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Is Trump Slowly Killing Democracy?

January 30, 2018 in Blogs

By Heather Digby Parton, Salon

Trump hasn’t staged a coup, and so far our institutions are holding up. But he’s doing more damage every day.

Last week we learned that months ago President Trump ordered his White House counsel, Don McGahn, to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn said he would quit rather than carry out the order, and Trump backed down. Since then there has been a lot of discussion about the president's pattern of obstructing the Russia investigation and his persistent lying and interference. There seems to be a consensus that over the course of the last few months Trump has shown an alarming propensity to abuse his power, but it's still unclear whether there is a clear case that he broke the law. If it can be proven that he has abused his power or broken the law, the one remedy everyone can agree upon — as with any president — is impeachment.

Because the Republican majority in Congress is acting as Trump's accomplices rather than a co-equal branch of government with oversight responsibility and an obligation to defend the Constitution, however, impeachment is highly unlikely. The GOP caucus in both houses is barely keeping up the pretense of investigating Russian interference in the election, and one group of powerful members is trying to create an alternative scandal, accusing top officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice of conspiring to help Hillary Clinton's campaign and destroy the Trump administration. According to The Washington Post, Trump himself has been pushing this operation, telling Chief of Staff John Kelly and supposedly recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions to aid in the effort.

Today those of us who consider ourselves civil libertarians find ourselves in the unusual position of defending law enforcement institutions about which we have deep skepticism, due to their secretiveness and the tremendous power they hold over average Americans. But in this case they're the ones under assault by a rogue group of equally powerful lawmakers and the president of the United States. These elected officials are deeply authoritarian by instinct, ideology and temperament. They are clearly using their authority to undermine the rule of …read more


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