Lawyer John Yoo — yes, that John Yoo, the author of the so-called “Torture Memo” that authorized the CIA in 2002 to use deeply controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques” overseas — thinks President Trump has gone too far.
In an op-ed published in The New York Times on Tuesday, Yoo claims that Trump is overstepping his bounds with the mysterious ousting of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his blind support for the release of a Republican memo that purports to accuse FBI and Justice Department officials of abusing the FISA system to get court permission to surveil his campaign adviser. “By attacking Mr. McCabe and by continuing to attack the FBI, Mr. Trump has clouded an overdue changing of the guard and has provoked resistance to reform efforts,” Yoo writes. “Democrats can now fairly characterize his actions as politically motivated.”
While Yoo agrees that there needs to be a cleanup in the intelligence community, he argues the president’s “impulse to transform every activity of government into a partisan conflict undermines the difficult task.” Yoo adds that the aforementioned episodes with McCabe and the memo “reveal a shortcoming in Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency. He has the constitutional power to push out Mr. McCabe and to release the [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin] Nunes memo. Yet doing so is a serious political misuse of that power.”