On that score, Judge Walton took pains to decry the fusillade of tweets directed at McCabe by President Trump. I must note here that if a district U.S. attorney publicly labeled as a liar a suspect the Justice Department had indicted for false statements, that U.S. attorney would be sanctioned by the court. The U.S. attorneys, like the rest of the Justice Department, work for Trump. The president is correct when he insists, as he did this week, that he has the constitutional power to intervene in Justice Department matters. But that means he is subject to the same legal obligations that inhibit his Justice Department subordinates. Those obligations include protecting McCabe’s right to a fair trial — a duty the president may chafe at, but which is part of the deal when you take an oath to preserve the Constitution and execute the laws faithfully.

If you envision Judge Walton as part of the Obama-appointed robed resistance, check your premises. He is a no-nonsense jurist originally named to the D.C. Superior Court by President Reagan, and then to the federal district court by President George W. Bush. As Politico reports, he had this to say about President Trump’s commentary on the McCabe investigation:

“The public is listening to what’s going on, and I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. . . . I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road. . . . I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undo inappropriate pressure being brought to bear. . . . It’s just, it’s very disturbing that we’re in the mess that we’re in in that regard. . . . I just think the integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government. . . . I think it’s very unfortunate. And I think as a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.”