The President of the United States, Donald Trump, recently made the news when he said during a Univision interview that he could weaponize the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) against his enemies. The comments have concerned citizens and legal professionals all over the country, as some consider it a misuse of power.
The interview began with a question about the 2020 election and whether Trump was bothered by losing the popular vote. The President then pivoted to comment on his enemies, saying, “I have the power of the presidency, and that’s a tremendous power. I have the power to weaponize Henry Kissinger, weaponize the FBI, weaponize the DOJ, weaponize people and I think it’s a very sad commentary.”
In response to the statement, many people were concerned that these remarks showed President Trump overstepping reasonable limits of presidential authority. Critics believe that these comments imply he could use the federal agencies for his own agenda. It goes against the purpose of these organizations, which is to investigate and combat criminal activities.
In addition, there is an inherent conflict of interest in allowing the President to “weaponize” federal agencies— primarily because it undermines the public’s trust that laws are being applied fairly and uniformly. By combining the power of the presidency and federal agencies, it allows the President to pursue his own political and personal adversaries and obstruct justice.
The more immediate concern is that these comments bypass the nomination and confirmation process for these roles, which is an essential part of our democratic system. The Senate must approve any nominee and give them a vote of confidence before they can take office. By suggestion, President Trump has made clear that he seeks to subvert this process.
Overall, President Trump’s statement to weaponize federal agencies is concerning for those concerned with the appropriate use of the presidency and its role in enforcing the law. It would be wise for all citizens to take note of this potential abuse of power and to strongly oppose it.