America's slow but steady shift towards authoritarian pariah status continued this week as the Trump regime took more steps down a dark path. First, Donald Trump's sprawling interview with hate site Breitbart featured open threats against Democrats and those investigating him.
President Donald Trump appeared to insinuate in a recent interview that his supporters -- the police, military and "Bikers for Trump," he claims -- could turn violent against Democrats.
"You know, the left plays a tougher game, it's very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don't play it tougher. OK?" Trump said in an interview with Breitbart News published Wednesday. "I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump -- I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough -- until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."
He added that "the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress."
Several Democrats interpreted the comments as a threat.
"I interpret that kind of comment as a danger to peaceful transition of power in our democracy," Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told CNN's "New Day" on Friday.
In a CNN op-ed, former White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton Joe Lockhart called Trump's remark a "thuggish threat of violence against his critics" and a continuation of Trump's "all-out assault on the basis of our democracy."
Asked about Trump's comment, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told CNN's Chris Cuomo Thursday night that the President "didn't threaten any kind of violence."
"You're just reading into it like you usually do. You have to read the entire interview," she said. "He was talking about how peaceful and gentle many people are who are otherwise tough."
In the same interview, Trump blames then House Speaker Paul Ryan for not allowing House Republicans to subpoena Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials.
Trump told Breitbart News in an exclusive lengthy Oval Office interview that Ryan blocked issuance of subpoenas to people he thinks should have been investigated on the political left, and now that the Republicans no longer have the majority in the House, people Trump says Ryan protected may have gotten away with whatever they did that warranted investigation.
Trump said that House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and his predecessor and fellow conservative Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wanted to be tougher with the left, but that Ryan would not let them.
“Paul Ryan wouldn’t give the right to have any subpoenas,” Trump told Breitbart News. “Okay? Now in all fairness, Meadows and Jordan and all these guys, they wanted to go tougher, but they weren’t allowed to by leadership.”
Finally, State Department head Mike Pompeo says the US is ready to make good on National Security Adviser John Bolton's Mustache's threat to bar US entry to and expel from the country any International Criminal Court personnel if The Hague investigates any US or Israeli military action in Afghanistan as war crimes.
The United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel who attempt to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere and may do the same with those who try to take action against Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
Pompeo, making good on a threat delivered last September by national security adviser John Bolton, said the U.S. had already moved against some employees of The Hague-based court, but declined to say how many or what cases they may have been investigating.
“We are determined to protect the American and allied military and civilian personnel from living in fear of unjust prosecution for actions taken to defend our great nation,” Pompeo said.
He said any wrongdoing committed by American personnel would be dealt with in U.S. military and criminal courts.
The visa restrictions would apply to any court employee who takes or has taken action “to request or further such an investigation,” Pompeo said.
“These visa restrictions may also be used to deter ICC efforts to pursue allied personnel, including Israelis, without allies’ consent,” he said.
The ICC prosecutor has a pending request to look into possible war crimes in Afghanistan that may involve Americans. The Palestinians have also asked the court to bring cases against Israel.
Speaking directly to ICC employees, Pompeo said: “If you are responsible for the proposed ICC investigation of U.S. personnel in connection with the situation in Afghanistan, you should not assume that you still have or will get a visa or will be permitted to enter the United States.”
That comment suggested that action may have already been taken against the ICC prosecutor who asked last year to formally open an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by Afghan national security forces, Taliban and Haqqani network militants, as well as U.S. forces and intelligence officials in Afghanistan since May 2003.
The US never joined the ICC, but Afghanistan did, meaning if the ICC does investigate US war crimes there, things are going to get very ugly and fast.
Finally, Trump outright said Friday that there should be no Mueller report at all, because the investigation should be scrapped as "illegal".
President Donald Trump on Friday insisted there should be no report from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, denouncing the investigation as "illegal."
"So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be 'zero' crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel...should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report," the president tweeted Friday.
Trump has repeatedly called Mueller's probe into whether Russia colluded with the president's 2016 campaign a "witch hunt." Despite his criticisms, the president has maintained that he has cooperated fully with the investigation, which also includes whether Trump tried to obstruct justice.
A small thread now lies between insistence and an Oval Office order, and the Mueller report goes away.
And so does America as a free country.