Rebecca Roiphe is a professor at New York Law School. She writes on prosecutorial ethics and the history of professions in American democracy. Her most recent, co-authored article is, “Can the President Control the Department of Justice?” (May 2018)

Follow Rebecca Roiphe on Twitter: @rroiphe.

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Can the Rule of Law Survive Trump?

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein flanking Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused from the Russia investigation, and then acting Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, subsequently fired, at a Department of Justice news conference, Washington, D.C., July 20, 2017

Of all the rule-of-law norms that Trump has set his sights on, the notion of prosecutorial independence—a tradition that dates back to before the founding—may be the most vulnerable at the moment. While Rosenstein and Mueller are currently the most visible guardians of prosecutorial independence, there are civil servants who are doing their jobs with respect for the norms and practices that define them. These are men and women devoted not to a boss who directs them but to a professional mission defined by centuries of tradition.