President Trump drifted deeper into the authoritarian abyss this morning when he publicly demanded that the Justice Department investigate the author of the controversial New York Times op-ed that has haunted the president’s every waking moment since its publication.
This morning, he spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One and told them that he was “looking into” taking action against the New York Times, according to the pool report:
Should Jeff Sessions investigate?
I think so. It’s national security. I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security.
Should action be taken against NYT?
I’m looking at that right now. It only happened yesterday.
Should something be done to the person who wrote it?
We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about, also where he is right now. Supposing I have a high level national security, and he has got a clearance, we talked about clearances a lot recently, and he goes into a high level meeting concerning China or Russia or North Korea or something. I don’t want him in those meetings.
It’s true that the anonymous op-ed does pose a serious threat to our national security, just not in the way that Trump thinks it does. The op-ed paints a picture of a White House in chaos as a checked-out and uninterested president neglects his duties and his staffers usurp the reins of power behind the scenes.
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Devoid of direction or cohesion, White House officials work to declaw the president’s more destructive impulses while advancing competing agendas behind the scenes. The entire debacle is a recipe for disaster that our nation cannot afford to tolerate.
To make matters worse, it’s appalling to see the president threaten to abuse the power of the Justice Department to wage an internal witch-hunt for disloyal staffers and leakers.
Even now, he is seemingly incapable of grasping that Attorney General Sessions does not exist to serve his every whim, whether the issue at hand is protecting Trump from the Mueller investigation or ferreting out traitors among his own ranks.
The need to retake Congress and put a stop to this absurd havoc festival has never been more pressing.