Donald Trump v. The Rule Of Law

Donald Trump spent part of Labor Day engaged in yet another unhinged attack on his own Justice Department.

While most of America was marking Labor Day, the President took to Twitter to attack his Justice Department again. Instead of focusing on the Russia investigation, though, the President criticized the decision to bring charges against two top Republican Members of Congress, a move that potentially makes two previously safe Republican seats vulnerable in November:

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday attacked Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, over the Justice Department’s decision to bring criminal charges against two Republican congressmen ahead of the midterm elections, linking the department’s actions with his party’s political fate.

In a pair of tweets sent midafternoon, Mr. Trump suggested that the Justice Department should not have brought charges against two “very popular” Republican lawmakers running for re-election so close to November because it could jeopardize the party’s control of the House.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.”

In another tweet, he suggested that Mr. Sessions, a former senator who was one of Mr. Trump’s only vocal defenders early in his campaign, had fallen into favor with Democrats after the charges were delivered.

(…)

Mr. Trump has frequently berated Mr. Sessions and publicly questioned his judgment since the attorney general’s decision in March 2017 to recuse himself from the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia.

Until Monday, Mr. Trump had not so overtly tied the Justice Department’s responsibility for pursuing charges against alleged criminals with Republicans’ election prospects.

Last week, it even appeared that Mr. Trump would stop publicly toying with the idea of removing Mr. Sessions until after the midterm elections.

“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office last week. “I do question what Jeff is doing.”

By calling it the “Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Mr. Trump put even more distance between himself and the country’s top law enforcement organization, which is investigating members of his inner circle and his business dealings.

Those inquiries are being conducted by the United States attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York and by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian election interference and any ties to the Trump campaign.

Mr. Trump’s tweets — sent from the White House on a searingly hot day that kept him from departing for his nearby Virginia golf course — criticized indictments that fall well within the Justice Department’s window for bringing charges during an election cycle.

(…)

The Justice Department declined to comment. After Mr. Trump attacked the department, its methods and the outcome of its cases last month, in the wake of prosecutors’ securing a guilty plea from Mr. Cohen and a guilty verdict for the president’s former campaign manager, Mr. Sessions issued a rare rebuke.

“While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations,” Mr. Sessions said in his statement. “No nation has a more talented, more dedicated group of law enforcement investigators and prosecutors than the United States.”

Here are the Trump Tweets in question:

The President’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who has been sharply critical of the President in the past:

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) rebuked President Trump’s latest attack against the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, warning Trump that the United States “is not some banana republic.”

Sasse condemned Trump’s tweets Monday afternoon in which the president criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions for pursuing criminal charges against two GOP congressmen.

Trump argued that Sessions should have taken into account the political ramifications of pursuing the cases against GOP Reps. Chris Collins (N.Y.) and Duncan Hunter (Calif.), who were both early backers of Trump.

“The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice – one for the majority party and one for the minority party,” Sasse responded in a statement.

“These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the President was when the investigations began,” he continued.

“Instead of commenting on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, the job of the President of the United States is to defend the Constitution and protect the impartial administration of justice.”

Trump earlier Monday took to Twitter to attack Sessions over charges brought against Collins and Hunter last month. The president suggested that Sessions had damaged the GOP’s chances of retaining the seats in the November elections.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump tweeted.

“Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff,” he continued.

Sasse, who has vocally criticized Trump in the past on certain issues, also came to Sessions’s defense last month after Trump lashed out at the attorney general. Sasse said at the time that he has warned Trump that firing Sessions ”would be a very, very, very bad idea.”

Trump is, of course, referring to the indictments handed down against Congressman Chris Collins of New York and Congressman Duncan Hunter of California. In the Collins case, the Congressman, who announced shortly after his indictment that he was suspending his re-election campaign and apparently retiring from Congressman at the end of his current term, was indicted on securities fraud charges alleging that he passed insider information regarding a pharmaceutical company on whose board he served on to his son, who went on to sell his shares before derogatory information about the company was released. In the Hunter case, the Congressman and his wife, who served as his campaign manager, are accused of embezzling more than a quarter-million dollars from campaign funds to pay for campaign funds. Initially, at least, Hunter claimed that the charges were part of some “Deep State” conspiracy against him and later sought to blame his wife for the entire affair, although he seems to have backed down from that particular defense over the past week. Perhaps most notable is the fact that Collins and Hunter were among the first members of the House of Representatives to endorse Trump’s campaign during the run for the Republican nomination.

In the Collins case particularly, Trump’s criticism is utterly absurd. In that case, it’s clear that, while Collins and his involvement in a controversial pharmaceutical company may have been under investigation prior to the time that Donald Trump took office, the acts that led to the charges against him all took place after Trump took office and after Trump’s own appointees were in office. In fact, the indictment in the Collins case alleges that the Congressman was exchanging text messages with his son about the failure of the key drug being developed by this company while standing on the South Lawn of the White House during last year’s Congressional Barbeque at the White House. There is even video available in which Collins can be seen furiously tapping away on his phone while standing in a crowd of other Members of Congress and their families. As it turned out, those messages were to his son and were illegally informing him of the fact that the drug had failed its latest Food and Drug Administration trial, a fact that would lead the FDA to refuse to certify the drug for use and would obviously cause the value of the company’s stock to crash. In response to the news received from his father, the younger Collins immediately sold the vast majority of his shares. Thus, it was because of illegal acts committed while Trump was President and Trump’s appointees were in charge of the Justice Department that Collins was indicted, to begin with.

In the Hunter case, the illegal use of campaign funds alleged in the indictment occurred both before and after Donald Trump became President. However, as with the Collins prosecution, the case was investigated and the charges brought under the supervision of Justice Department personnel and a U.S. Attorney appointed by President Trump and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. The idea that these charges, or those against Collins, are part of some sort of political vendetta is therefore utterly absurd. Of course, absurd is par for the course with this President so I suppose it’s not surprising.

Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times note that the President is treading on dangerous ground:

Mr. Trump’s suggestion would have been a major scandal under any other president, veterans of past administrations said. “His interference in an ongoing criminal investigation may be the single most shocking thing he’s done as president,” said Walter E. Dellinger, a former acting solicitor general under President Bill Clinton.

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican who has been among the president’s most outspoken critics in his own party, had the same reaction. “Those who study this kind of thing say it’s a lot more evidence for abuse of power or obstruction,” he said. “I just know it’s not healthy for the institutions of government to have the president want to use the Department of Justice that way.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, likewise criticized the president’s comments. “I’m looking at them just as you are looking at them,” she told reporters. “I thought that yesterday’s comments were not appropriate and they upset me.”

Asked if Mr. Trump was only feeding Democrats’ interest in impeachment, she said: “I have no idea what he is doing. I have no idea what he is thinking.”

Other Republicans avoided commenting or seemed less concerned. “I have no reason to believe these prosecutions are politically motivated,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “I think it was a comment not designed to obstruct justice but in my view, not appropriate.”

As absurd as they are, the President’s attacks are also exceedingly dangerous. As with his previous attacks on the Justice Department and the Russia investigation, these comments are yet another example of the utter contempt that this President obviously has for the Rule of Law and the importance of the division between politics and the law enforcement that has been part of our political system from the start and which are currently being tested in a manner unseen since the days of Watergate. We saw this both during the campaign and after he became President, so this latest attack does not come as much of a surprise. Although that covers only roughly three years of history, it is replete with examples of how this President has sought to act more like one of the authoritarian rulers he clearly admires than the President of a representative democratic republic.

The most prominent example of that contempt, of course, has been his consistent attempts to undermine the investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Congress, an effort that his fellow Republicans are only too happy to help him with for the most part. In addition to the investigation, Trump has also attacked the Rule of Law when it impacts him personally. In the wake of the numerous occasions on which Federal Courts around the country have put Administration policies such as the Muslim Travel Ban, the effort to ban transgender Americans from openly serving in the military, his efforts to undo the DACA programs, and his attacks on the Tenth Amendment rights of the states by punishing so-called “sanctuary cities,” Trump has repeatedly attacked the courts and the court system. In addition to these examples, the President has also tweeted his support for the death penalty for Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the Halloween 2017 attack in New York City, saying on Twitter that he “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY.” Trump also commented on the sentence handed down in the case of Bowe Bergdahl, who received a Dishonorable Discharge and reduction in rank to Private after pleading guilty to walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 before being captured by the Taliban. In the past, of course, Trump had referred to Bergdahl as a “dirty, rotten traitor,” and as a “traitor” who should be executed for his crimes while a candidate for President, and said he stood by those comments shortly after Bergdahl pled guilty. In each of these incidents and others, Trump has shown his contempt for courts, for Judges, and for the legal system generally.

There was a preview of all of this, of course, during the campaign two years ago when he attacked the Federal District Court Judge who was presiding over the fraud lawsuits against him and his now defunct business venture “Trump University.” In those attacks, Trump referred to the Judge, Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California as a “Mexican”notwithstanding the fact that he was born in Indiana, contended that his ‘Mexican heritage’ created some sort of conflict of interest, and claimed that Curiel was “biased” and “unfair.”  In retrospect, it’s clear that Trump’s attacks were related to Judge Curiel’s decision to authorize the release of documents related to the ongoing lawsuit, documents that clearly show the extent to which Trump’s so-called “University” was little more than a fraudulent marketing scheme. In reality, though, an examination of Judge Curiel’s rulings in the case demonstrated no evidence of the bias Trump alleged.

Back when Trump was still just a candidate, I made note of his obvious contempt for the Rule of Law:

Based both on his rhetoric and his actions, Donald Trump gives the impression of being a President who sees himself as  unconstrained by the law or the other branches of Government in the tradition of Jackson or Richard Nixon, both of whom set off Constitutional crises from which it took the nation years to recover. As in the case of those two previous Presidents, he would likely justify his actions by appealing to the same populist, anti-establishment rhetoric that has fueled his campaign from the start. The difference is that, this time, he would be President of the United States and his rhetoric would be tied to action that could do real damage to the Rule of Law and to the Constitution. Furthermore, unlike any of his predecessors, Trump seems to have command over a mob of supporters that would rush to his defense even when he was clearly wrong. This is why the arguments that equate Trump to the European far right, and even to fascists and authoritarians of the past, are completely on the mark. Either Donald Trump is lying to his supporters or he is the kind of man who cannot be trusted with political power even in a Constitutionally limited democratic republic. Under the circumstances, it would be foolish for anyone to believe that this is all a big con on Trump’s part, and much safer to assume that he quite simply cannot be trusted with political power.

Those comments remain as true today as they were in 2016. In essence, in his tweets on Monday the President suggested that the Justice Department should not have gone after Collins and Hunter, both of whom appear to have committed serious violations of the law, for what amount to purely political reasons. This comes at the same time that he continues to suggest, as do many of his followers, that the Justice Department needs to reopen its investigation of Hillary Clinton and her campaign for President, going so far as to suggest that it was her campaign that was colluding with the Russians not his and that her campaign was working in concert with the Obama Administration to undermine the Trump campaign. There is, of course, absolutely no evidence to support this accusation but that has not stopped the President and his supporters from making the claim. As others have suggested, this seems to indicate that he continues to view the Justice Department and the entire apparatus of Federal law enforcement as little more than a political tool to be used to attack his enemies and protect his friends. This is not the attitude of the leader of a free nation, it is the attitude of an authoritarian more concerned with maintaining his position of power than abiding by the law. If nothing else, it’s an attitude that makes this President potentially more dangerous as the walls continue to close in on him.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Congress, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    Just so we can recognize it in the future…

    1. Jeff Sessions does not equal the rule of law. The Department of Justice does not equal the rule of law. Criticizing either of them, no matter how wrong you believe those criticisms to be, IS NOT AN ATTACK ON THE RULE OF LAW.

    2. The CIA spying on U.S. Senate staffers and CIA head John Brennan blatantly lying about it while testifying under oath before Congress? That is an attack on the rule of law. Failing to prosecute Brennan for a deliberate and willful act of perjury? Also an attack on the rule of law.

    Hopefully we can avoid this confusion by remembering the difference between example #1 and example #2.

    Mike

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  2. Argon says:

    GOP + Trump = fuck rule of law.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    With apologies to Shakespeare:

    Republicans are but walking shadows, poor players,
    That strut and fret their hour upon the stage,
    And then are heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    eta: the republicans I am referring to are the Sasses, the Corkers, the Murkowskis, etc etc, who are all so disturbed at any particular point on any particular day but can’t be troubled to actually do anything.

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  4. Kathy says:

    Doug, I’m afraid it’s a lot worse than you think.

    El Cheeto Loco thinks of the DOJ, and the whole government, as his personal employees. Therefore they should do as he ways, when he says, and how he says. He doesn’t get the fact that the government is employed by the people, including the president, and he’s a a temp worker subject to evaluation after 4 years.

    I’ve very little good to say about Sessions. There’s nothing good to say about most of his policy choices, either. But he has conducted himself ethically as regards procedure in the DOJ. The recusal from the Russia investigation, for example, was entirely proper.

    And that’s what Trump the Lunatic can’t stand: someone who puts ethics above loyalty to Dear Leader.

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  5. Moosebreath says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    “I am referring to are the Sasses, the Corkers, the Murkowskis, etc etc, who are all so disturbed at any particular point on any particular day but can’t be troubled to actually do anything.”

    This. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s comment about how the country was indebted to former President Grant and would repay the debt in any conceivable inexpensive way.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    Just so we are all clear; you have previously supported serial sexual assault, child molestation, and ongoing Russian attacks on the US.
    Now we find out that, in addition, you are in favor of elected officials, in this country, being able to use law enforcement agencies to attack opponents and protect allies.
    Question: are these staunchly held principles? Or do these principles only apply to your own cult leaders?

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  7. Gustopher says:

    Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) rebuked President Trump’s latest attack against the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, warning Trump that the United States “is not some banana republic.”

    Where is Senator Sasse doing this rebuking? He’s talking to some reporter of fake news, so the President will likely never hear it, and never believe it if he does hear.

    He is having his cake and eating it too.

    If Sasse really cared about this President’s misdeeds, he would be posting his objections in a direct response to Trump on Twitter.

    (I wish I was joking)

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  8. Joe says:

    I think Vox makes a pretty solid case for Trump is making the case for his own impeachment.

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  9. Gustopher says:

    @MBunge:
    1. The President is more constrained than a private citizen — his statements are interpreted as policy. And he isn’t just criticizing Jeff Sessions.

    If he were tweeting “Jeff Sessions blows goats. Sad.” That would be fine.

    If he is tweeting that we should be prosecuting his enemies, and not his supporters, that is not fine.

    2. whataboutism. Not even good whataboutism.

    Do try to do better in the future. You’re getting boring and predictable. Like your beloved President.

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  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “I think it was a comment not designed to obstruct justice but in my view, not appropriate.”

    Get in the bag with the rest of the good, principled Republicans (who are not at all like Trump) and STFU like you’re supposed to.

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  11. grumpy realist says:

    Given that the prosecutors in Hunter’s case claim to have evidence that he used campaign funds to sleaze around with at least five women he wasn’t married to….

    No wonder Trump’s going batsh*t.

    And Bungie shows exactly how much respect he has for the rule of law–that is, none at all.

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  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I think Jon Chait summed this up best:

    Trump Associates Keep Getting Misquoted Questioning Intelligence of Very Stable Genius

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  13. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Gosh, it’s so darn brave of all those Republican Senators to give a soundbite about how horrible this is. I’m sure one of them will get around to going against Trump on actual votes in the Senate any day now. Or filibuster things until he stops his attacks on Justice. Or, you know, anything at all that doesn’t involve looking good to the press while doing jack-s*&*&.

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  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Breaking: The NYTimes just posted an anonymous op-ed from a senior official inside the White House. Dennison may just lose his mind by the end of the week.

    The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.

    The root of the problem is the president’s amorality.

    Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.

    Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&action=click&contentCollection=opinion&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

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  15. Joe says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Holy sh!t. I have no words.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    A wonderful insight into the limitations of the Trumpaloon ‘mind.’ You don’t know the difference between a L.E.O. and the law, either. You make my annoyingly repeated point for me: we are suffering the consequences of a miserably-educated and frankly stupid electorate. A catastrophic voter failure.

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  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    #TraitorTrump’s tiny little brain is gonna ‘splode!

    Can you imagine this happening in the Obama administration? Or any administration, ever? This is end-stage, Nixon wandering the halls drunk talking to portraits, Alexander Haig hiding the nuke codes stuff here.

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  18. Modulo Myself says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The piece shows how delusional followers are. None of that it is true. None of it happened. It’s all posture from followers. It’s like the Nazis in 1944, when they hoped to overthrow Hitler and make a deal with the Allies. I think I read this in Hannah Arendt–supposedly Himmler thought that a bargaining chip for keeping the remaining Nazis in power would be the fact that they spared the Jewish people in Hungary. Completely nuts.

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  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Just looking at the Trumpaloon’s responses here, it reinforces for me that Trump and his minions simply don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand something like the “rule of law”. I’m not being flippant here. I really don’t think Trump and his obsequious toadies have the intellectual firepower to understand that there could be a higher principle other than pure, venal “more for me / less for you”. Their brains solely work on “good for me and my team vs. bad for me and my team”. In the case of Trump himself, of course, “my team” is him and him alone. In the case of the Trumpaloons, “my team” means Trump and other Trumpaloons.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Joe:
    @Michael Reynolds:
    Frankly I’m mixed on this.
    Yes, Dennison’s head is likely to explode. And that’s good.
    But this person should be on the record, and his/her next stop should be in front of an impeachment committee, or a hearing on the 25th Amendment remedy.
    Instead this person is essentially saying that, yeah, we know the guy is fvcking nuts. But we are getting our tax cuts and deregulation and a Supreme Court that will limit a woman’s rights for the next half-century…so to fvck with doing what’s right.
    Anonymous elected officials running the Mad-Kings Gov’t is not my idea of democracy.

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  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I cannot tell you how happy I will be as an American and as a human – and how annoyed I’ll be as a person – if the POS is pushed off the stage while I’m out of the country. Dammit! This happened to me in Watergate. I have a genius for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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  22. Liberal Capitalist says:

    In a recent interview, Fearless Leader POTUS stated that demonstrations should be illegal.

    The context was NFL / kneeling… but this is beyond slippery slope.

    The GOP elected the best dictator they could!

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  23. Pete S says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I am not mixed at all. Maybe in February of 2017 an anonymous column was a courageous step, now it is just a way to make yourself feel better about the catastrophe you are abetting. Put your name behind your opinion and actually do something about the situation, when the president’s standard defense is that anonymous sources aren’t real this is not helpful at all.

    And everyone leave poor Bunge alone. He is just a Republican voter, so he focuses on feelings and emotions (the president was mean to Jeffy) and not hard actions (the president is openly calling for Republican crimes to be ignored in advance of an election). He is probably genuinely incapable of understanding that there are real substantive issues involved because his feelings are all that he can process.

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  24. Joe says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I share your discomfort. But my take is that having an administration run by unelected bureaucrats is only slightly better than having it run by a democratically elected nut job. It’s like getting out of the fire and into the frying pan.

    And how do you work in a White House where one of you wrote and published this? How does this not go into full meltdown (and by appearances it already has).

    And now Trump gets to wash his hands of any bad policy outcomes because now he has hard evidence that he is being actively thwarted by “deep state” or “steady state” or whatever we start calling it.

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  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    I agree completely. But desperate times call for desperate measures. This piece of sht has control of 7,000 nuclear weapons and I find it at least slightly reassuring that at least some of the people who work with him know how unhinged he is.

    This is on the voters. Democracy cannot function when 46% of voters cannot make the easiest fcking human resources hiring decision in history. The American people did this and I’d be optimistic that they’ll learn their lesson, but look at the persistent stupidity of our resident Trumpaloons.

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  26. Scott says:

    Now I loathe Trump as much as the next guy and think he is, has been, and always will be a classless pig but something about this anonymous op-ed really irks me. I think it is because none of these little shits who work in the White House should be there on our tax dollars. Just because they try to “help” the nation by “protecting” us from Trump is not a reason for them to stay there or be paid. Morally and ethically, they are no different or better than Trump himself.

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  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    David Frum regarding the anonymous op-ed:

    Your service in government is valuable. Thank you for it. But it is not so indispensable that it can compensate for the continuing tenure of a president you believe to be amoral, untruthful, irrational, anti-democratic, unpatriotic, and dangerous. Previous generations of Americans have sacrificed fortunes, health, and lives to serve the country. You are asked only to tell the truth aloud and with your name attached.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/

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  28. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    David Frum regarding the anonymous op-ed:

    Very good response.

    In the current climate, doing as Mr. Frum asks means being metaphorically dipped, bleeding, in a tank full of hungry sharks. Notice I say metaphorically. As yet the risk of physical harm, beyond losing a job, is very low.

    Any bets on who the writer is? I’m sure someone is running an analysis on the use of language now. A smart conspirator will change their writing style and turn of phrase, but there’s only so much one can do (I know this first hand; it’s not as easy as it sounds). It would be easier to hide if a group were writing this, or at least it would muddle things more.

    Past that, I will venture to speculate only that it must be someone who’s been there since January 2017 or close to it. With the turnover, this leaves fewer suspects.

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  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I get that they don’t want a “Constitutional crisis,” but my own thought (and why I support keeping Trump in for the full 4 years) is that it is necessary for Trump to be as bad and destructive as possible. The GOP needs to own this, lose bigly, and spend a generation figuring out how to handle the 80-90% (!!!) of GOPers who think he’s just fine, and I’m not convinced that Anonymous gets that–for which I am grateful.

    So, no Constitutional crisis; instead they’ll (hopefully) kill the GOP root and branch. But it is a Hobson’s Choice if ever there was one.

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  30. Scott says:

    Watching CNN just now is just infuriating. Speculation on who wrote the op-ed. And why. Someone wants to be a hero? That they are holding the line? Hmmm. My response to this is what Chris Rock would say: What do you want, a cookie?

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  31. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    That goes beyond rule of law. A good rule of good Democracies is that people that run the government are different than the government as a institution. The members of government should work for the public good, not for themselves.

    That a problem that people noted in Latin America, but everyone thought that was something of the past in the United States.

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  32. Kathy says:

    BTW, between the Woodward book and the editorial today, Uncle Joe would recommend a very bloody purge. No clue what St. Vlad would prescribe (yes, I do).

    I’d keep a watch of who calls or visits El Cheeto these next few hours and days. GOP leaders will no doubt try to keep him from firing Sessions, Rosenstein and Mueller before the midterm elections (no hope any of them will still be around by December, especially if the midterms go really badly for the GOP).

    People won’t disappear, I hope, and there won’t be show trials (America’s just not set up for that), but there will be a purge.

    A smart, Nixon-type, man would do it gradually and quietly. reassigning the “worst” offenders to make-work, meaningless tasks, “promoting” others to meaningless jobs elsewhere in the administration, and only firing or requesting resignations from a few.

    El Cheeto Loco, though, being who he is, may do a Saturday Night Massacre on steroids.

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  33. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kathy:

    El Cheeto Loco, though, being who he is, may do a Saturday Night Massacre on steroids.

    The Night of the Short Fingers.

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  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Gutless weasels.

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  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that another useless Republican would write an editorial/blog post/testify/ ad nauseum proclaiming that he, and other nameless individuals, are SAVING the REPUBLIC!!!!!! without ever sticking their necks out.

    Really, grow some balls you gutless weasels.

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  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    This seems less the ‘resistance’ than a co-dependent justification for supporting a drunk.

    What is the difference between the WH ‘resistance’ and Trump’s enablers in Congress who continue to support him because he advocates policies they support?

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  37. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..Dammit! This happened to me in Watergate. I have a genius for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    So you were in Spain? Did you at least get to see Franco?

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