Andrew Luger is the United States Attorney for Minnesota. Appointed by President Obama at the suggestion of one or the other of Minnesota’s two Democratic Senators, he had no reason to think that his days in office would continue in the Trump administration. When I ran into him in the downtown Minneapolis skyway a few days after the election, I asked him if he knew what he was going to do next. He said he didn’t. He didn’t mention that President-elect Trump might seek his continued service, and it was obvious to me that Trump wouldn’t.
Andy is a liberal Democrat and the position of United States Attorney is a plum appointment. Moreover, as I noted in the Star Tribune column “Islam and Minnesota: Can we hear some straight talk for a change?,” Luger is Exhibit B among the Minnesota public officials who is big into lecturing Minnesotans on “the current wave of Islamophobia.” (Governor Mark Dayton is Exhibit A.)
What is “Islamphobia”? “Islamophobia” is the entirely rational response of citizens concerned about the phenomenon that President Trump is pleased to call “radical Islamic terrorism.” Luger’s office has successfully prosecuted local Somali devotees.
Among other things, Luger has enthusiastically promoted the Minnesota experiment in “Countering Violent Extremism.” The program goes under the name “Building Community Resilience,” another classic euphemism of the Obama era. When it came to combating terrorism, the Obama administration was never short of euphemisms.
Building Community Resilience is to funnel cash to programs supporting Minnesota’s Somali community. The memorandum of understanding signed by Luger and Minnesota Somali community leaders reflects the wariness of Somali-Minnesotans. It stipulates that the program will not be used for surveillance purposes by any law enforcement agency or by any person working for or on behalf of any law enforcement agency.
According to Luger’s office: “Building Community Resilience includes a call for expanded youth programming, mentoring opportunities, higher education scholarships, new job opportunities and training, and increased engagement between religious leaders and Somali youth.”
Call me crazy, as I wrote in the linked Star Tribune column, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say we would be better off without Building Community Resilience.
Luger is also a poor fit to serve as a United States Attorney under President Trump. Luger is nevertheless one of the 46 incumbent United States Attorneys who hadn’t gotten around to submitting his resignation following the election and inauguration of Trump as president. Yesterday Luger submitted his resignation in response to the request of Attorney General Sessions.
The Star Tribune makes an anti-Trump story out of business as usual. Stephen Montemayor makes something out of nothing in “Minnesota’s U.S. Attorney resigns in sweep of Obmaa holdovers.”
To make something out of nothing, Montemayor turns to Senator Klobuchar: “Klobuchar said she will campaign for Luger to be renominated and has already spoken to Sessions and his deputy attorney general about Luger’s work. ‘His professionalism is so much bigger than any partisan decision,’ she said.”
That’s very touching. Montemayor doesn’t bother to note how little weight Klobuchar’s assessment should be given by Attorney General Sessions. Klobuchar was of course one of the Democratic Klowns who voted against Sessions’s confirmation, as she did nine other of Trump’s cabinet appointees.
That applies even more so to Senator Franken, to whom Montemayor also turns. Franken called Luger “a dedicated public servant who has served the people of Minnesota with distinction” and also vowed to “strongly urge the new administration to renominate him to this post.”
Yes, Franken’s urging will go far with Sessions. Franken of course served as the leader of the Democratic opposition to Sessions’s confirmation in the Judiciary Committee. Now Franken accuses Sessions of perjury.
For those who need to brush up on ancient history — Montemayor offers his readers no help — the New York Times has posted a useful tabulation of the votes of Democratic Senators on Trump’s cabinet nominees.
Reading Montemayor quoting Klobuchar and Franken on Luger’s resignation, I wonder. How stupid do they think we are? That question is addressed to Montemayor as well as Klobuchar and Franken.
Well, I could go on. Montemayor cites “legal experts” raising questions about the difficulties facing the office after Luger. How will they carry on?
Montemayor was apparently unable to find a single source worthy of quotation to support the office’s transition to a Republican United States Attorney. I’m going to go out on a limb one more time and say I don’t think he tried very hard.
And don’t even ask me about Tom Heffelfinger, one of the 93 United States Attorneys whose resignation President Clinton sought in 1993 (along with that of Sessions himself) and one of the eight whose President Bush sought in his second term. Montemayor quotes Heffelfinger: “This is not good.”
Readers seeking an explanation for adults may want to turn to former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew McCarthy. Andy explains what is happening for intelligent readers in his weekly NRO column this morning. Quotable quote: “It is only natural, then, that a president will want his power wielded by his own appointees, whom he trusts to carry out his policy program. And it thus follows that, when there is a transition between administrations that see the world, and the Justice Department’s role in it, as differently as the Obama and Trump administrations, there will be sweeping turnover, carried out rapidly. That is as it should be.”