Because Donald Trump is who he is -- a man who operates on what Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin calls "a low information base" -- the United States is now facing a constitutional crisis. Eugene Robinson writes:
On Sunday, via Twitter, Trump demanded that the Justice Department concoct a transparently political investigation, with the aim of smearing veteran professionals at Justice and the FBI and also throwing mud at the previous administration. Trump’s only rational goal is casting doubt on the probe by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which appears to be closing in.
The pretext Trump seized on is the revelation that FBI source Stefan A. Halper made contact with three Trump campaign associates before the election as part of the FBI’s initial investigation into Russian meddling.
With the full-throated backing of right-wing media, Trump has described this person as a “spy” who was “implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president.” This claim is completely unsupported by the facts as we know them. Trump wants you to believe a lie.
As Robert Mueller closes in, Trump gets increasingly paranoid. The shadow of Richard Nixon looms large:
Now that the Mueller probe has bored into Trump’s inner circle — and federal authorities have raided the homes and office of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen — the president appears to be in a panic. The question is whether he sees this “spy” nonsense as a way to discredit Mueller’s eventual findings, or as a pretext for trying to end the investigation with a bloody purge akin to Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre.”
The Justice Department has declared that the Inspector General will look into the matter. But Trump won't stop until he shuts down the Mueller inquiry -- or until the Congress shuts down Trump. In Nixon's day, there were Republicans who had backbones. These days, the Party is populated by invertebrates.
Trump's manufactured crisis is here -- and he may get away with it.
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