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تاريخ التسجيل: Jun 2019
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افتراضي Opinion | 41, 42 …

This article is part of David Leonhardt’s newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it each weekday.
The president of the United States accused one of his congressional critics of treason yesterday morning and said that the critic should be arrested. And yet it might not even have been the most outrageous thing that the country learned about President Trump yesterday.
That distinction could also belong to the news, broken by Times reporters, that during a phone call with the prime minister of Australia, Trump pressured him to produce information discrediting Robert Mueller’s recent investigation. White House aides took the unusual step of restricting access to the transcript of the phone call, in a sign they believed it was problematic. It was the same step they had taken after Trump’s July call with Ukraine’s president.
The Australia call is part of the Trump administration’s attempt to shift attention away from Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, on Trump’s behalf, and instead to suggest that American intelligence agencies did something wrong by investigating Russia. Alarmingly, William Barr, the attorney general, appears to be overseeing the effort, meeting with foreign officials to ask for help.


[Listen to “The Argumentâ€‌ podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]
The mere fact that the Justice Department has asked for foreign help with an investigation isn’t the problem. That’s routine, as some conservatives pointed out. In this case, however, the attorney general is involving himself, personally, to an unusual degree — and he’s doing so to advance a farcical idea meant to sully American intelligence agencies, all on behalf of Trump.
As The Washington Post reported: “Current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials expressed frustration and alarm Monday that the head of the Justice Department was taking such a direct role in re-examining what they view as conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of misconduct.â€‌
On its own, either the “treasonâ€‌ accusation or the conspiracy mongering is an impeachable offense. One involves baselessly accusing a political rival of a crime punishable by death. The other involves sublimating American foreign policy to the president’s personal interests.
Last week, I compiled a list of 40 significant ways that Trump has behaved like no other modern president. Yesterday, Trump added two more potential items. It’s frightening stuff. The only good news is that Trump seems to be unable to control himself, which increases the chances that Senate Republicans will finally abandon him or that the American public will reject him in 2020.


For more …
Susan Hennessey, Lawfare: “Among the more alarming implications of this story is that the Attorney General is a fully-committed Fox News conspiracy theorist.â€‌
Sam Vinograd, CNN: “Would any intel official (in a democracy) share anything of import with Barr at this point? Intelligence is not supposed to be used for political retribution.â€‌
The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty on the treason lie: “It has become so easy to dismiss such comments as hyperbole and bluster — just Trump being Trump — that we risk losing sight of how dangerous, how fundamentally un-American they are.â€‌
Jeff Flake, the former Republican senator from Arizona: “My fellow Republicans, it is time to risk your careers in favor of your principles. Whether you believe the president deserves impeachment, you know he does not deserve re-election. Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those. For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, do just that.â€‌
William Kristol, in The Times: “We may not yet know whether removal from the office to which President Trump was elected is warranted. But surely we know enough to judge that Mr. Trump does not deserve renomination for that office for an additional four years.â€‌
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic: “The Republicans working to keep him in power could have Vice President Mike Pence take over within weeks if they so chose. They prefer this moral abomination. May history remember them as men and women who watched a president falsely accuse a sitting member of Congress of treason, and did nothing.â€‌
If you are not a subscriber to this newsletter, you can subscribe here. You can also join me on Twitter (@DLeonhardt) and Facebook.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.
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