Nunes paves Trump's road to autocracy
Equally specious is any suggestion of bias against Rod Rosenstein, a Republican named as deputy attorney general by Trump. It has been widely reported that Trump wants to fire him. This insubstantial account provides no justification for such a crisis-provoking move.
The Nunes exercise fits snugly with Arendt's second observation. The cynicism of a significant part of the public, particularly Trump's supporters, leads them to believe that everybody in every institution lies. The Nunes talking points toss out distorted and disconnected facts, not to advance the truth but to cloud it in confusion. Thus did Nunes' ploy accomplish the opposite of its intention. It simply showed how petrified Trump and his backers are of a comprehensive probe.
Our democratic regime is further endangered by the proclivity of Republicans in Congress to enable the executive abuses they're supposed to check. House Speaker Paul Ryan's disgraceful complicity in the release of the memo was made all the more shameful when he declared last Thursday that it "does not impugn the Mueller investigation or the deputy attorney general."
Trump put the lie to this Friday morning when he tweeted: "The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans." Perhaps Ryan is fooling himself, but my hunch is that he's too smart for that -- which means he is trying to fool the rest of us.
Autocrats don't prevail unless they have allies to give them cover. Thanks to House Republicans, our country has taken another step toward the chaos that autocrats thrive on.
E.J. Dionne's email address is email@example.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.
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