Earlier this year, political activist Alexei Navalny was found guilty by a Russian court of embezzling 16 million rubles worth of timber. The charges were clearly fabricated and the verdict a sham. But, coincidentally, the guilty verdict makes Navalny ineligible to run against Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2018. Dictators like Putin adore using kangaroo courts to punish their enemies as it allows them to remove obstacles to their power while maintaining a patina of legitimacy.
It therefor comes as no surprise that Donald Trump really really wants to use the Department of Justics to persecute his numerous enemies; it's what authoritarian tyrants do. It does, however, come as something of a surprise that Republicans are clamoring for the same thing:
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has continued a separate investigation into whether Obama administration officials inappropriately made requests to "unmask" identities of Trump campaign officials in intelligence reports.
The House Judiciary Committee, which has declined to investigate the Russian meddling, approved a resolution this past week to request documents related to the FBI's now-closed investigation of Clinton's emails. In addition, Republican on that committee wrote the Justice Department on Thursday and asked for a second special counsel, in addition to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to investigate "unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama administration."
The intent is obvious: By muddying the waters, Republicans hope to make the rapidly escalating Trump-Russia probe go away. Barring that, they hope to make the public believe that "both sides" are so corrupt that it really doesn't matter how criminal the Trump administration is. Boy oh boy, is that swamp terrible! Go back to sleep, people.
But the GOP is striking match after match while standing in a pool of gasoline, oblivious to the danger. Trump has already made two things crystal clear in the past few weeks and they paint a picture Republicans would have to be willfully blind, stupid or both to ignore:
It doesn't take a political genius to figure out that if Trump were to weaponize the Department of Justice, it wouldn't be long before Republicans found themselves being investigated, perhaps for embezzling 16 million rubles worth of timber.
Republicans are agitating to break one of the most fundamental aspects of our democracy - not abusing the power of the government to persecute political opponents. Worse, they're on the brink of enabling Trump to take their shiny new weapon and slit the throats of Republicans that won't play ball. Every day, they're finding new and creatively insane ways to burn American democracy to the ground.
They have to be stopped.
There are 463 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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