Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance still has as her pinned tweet a talisman from another political era, a story of the first time she and her prosecutor peers met with Barack Obama that quotes the President at the meeting:
“I appointed you but you don’t serve me,” Obama reportedly said. “You serve the American people. And I expect you to act with independence & integrity.”
The pinned tweet serves as a backdrop to everything Vance writes about now, covering the intertwined legal and political scene for MSNBC and elsewhere.
Joyce’s Obama story — with its high-minded assertion of the ideal — stands in stark relief to the aggressively politicized judicial landscape of the moment, with prosecutorial independence under legislative assault in Congress and in Georgia.
In Washington, Rep. James Comer is leading indefatigable headhunting expeditions into Special Counsel Jack Smith and the DOJ (and Joe Biden) using his chair status on the House Oversight Committee,
And now GOP lawmakers in Georgia are seeking to sanction Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for her prosecution of former President Donald Trump and 18 alleged co-conspirators in the state’s election meddling case.
In Georgia, State Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch says that Republican leaders want to hold legislative hearings into whether Willis is using “her position in a political manner.”
The first time President Obama met with his US Attorneys, he told us, “I appointed you but you don’t serve me. You serve the American people. And I expect you to act with independence & integrity.” None of us ever forgot that.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) December 29, 2017
Veteran journalist Greg Bluestein in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Gooch’s efforts are “poised to expand, as state and federal lawmakers pursue new efforts to sanction the prosecutor.”
“We believe [Willis] is definitely tainted,” Gooch said, who suggested that he and fellow Republicans could cut Willis’s budget for the case.
On Capitol Hill, MAGA Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greenewant to snip federal funds appropriated to prosecutors — federal and local — who are targeting Trump.
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) August 29, 2023
Vance writes of the current state of the Trump defense scene: “It’s the smell of desperation: attacking prosecutors when a defendant has no defense to stand on.
But in Georgia, it’s being taken to new and dangerous levels. Impossible to view this as anything other than an effort by Georgia GOP to place Trump above the law.”
It’s the smell of desperation: attacking prosecutors when a defendant has no defense to stand on. But in Georgia, it’s being taken to new and dangerous levels. Impossible to view this as anything other then an effort by Georgia GOP to place Trump above the law. https://t.co/PqlwRNEChN
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) August 30, 2023