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Trump partisans attack America from within

Dana Milbank on

But if we're going to declare "biased" those who gave money to Democrats, then Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Steven Mnuchin, Gary Cohn and the president himself are biased against Trump. Also, if Mueller had inquired about political leanings before making hires, he would have violated Justice Department rules.

And more broadly: pro-Clinton bias? It was precisely Comey's public announcement of a reopened Clinton probe just days before the election that helped give the presidency to Trump.

What's more outrageous is the purpose of the attacks on the FBI and Mueller: To help Trump with his legal problems, these officials are willing to undermine Americans' faith in the justice system. This is part of a pattern. As House Republicans were attacking the FBI and Mueller, Sen.?Al Franken, D-Minn., was announcing his resignation on the Senate floor. He had been drummed out by fellow Democrats for sexual misbehavior, but Trump and the Republicans are rallying behind GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, faced with credible allegations of sexual misbehavior with teenagers -- for the short-term benefit of keeping one Senate seat Republican.

Trump routinely attacks institutions, including the courts, the media, the electoral process, the intelligence community, the IRS, the United Nations, foreign allies, the Justice Department and the pope. That's the strategy of the autocrat: Don't believe the courts or the justice system or the electoral process or the legislature or the media or my accusers. Believe me.

When lawmakers back up Trump, however, they give a cue to Republican voters that such out-of-bounds attacks on our system are legitimate. That's how they normalized Trump. That's how we're getting Moore. That's why Republicans are being convinced the FBI and federal prosecutors are corrupt.

The FBI is one government agency Republicans historically held in high regard (70?percent had a favorable view in a 2015 Pew Research Center poll), but a poll by the University of Texas in June -- after Trump's attacks began -- found favorable views of the FBI among Texas Republicans at 43?percent.

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Likewise, multiple polls found that Republicans are far more likely to believe sexual-harassment claims against Democrats than against Republicans; Democrats see the claims as credible regardless of the perpetrator's party.

This tribalism is meant to help Trump, and Moore. It undermines America.

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Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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