Trump’s authoritarian impulses have been readily apparent during his entire first year as president. From telling private entities to fire employees for their political opinions, to calling the first amendment “disgusting,” Trump has shown himself to be completely at odds with the most basic precepts of the US government and society.
This morning, Trump unleashed the latest in his full-on assault on democratic norms and US liberties. The FBI – which, for the record, Trump manages – has apparently engaged in a conspiracy against the failing president.
Workers of firm involved with the discredited and Fake Dossier take the 5th. Who paid for it, Russia, the FBI or the Dems (or all)?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017
In a broad sweep implying that some mysterious union of Democrats, FBI agents, and the Russian government is out to get him, Trump has accused the top domestic law enforcement agency of actively trying to undermined his presidency.
While this may seem like an unremarkable event (even common at this point), it is very concerning. Trump’s authoritarian impulses, left unchecked, could usurp the US order, destroying the very freedoms that the deeply unpopular president pledged to protect. By casting public doubt on the FBI, he’s setting the stage for his supporters to lash out if and when he goes down as a result of ongoing investigations into his campaign’s connections to Russia and his own conduct, which may have constituted obstruction of justice.
Indeed, the fact that Trump is going out of this way to attack the FBI indicates that more revelations could be on the horizon. Just this week, the nation learned that Trump campaign officials including Kellyanne Conway disseminated false information originating from Russian-funded social media accounts.
Hopefully, Trump’s plunging popularity will mitigate the damage done to the public’s trust in its institutions. He is only good at tearing things apart: as Americans tire of his show, perhaps they won’t fall for his self-serving conspiracies.