Trump has recently sought to punish witnesses in his impeachment trial, publicly intervened in a pending legal case to urge leniency for a friend, attacked a federal judge, accuse a juror of bias and threaten to sue his own government for investigating him.
Trump defended his actions, saying he has the right to shape the country’s legal systems as he sees fit. “I’m allowed to be totally involved,” he told reporters as he left Washington on Tuesday for a trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country. But I’ve chosen not to be involved.”
The president’s post-impeachment behavior has alarmed Attorney General William Barr, who has told people close to the president that he is willing to quit unless Trump stops publicly commenting on ongoing criminal matters. It also has appalled several legal experts and former officials, who have said his direct intervention in legal matters risks further politicizing law enforcement at a time of fraying confidence in the Justice Department.