In the words of Sarah Palin, how’s that working out for ya?
In the two weeks since Trump was acquitted, the White House has targeted impeachment witnesses for retribution, presidential friends for special treatment and perceived enemies for punishment:
Starting with Vindman, Sondland
►Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who in his congressional testimony had assured his immigrant father that he’d be “fine for telling the truth” because in America “I can live free of fear” — was dismissed from the National Security Council. (Trump called him “insubordinate” and urged the Army to discipline him.) Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny, was also removed from the White House for good measure.
And Republican donor Gordon Sondland, who testified that “everyone was in the loop” on Trump’s quid pro quo with Ukraine, was fired as ambassador to the European Union.
OPPOSING VIEW:President Trump is within his rights
►Hours after a Trump tweet demanding leniency for friend Roger Stone, the Justice Department watered down sentencing recommendations. A jury had found Stone guilty of seven felonies, including obstructing Congress’ investigation into Russian election interference and threatening to kill a witness.
Four front-line prosecutors were so appalled by the interference that they withdrew from the case in protest. One resigned from the Justice Department altogether. (More than 2,000 ex-DOJ officials have since called on Attorney General William Barr to step down.)
Barr issued a rare public rebuke of Trump’s tweets Thursday, arguing he was not acting at the president’s behest. But the very next day, word surfaced that the attorney general had done another favor for Trump, installing outside attorneys to review the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who’s awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI.
Further interfering in the judicial process, Trump tweeted attacks on the federal judge who will be sentencing Stone this week, argued that there was a crooked juror in his friend’s trial and toyed with issuing a pardon. The president also yanked a nomination for Jessie Liu, a U.S. attorney who oversaw the Stone prosecution, for a top Treasury Department job; Liu has elected to resign.
►The Justice Department burnished Trump’s anti-illegal immigrant reputation by filing lawsuits against two so-called sanctuary jurisdictions last week, the state of New Jersey and the county encompassing Seattle. He also punished New York state for granting driver’s licenses to undocumented residents by blocking tens of thousands of New Yorkers from trusted-traveler programs like Global Entry, which eases security clearances through airports.
All this is just since the Senate trial ended.
‘Let the people decide’
Trump’s penchant for manipulating power levers for petty or political ends was already well established. He tried to block a merger involving CNN, and he openly complained about Amazon — run by Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post— being front-runner for a $10 billion cloud-computing contract with the Pentagon. The deal subsequently went to Microsoft. Last week, a federal judge halted work on it pending claims by Amazon that Trump acted out of political animus.
The president has demanded a slew of investigations of perceived enemies ranging from Hillary Clinton to former FBI Director James Comey to former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who finally was notified Friday after two years of scrutiny that the case against him has been closed. Trump was reported to be furious at that news.
Asked after his acquittal whether he had learned anything, Trump replied that, yes, he had: “The Democrats are crooked. … They shouldn’t have brought impeachment. … My poll numbers are (up).”
One reason Republicans gave for not convicting Trump was because this is an election year. “Let the people decide,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
Fair enough. If voters need any more evidence that the president is abusing his powers, an unrepentant Trump is providing it on a near-daily basis.
If you can’t see this reader poll, please refresh your page.