Preet Bharara is the former U. S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Christine Todd Whitman, president of the Whitman Strategy Group, was administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and governor of New Jersey. They are co-chairs of the National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy housed at the Brennan Center for Justice.
Regardless of President Trump’s fate in the impeachment inquiry, his presidency has exposed serious fissures in our system of government that require repair — especially when it comes to the integrity of government research. Nothing illustrates that better than “SharpieGate,” an absurd incident in early September during which the White House reportedly ordered top weather officials to back the president’s claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama.
This isn’t the first time this administration has retaliated against scientists for doing their jobs. The Agriculture Department recently decided to relocate an entire staff of career economists from Washington to the Kansas City area after they published reports on the financial harms of Trump’s trade policies. The Interior Department moved a climate scientist to an accounting role after he stressed the dangers of climate change to Alaska’s Native communities. A recent tally by the Union of Concerned Scientists listed more than 120 attacks on science by the Trump administration.