EDITORS: Following this column, Ruth Marcus is taking a one-year book leave. Until the end of November, you are welcome to run ANY of our other syndicated columns, including by writers your publication does not subscribe to. Go to syndication.washingtonpost.com, where you can browse our full offerings by clicking on the Syndicate tab. Open a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Matthew Whitaker, President Trump's handpicked selection to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, is the wrong choice for the job at exactly the wrong time.
Of course, from Trump's point of view, that is the point. He ousts Sessions, whose alleged disloyalty Trump has bemoaned for months. Under the ordinary rules of ...Read more
The important thing to understand about the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history is that the alleged killer did not merely hate us Jews for who we are. He hated us, judging by his social media postings, for what we believe -- for the highest ideals of what the Jewish religion embodies.
Begin with the name of the synagogue in Pittsburgh he ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Listening to President Trump recently, the question arises: What's he got against babies?
"I'm not a baby," Trump felt compelled to assure CBS News' Lesley Stahl -- twice -- during his 60 Minutes interview.
First, on the subject of Kim Jong Un, when Stahl described his "cruel kingdom of repression, gulags, starvation," asking, "...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Between the man who is president and the woman who ran against him, there is, for me, no contest; Hillary Clinton would have been a far better president than Donald Trump. But both Trump and Clinton, in their own trademark ways, stepped in it again this week when it comes to women.
Trump's comments -- describing Stormy Daniels as ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "The Supreme Court must never, never be viewed as a partisan institution," Brett Kavanaugh observed at the start of his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
That was September 4, just over a month ago, but it feels like an eternity -- before the country was convulsed by accusations of sexual assault against the Supreme...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Does it matter how many beers Brett Kavanaugh drank in high school or college? Do we care what he wrote in his high school yearbook? Ordinarily, of course not. But as the evidence unspools, such otherwise trivial questions take on increasing importance -- not because of what the Supreme Court nominee did back then but because of ...Read more
An appalling, divisive week came to a better close with the last-minute, still-evolving plan to reopen the background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
It's a commentary on our tribal times that it took the 11th-hour intervention of Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake to get to this obvious point. "We ought to do what ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter, the uproarious laughter between the two ... I was underneath one of them while the two laughed."
Indelible in my hippocampus, too, and, I suspect, in the minds of everyone who listened to Christine Blasey Ford's testimony Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I have built my...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Anita Hill's truthfulness was brutally questioned. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., accused her of "flat-out perjury." So was her sanity. I recall a fevered phone call from a White House adviser peddling the notion that Hill suffered from "erotomania," a psychiatric disorder involving romantic delusions. So was her character. "A little ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Does the United States enjoy a resilience advantage compared to European democracies? During the long months of the Trump administration, I have been clinging, if with diminishing fortitude, to the conviction that our constitutional system and democratic institutions will shield us through the worst. So it was at least a bit ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Under the unusual circumstances surrounding his selection, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should have agreed to recuse himself from deciding cases involving the investigation of President Trump. The reason Kavanaugh asserted at his confirmation hearing for refusing to make such a pledge -- that it would violate the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Another Supreme Court nomination hearing is about to begin, so brace yourself for talk of kabuki -- as in then-Sen. Joe Biden's 2005 formulation during the confirmation hearings for Chief Justice John Roberts, "this kabuki dance." Or, in the tart assessment a decade earlier, by then-law professor Elena Kagan, before she found ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Winston Churchill famously described Russia as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma." The same might be said -- and the Russia reference is no coincidence -- of Paul Manafort and the trial now underway of President Trump's former campaign chairman.
The riddle, of course, is why there is a trial at all. Given the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump's outrageous tweets are testing, once again, our capacity for outrage. They are not harmless venting. Rather, they pose a threat to the rule of law.
Consider: Trump unhinged, Wednesday edition. He launched another unfounded attack against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as being "totally conflicted." He ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "He's been lying all week, he's been lying for years. ... I don't see how he has any credibility."
Exactly. Rudy Giuliani, the president's current lawyer, was talking about Michael Cohen, the president's former lawyer. But if Cohen is so sleazy, and I don't disagree, why did Donald Trump keep the self-described fixer around for so...Read more