"We should note that this is the talk of authoritarians; it shows contempt for the office of the president, whom the Constitution designates to “to take care” that the nation’s laws are faithfully executed. It’s also a frightful peek at what he might do in 2020 should the vote not go his way.
Trump’s appointment of an unqualified, radical political hack, Matthew G. Whitaker, as acting attorney general likewise shows his disdain for the rule of law and proclivity to impede or even crush the Russia probe. We should be worried that he is spoiling for a constitutional crisis that can rally his base.
Trump’s decision to revoke the press pass for Jim Acosta is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. (First Amendment guru Floyd Abrams confirms that CNN and Acosta would have a strong lawsuit, an option reportedly under consideration.) Once more, Trump violates his oath to preserve and protect the Constitution.
Combined with evidence of obstruction of justice and evidence he directed Michael Cohen to violate campaign finance rules, these new actions would be ample grounds for impeachment. However, observe the deafening silence of Republicans — indeed, their noxious attempts to join in calls to foreclose a legally mandated recount. While impeachment in a Democratic House would be both justified and doable, removal by the GOP-controlled Senate would not be remotely possible.
This does not mean the actions should be ignored. To the contrary, congressional oversight should expose the president’s wrongdoing, and the House should certainly sanction him for it. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report should provide avenues for prosecution after Trump leaves office.
However, from a political perspective, Democrats should keep in mind their audience — voters in all those House districts they took back, in the Rust Belt and Upper Midwest where they prevailed in governor and Senate races, in states whose GOP senators are on the ballot in 2020, and every region and demographic group with persuadable Americans. They must hammer away at the simple proposition that Trump is unfit to govern and Republicans who are too afraid to stand up to him cannot be trusted with power.
Meanwhile, the press and the country at large should keep in mind that Trump acts out when he is weak, humiliated and cornered. He’s all those things right now: ..."
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