As I said Monday, by demanding that the DoJ investigate the ongoing investigation into the Trump regime, Donald Trump has crossed the Rubicon and is now well into "Here There Be Nixon" territory. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson makes it clear that we've entered the heart of darkness.
Stop waiting for the constitutional crisis that President Trump is sure to provoke. It’s here.
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.
Trump’s power play is a gross misuse of his presidential authority and a dangerous departure from long-standing norms. Strongmen such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin use their justice systems to punish enemies and deflect attention from their own crimes. Presidents of the United States do not — or did not, until Sunday’s tweet:
“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”
Rather than push back and defend the rule of law, Justice tried to mollify the president by at least appearing to give him what he wants. The Republican leadership in Congress has been silent as a mouse. This is how uncrossable lines are crossed.
And it gets worse, not only did Trump meet with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray to directly order something be done about the investigation into his own campaign, he basically ordered that the FBI and DoJ turn over information on the investigation to Republicans in Congress.
The White House brokered an agreement on Monday with intelligence and law enforcement officials that will allow Republican congressional leaders to view some of the most highly classified information related to the Russia investigation, administration officials said.
For months, a small group of lawmakers close to Mr. Trump have been in a pitched fight with the Justice Department over access to some of its most delicate case files, including documents detailing the scope of the Russia investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.
They have trained their focus most recently on access to documents and information related to a secret informant used by F.B.I. agents to gather information from Trump associates who were overseas during the 2016 presidential campaign. Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, has threatened to hold Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who is overseeing the Russia inquiry, in contempt of Congress or to try to impeach him if he does not hand over the material.
Until Monday, intelligence and law enforcement officials had strenuously resisted both demands, saying that the information was highly sensitive and that it was not appropriate to turn over the unredacted material to Congress, where they fear it could potentially become public or be used to undermine Mr. Mueller’s inquiry. They raised some of their concerns in a letter and then in a face-to-face meeting two weeks ago with Mr. Nunes.
It was not clear after Monday’s meeting how much of that information will now be shared with lawmakers and in what form, or who it will be shared with and in what venue. Democrats have typically been given the same access as their Republican counterparts to delicate files related to the case, but officials on Capitol Hill said they had been given few firm details on the apparent agreement.
White House officials said they expect the disclosure to happen quickly, most likely before the end of the week.
This is flat-out banana republic time, guys. All I can say is I hope that Rosenstein playing along is a sign of his confidence in how ironclad the Mueller probe is, because we already know Rep. Devin Nunes will leak anything and everything he's shown.
The real problem is WH Chief of Staff John Kelly getting to see all this information. That's basically letting the mafia don's consigliere sit in on the case meeting between the RICO unit and the DA. It's full-on nuts, and Republicans are going along with it.
These are dark times this week. I expect they will only get far worse.