Yates was due to retire from Justice within days when she engineered her own firing. It made her an instant heroine and allowed her to denounce Trump at this week’s convention for “trampl[ing] the rule of law, trying to weaponize our Justice Department.” But that’s precisely what she did when she ordered an entire department not to assist the recently elected president – a move which, at the time, even Trump critics described as troubling. She could have resigned but chose to “go rogue,” months before (as Yates recently declared) then-FBI director James Comey went rogue in the Michael Flynn matter. (Comey actually may have learned a lesson from Yates: A good firing can be better than completing a term in office.)
The person who likely would have the greatest influence in recommending the next attorney general is Harris. The Biden campaign lauds Harris as a former prosecutor and California attorney general. However, Harris has a disturbing view of the separation of law and politics. While Trump has been legitimately criticized for demanding prosecutions and improperly commenting on pending cases, Harris has long been accused of the same disregard for legal process.
She campaigned on a pledge to prosecute Trump upon taking office, inspiring “lock him up!” chants at rallies. She publicly called Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson a “murderer” after he was cleared of that charge by state and federal investigators, including a lengthy investigation by the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder. This followed the recantation of eyewitness accounts and the disproving of claims that Michael Brown was shot with his hands up.
Harris has a history of such sentencings before verdicts.