Despite his Twitter account being briefly offline, President Donald Trump still managed to send out a slew of tweets calling on the Justice Department to go after “Crooked Hillary Clinton” for allegedly “rigging” the Democratic Party’s primary elections.
In one tweet, Trump said that “everybody is asking why the Justice Department” isn’t looking into the matter.
Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
In a separate tweet, Trump cited Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, pejoratively calling her “Pocahontas,” as further evidence of rigged primaries.
Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Of course, it’s difficult to see how Trump could care about any of this. These issues are Democratic Party problems, and the infighting about Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders likely benefited him in the long run. Another tweet of his seems to recognize this — and possibly hope for it to continue going on in the future, calling on Sanders’ supporters to go “apoplectic.”
Bernie Sanders supporters have every right to be apoplectic of the complete theft of the Dem primary by Crooked Hillary!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
The allegations about the DNC “rigging” the primary process was revisited this week by former interim head of the party Donna Brazile, who released an excerpt of her upcoming book on Politico detailing how the system may have favored Clinton more than Sanders.
Those allegations warrant further review, but it is not up to the president to determine that. The Department of Justice is meant to operate independently, especially on political matters, and Trump is not supposed to direct his attorney general or anyone else to investigate such things except in extraordinary circumstances.
And it’s not as if Trump doesn’t know this himself; he acknowledged as much on a radio program Thursday.
“The saddest thing is that because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” he said. "I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI.”
So why is Trump tweeting about it then? It’s purely political strategy. Trump is trying to rile up animosity among Democrats, hoping that his tweets (which he knows will always create news headlines) can distract away from an investigation that’s closing in on his White House.
But many people, including Warren herself, who has also criticized the DNC, aren’t falling for it. Warren tweeted back to Trump, recognizing exactly what he was trying to do.
We shouldn’t be surprised by Trump’s tactics. Most of us are probably used to them by now, but we still cannot become complacent, or allow them to be deemed “normal.”
Trump is fortunate that he’s able to leave for Asia today for a 12-day trip. But questions about his campaign’s involvement with Russia, including what he knew about it, will be waiting for him to answer when he returns.