A Way for Trump to Drain the Swamp

When you enter the Everglades, you know you'll find alligators and pythons.  You just don't know how many.  And no matter where you are, you can see only a few that are close to you. There can be an alligator right under your boat that you never see, because it can stay submerged for half an hour.  The snake may be back in its hole.  The only way to get them all is to blanket thousands of square miles with millions of hunters.

D.C. is not at all different.  As we are learning from the Ukraine leaks, someone with a security clearance and an ax to grind has been hiding in plain sight close to the president.  He's not the only one.  Unfortunately, with few true allies, Donald Trump is necessarily walking with blinders on.  He needs all the help he can get.  And his help is ready and waiting, just waiting to have the shackles removed.

Judicial Watch has just released the contents of former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein's emails, including this bombshell that will be ignored by CNN.

"The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions" and "off the record" emails with major media outlets around the date of Mueller's appointment.

Judicial Watch got those communications only after a lawsuit that followed the DOJ's failure to respond to a September 21, 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  Notice that there were no classified bits in the information released.  Rather, the email revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was violating DOJ policy.  In fact, he and Mueller cooked up the special prosecutor gig as a way to paralyze Donald Trump's administration.

Rosenstein was appointed by Donald Trump.  It's clear that he did not represent himself to the president in an honest way and was able to hide his biases long enough to get himself installed in a place where he could harass the president under color of law.  In short, he's a fraud.  And it's clear he's not the only one.  Acting DHS Secretary McAleenan is now openly opposing the president, primarily because DHS is required to use the legally correct term "illegal alien."

If the president is willing, he can empower multiple watchdogs to fill the swamp with eyes.  They may not catch every gator or snake, but they'll get enough to drive the rest underground, where they will have difficulty harming us.  The good part is that it can be part of his transparency initiatives, and it won't require any legislative moves.  It will be a directive on enforcing existing law.

One of the president's personal attorneys is Jay Sekulow, founder of the American Center for Law and Justice, a watchdog group.  The ACLJ has filed many FOIA lawsuits after being stymied by bureaucrats hiding information that is not properly privilege, but would be highly embarrassing or may even demonstrate illegality.  Judicial Watch had to go to court to reveal the existence of Hillary Clinton's illegal email server.  The list goes on.  And every hidden corner serves someone who hates transparency.  If President Trump would task Jay Sekulow with drafting the proper executive order, a lot of swamp critters would be exposed, and much of their mischief would be eliminated.  The order would follow this general outline.

As I said, many FOIA requests are deep-sixed by bureaucrats who either don't want to do their jobs or don't want wrongdoing exposed.  Their obstruction makes the requesters go to court to pry the information loose.  That takes time and money that should not be wasted.  So the E.O. first needs to establish an office within the White House that reviews every FOIA that was rejected but made public by a Court Order.  If that refusal to honor the FOIA was without merit, then the officer who did not honor it should be fired by presidential order.

The first person who is fired will have Democrat lawyers standing by to contest the firing under civil service rules.  So the president can keep the person on the payroll but assign him to a "rubber room."  Security clearances are entirely discretionary.  The president is the ultimate classification authority, and under Article II, he cannot be questioned.  So the officer's security clearance will be suspended.  Notice that it is not revoked.  But the suspension blocks the bad guy's access to most information.

Second, the miscreant will be reassigned to a non-position, where he has no duties and no office.  All passwords and IDs will be suspended.  His pay and benefits can continue during the pendancy of the case, but he will no longer be in a position to cause harm.  He can even be prohibited from entering any government office work area.  As a final note, he will be issued an administrative gag order.  This can be enforced, since he is still a government employee.  In short, he will suffer no injury, since he will still be employed and paid at his prior rate, but in the Pit of Misery.  He will become unable to cause further injury to the administration.  Of course, should he quit over this, the problem goes away.

This method of "non-firing" is designed to work around civil service rules and appeals.  But ultimately, the entire civil service system is unconstitutional, since Article II opens with "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."  That means that every decision on hiring, firing, job description, security clearance, and so on is strictly at the pleasure of the president.  The Left hates the "unitary executive" theory, but it's the only way to read that sentence.

The E.O. must continue.  In every department, FOIAs must be made the highest priority.  This means that manpower will be diverted from harmful activities to serving the public.  Further, the inspector general of each department must review all FOIA declinations.  Should a declination or redaction be legally frivolous, the I.G. must issue a correction and allow the FOIA to fulfilled.  The bureaucrat refusing to comply with the FOIA law must be referred for termination.  Should a FOIA denial or redaction be less clear, then alternate measures should be used to assess the propriety of denial or redaction.

As soon as a few bureaucrats lose their jobs for refusing to honor the law, others will fall in line.  FOIAs will flow to watchdog groups.  When those reveal criminality, referrals to the I.G. or DOJ will lead to prosecutions.  In short, by forcing bureaucrats to operate in the sunshine, agencies will move toward doing their jobs and away from harming America.

At the same time, many denizens of the swamp will find their existence most miserable.  As Donald Trump said at his inaugural, this "will be remembered as the day when the people became the rulers of this nation again."

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr (cropped).

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