In the famed five stages of grief, denial and anger come before acceptance.
It's unclear where President Trump is, exactly, in his understanding of the separation of powers, but this week it was clear he was still having some issues with the concept. On Friday morning, Trump took to Twitter to restate his anger at his vanquished 2016 election opponent, Hillary Clinton.
"Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems.." he tweeted. "....People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!"
Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
....People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
Some on Twitter reacted with alarm, interpreting Trump's comments to mean that he would charge his political opponents with crimes, which the separation between the executive and judicial branches is designed to prevent.
The president seemed to reinforce this theme in an interview on Thursday, in which he lamented not being able to control the FBI and CIA, which are investigating current and former members of his campaign for collusion with Russia. “The saddest thing,” Trump said on WBAL radio, “is because I’m the president of the United States, I’m not supposed to be involved in the Justice Department.”
It's unclear if Trump is truly dialing up threats or has become resigned to his place in the branches of government. "On one level, Trump’s petulant tweets about the need for the FBI and DOJ to listen to public outcry and start going after 'Crooked Hillary' are just that: petulant," writes Dara Lind at Vox. "But there’s also the more sinister possibility that Trump is trying to use his public platform to make the FBI, and the ongoing Mueller investigator, to feel public and congressional pressure to reopen their case against Clinton. That is also not how the federal government is supposed to work. The DOJ doesn’t poll the public about which cases it should open."
It's clear that things are still highly abnormal. Tweeted David Frum of the Atlantic on Friday: "President Trump is changing us. Had any predecessor said the things about FBI Trump said this AM, the country would have been convulsed."