Trump’s DOJ functioned as a cross between 'The Apprentice' and Nazi Germany: Former legal staffer

Trump’s DOJ functioned as a cross between 'The Apprentice' and Nazi Germany: Former legal staffer
Image via Wikipedia.

A former Justice Department attorney compared her service under President Donald Trump as somewhere in between Nazi Germany and “The Apprentice.”


Erica Newland went to work at the Department of Justice in the summer before the 2016 election, and stayed under Trump because she liked her colleagues and believed she could make a difference — but soon learned an uncomfortable truth about herself, reported The Atlantic.

“I guess I know what kind [of German bureaucrat] I would have been,” Newland said, imagining how she might have served in the 1930s. “I would have stayed in the Nazi administration initially and then fled.”

She lasted in Trump’s government until October 2018, when an anti-Semitic extremist killed 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, and that same week her colleagues at the Office of Legal Counsel were tasked with justifying Trump’s order to refuse all asylum claims at the southern border — mirroring language the gunman had used against foreign “invaders.”

Newland, who is Jewish, recalled an exchange she had with a supervisor who often reminded staffers they worked for the president by saying, “We’re just following orders.”

“I know that’s what the Nazis said,” he once told Newland, “but we’re not Nazis.”

Newland often felt that she and her colleagues were using their legal skills to save the president from his own lies and ignorance of the Constitution, and she recognized something of herself when reading that producers on “The Apprentice” reality show had to edit Trump’s decisions to make them seem coherent.

“There was hardly any respect for the other departments of government — not for the lower courts, not for Congress, and certainly not for the bureaucracy, for professionalism, for facts or the truth,” Newland told The Atlantic. “Corruption is the right word for this. It doesn’t have to be pay-to-play to be corrupt. It’s a departure from the oath.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.