’ That applies equally to all of our law enforcement professionals. I thank you for what you do every day.
“The rule of law is the foundation of our democracy. It is particularly important that I, as the president, be answerable both to the demands of justice and to the public. That’s true in my official actions — which is why I’ve rejected as utterly outlandish a proposal to establish a private-sector intelligence apparatus outside the usual structures of accountability. And it’s true regarding my conduct during the campaign and transition.
“In our great country, no person is above the law. In fact, that’s one of the attributes that makes our country great.”