Slumping in the polls and at war with his political rivals, President Trump has signaled a willingness to act with impunity in his drive for reelection, taking steps over the past week that demonstrate a disregard for legal boundaries meant to hold him accountable and protect the sanctity of American democracy.
Trump said in an interview that he would accept damaging information on his election opponents from foreign entities, defiantly unrepentant after spending 2½ years trying to fight off allegations that his 2016 campaign had colluded with Russia to help him win the White House.
The president declared he would not punish White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after a federal agency recommended she be fired for violating rules barring executive branch officials from engaging in political activities.
The White House asserted executive privilege in a bid to shield documents from Congress over the administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, prompting lawmakers to hold two Trump Cabinet officials in contempt.
Taken together, the actions set off new alarm bells among legal analysts and Trump’s political rivals who warned that the president and his aides have emerged from the scorched-earth battle over the special counsel’s 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election with a conviction that they need not feel constrained by the safeguards built into the nation’s political system as they look to 2020. [Continue reading…]