How far will you go to save our democracy from Donald Trump?

Have you ever considered what happens when Donald Trump loses in November? One year ago, his former attorney Michael Cohen testified before Congress that Trump would not accept electoral defeat this upcoming election. Sadly, he’s probably right: If there’s one thing Trump has been consistent about, it’s that he narcissistically refuses to accept reality whenever it’s in any way negative toward him. This is why Trump has repeatedly, and ridiculously, insisted that he won the popular vote in 2016. In his very first meeting with Congressional leaders, he told them he won the popular vote because “3 to 5 million people voted illegally, and I’m not even counting California.”

Despite images to the contrary, Trump still refuses to accept that his sparsely attended inauguration was anything except the largest in history. Trump is so mentally incapable of admitting defeat that he literally took a Sharpie marker to an official map rather than admit he got something wrong. Most people found that hilarious, while others thought it pathetic.

I found it dangerous.

Recent events have made Trump even more reckless than “usual.” His impeachment acquittal by Republican senators, despite overwhelming evidence, seemingly proved Trump’s own adage that he could murder someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any political support. Right after the vote, when Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ gave a jaw-dropping justification that Trump had “learned his lesson,” Trump decided to shed any pretense of caring about democratic norms, and fully embraced his goal of complete authoritarian corruption.

Trump has turned the Department of Justice into his own personal political hit squad. His Treasury Department, which refused to turn over anything to Congress, even under subpoena, quickly and illegally turned over private financial information on Joe Biden’s son. Trump has pushed out career public servants and replaced them with sycophants who place loyalty to him above the Constitution. Republican senators have willingly surrendered their power on just about everything, even allowing Trump to rewrite their budget through decree, and helped him pack the courts with unqualified toadies.

Trump destroying democracy with Attorney General Bob Barr.

Now that the checks and balances are gone, Trump is in a great position to steal the next election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done his part by refusing to allow any bills on election security to come up for a vote, while remaining silent as Trump openly calls for foreign hacking. It appears that voter suppression and gerrymandering are no longer enough. Yet even if all the dirty tricks fail, and Trump still manages to lose the election outright, Trump is very likely not going to step down.

Many call this line of thinking paranoid, but that’s because they give Trump and his GOP allies too much credit. Election night has always been the one time that the Republicans have had to come face-to-face with reality. Unlike trickle-down economics or climate science, elections are straight math, no matter your preconceived view. You can’t challenge an election.

Or so we thought.

As with so many other things, Trump is going to change that dynamic. There are many possible scenarios, but several have Trump likely calling the election for himself long before the votes are in. If the results are not breaking his way during the election, expect Trump to cry fraud. Washington Monthly put out a very plausible sequence of events of what might happen once this occurs. Trump would declare, probably through a tweet, that he is hearing “from a lot of people” that polling sites are “fixed” and “rigged” against him. After Trump claims fraud, the GOP leadership is almost certain to back him up. His chief bootlickers, like Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham, will call for bogus investigations.

If the vote comes down to a state like Florida, where the GOP is in full control, they likely won’t certify the Democratic winner. Even if it came down to a purple state that refuses to fix the election, like Pennsylvania, recall that our constitution requires the current vice president to certify the election results. Mike Pence, who is the most submissive veep in our nation’s history, will not do this if Trump instructs him not to. The GOP has likely already calculated this, because in that event, the decision would go to the House of Representatives, where each state gets one vote. Since there are more GOP controlled states than Democratic ones, the victor would most assuredly be Trump.

The Senate has already proven they won’t do anything to stop him, and the Supreme Court is packed with Trump’s people, like Brett Kavanaugh, who warned that he would not be impartial after his confirmation hearing.

So then what?  What if Trump loses the election, refuses to leave, and the GOP doesn’t make him? Can you imagine a scenario where Trump loses the popular vote AND the Electoral College, yet is still in office after a 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court? What would you do in this case? I am seriously asking YOU: Then what?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I come home, read the daily dose of awful news from this administration, get angry, fire off a few posts, and then do something else to take my mind off of the political despair. But that is getting harder to do. Opinion writers tell me I’m being silly: Americans will never accept a dictatorship. Yet, for the most part, the populace has been staying silent. After all, it certainly doesn’t look like a dictatorship. We don’t have tanks rolling down the streets or violent militias patrolling neighborhoods—mostly, anyway. People still feel free to march and to protest, and we still have a free press where journalists don’t fear violent retribution—mostly, anyway.  

Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse... And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945

Yet dictatorships don’t happen overnight.

Right now, Trump has merely “joked” about refusing to leave office—over two dozen times. Trumpian politicians are only recently starting to get more brazen, like introducing a book banning bill to imprison librarians. Trump’s promised government retribution for late night show mocking hasn’t started, nor has his unconstitutional declaration to end birthright citizenship. Although Trump says he can legally order the attorney general to do anything he wants (he can’t), and plans to go after Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, and Mitt Romney, he hasn’t—yet. But all of that is bluster, right? We’ll be okay. Americans always are.

If Trump remains in office after the next election, all of this will change. There will be absolutely nothing and nobody reigning him in. Meanwhile, Trump’s list of enemies, perceived and real, grows. As Americans, we have become more and more comfortable with his attacks on our Democratic institutions. We have become numb to his frequent attacks on his immigrant scapegoats and the free press.

We aren’t in a dictatorship yet, but it absolutely can and will happen here if we allow it, and sooner than you think. Right now, many Americans don’t want to speak out. They, like me, just want to go about their lives. The problem with that is if you wait until it gets bad enough to where you feel you have to speak out, only then will you realize speaking out will no longer be possible.

Consider this 2017 warning from Yale history professor Timothy Snyder.

The framers of the Constitution were worried that someone might come along who could be elected president who didn't have concern about the rule of law or about democracy. We are now in that situation.

[...]

 Up until now, there is nothing in Mr. Trump's words or in his actions which would even suggest that he cares even a little bit about democracy or about the rule of law.

[...] 

What I would say is that our institutions were set up for a moment just like this one, but they'll only protect us if we enliven them and if we support them.

You can watch Snyder’s full video below. 

YouTube Video

Authoritarian leaders like Trump count on two things: that you’ll despair, and that you’ll be quiet. Yet authoritarians can’t turn into dictators without a compliant populace. For me, becoming noncompliant means that my personal ban on discussing politics with friends, neighbors, and co-workers is over. I don’t have to verbally attack anyone to confront a blatant lie, but I will no longer be silent.

My “Christian” friends calling immigrants an infestation of MS-13 are on notice. How the hell is any of this Christian? Phony justifications by right-wing politicians for Trump’s plans to stay in office for a third term due to “lost time” will no longer be politely ignored.

I’m asking you, right now: What you are comfortable with doing, and what you are amenable to giving up? For me, it’s comfort. I can’t be upset that there aren’t mass protests in the streets if I’m not there myself. I can’t participate as long as I fear that one of my bosses or clients will see me. Not anymore.

There’s plenty of organizations to join or financially support that need help now, from Indivisible to Planned Parenthood to the ACLU, to name just a few. There’s even the main opposition party known as the Democrats, and the brave candidates who are risking everything to fight our slide into Trump’s tyranny. For far too long I have avoided getting too involved, because I feared it would interfere with my primary career. Those days are over.

Yes, I may anger some clients, and I may lose more than I gain, but I’d rather lose them than lose my country. The type of involvement needed, the kind of canvassing I need to participate in, and the speaking out that needs to happen will no longer allow me to hide. However, I feel if I don’t get involved now, it will only get worse. Trump has no trouble going after critics’ pensions, their families, and their income, using the courts and his executive powers to do so. Yet he has openly pined for the power of the dictators he fawns over—the ones who imprison their critics ... or worse. The more political power he is able to accrue, the more likely that may happen.

We need to stop him. Now. If you are in a government position, or even a military position, where you are being asked to do something that you know is wrong—such as permit or engage in corruption, or target dissent—please remember that dictatorships rely on our cooperation to survive. That cooperation can either be voluntary or coerced, but it has to happen in order for their plans to work. There may come a time you need to make a very difficult choice with real consequences. You don’t have to go along with something that is unjust just because you are expected to.

These are difficult times, but our nation has been through dark times before. There were always heroes who have pulled us through. Just look at Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. He showed us what a hero looks like, and has paid quite the price.

We are all soon going to face a test. We have a president who has turned his office into a cult of personality, who has repeatedly shown his disdain for the law, and who puts his personal interests above everything else. Is it any wonder that we are being prepared for the increasingly likely event that the president may declare martial law?

I ask everyone reading this to undergo the same uncomfortable self-examination. If Trump refuses to leave the White House, how much are you willing to sacrifice, and how much you are willing to tolerate? Our democracy depends on your answer.

Bette Midler Blasts Trump for Mocking the Oscars: ‘I’m More Upset That a Parasite Won the White House’

By PoliZette Staff | February 22, 2020

Hollywood star Bette Midler, who seems to bash President Donald Trump on a daily basis, just went after him once again on social media, this time for his comments mocking the Academy Awards.

During a rally in Colorado on Thursday, Trump slammed the fact that the foreign film “Parasite” won Best Picture at the Oscars earlier this month.

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“The winner is a movie from South Korea. What the hell was that all about? We’ve got enough problems with South Korea, with trade,” Trump said. “And after all that, they give them best movie of the year?”

“Parasite” was the first foreign film to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars, and it also won awards for directing and original screenplay, according to Fox News. Midler took to her own Twitter page to make it clear that she was livid about Trump’s remarks.

“At his rally, #Trump complained about #Parasite winning the Oscar,” Midler tweeted. “I’m more upset that a parasite won the White House.”

Unfortunately for Midler, however, her tweet backfired on her when social media users used it to go after Barack Obama.

Thank goodness that parasite Barack Obama is gone!” one user wrote, with another adding, “Me too. I still can’t believe we had a parasite in the WH. 8 years of Obama was too much.”

During the same rally, Trump also went after Brad Pitt, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.” While accepting his award, Pitt used his speech to attack Republicans who shut down Democrats’ attempts to call more witnesses in the Trump Senate impeachment trial.

“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Pitt said. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing.”

Trump had some choice words for Pitt over these comments.

“And then you have Brad Pitt, I was never a big fan of his,” Trump said. “He got up, said a little wise guy thing. He’s a little wise guy.”

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Hollywood stars like Midler and Pitt don’t realize that when they go after Trump, they’re just making themselves look like out of touch liberal elitists who have no idea what they’re talking about. Trump did not become president to help wealthy liberals like them. Instead, he became president to help average working Americans who have been cast aside by Democrats.

Trump should know that if Midler and the rest of Hollywood keep bashing him, he’s just doing something right!

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
Cher comes unglued—claims Trump is going to shoot someone in New York City
Somali community leader confirms Ilhan Omar married her own brother
Big Trump rallies are not just about the event numbers

The post Bette Midler Blasts Trump for Mocking the Oscars: ‘I’m More Upset That a Parasite Won the White House’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

Impeachment backfire? Schiff opponent launches new ad thanking him for helping Trump

A Republican vying to oust Rep. Adam Schiff from office launched his first TV ad Saturday that mocks the California Democrat for leading an impeachment crusade that backfired.

Donald Trump pounces on reports Russia is seeking to help Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump pounces on reports Russia is seeking to help Bernie Sanders* President claims Democrats are rigging process * Trump calls Russian meddling on his behalf ‘a rumor’ * Nevada: Democrats prepare to vote in most diverse state yetAs Democrats in Nevada went to the polls on Saturday, Donald Trump gleefully stirred the pot over reports that US intelligence believes Russia is trying to aid Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the nomination to face the president in November.In a tweet, Trump said: “Democrats in the Great State of Nevada (Which, because of the Economy, Jobs, the Military & Vets, I will win …) be careful of Russia, Russia, Russia.“According to Corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, they are pushing for Crazy Bernie Sanders to win. Vote!”US intelligence has determined that Russian interference in the 2016 US elections not only supported Trump but included efforts to boost Sanders in his bitter primary against the eventual Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the House intelligence committee had been briefed that Russia was once again trying to interfere in favour of Trump.Schiff is the Democratic chair of that committee and as a leading figure in Trump’s impeachment over his approaches to Ukraine has become a regular target for presidential vitriol.Reports about the briefing described a furious reaction from Trump which led to the departure of Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, and his replacement by a Trump loyalist, the ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell. On Saturday, ABC News released an interview in which Robert O'Brien, Trump's fourth national security adviser, said he had not seen “any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected”.On Friday, the Post reported that Sanders, Trump and “lawmakers on Capitol Hill” had been briefed about “Russian assistance to the Vermont senator” this year, but said it was not clear what the effort involved.In a statement, Sanders said: “I don’t care, frankly, who [Russian president Vladimir] Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.“In 2016, Russia used internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”In Nevada, “ugly stuff” attributed to Sanders supporters has included abuse aimed at female leaders of the Culinary Workers Union, an influential presence in the state which opposes the Vermont senator’s plan for Medicare for All healthcare reform.Nonetheless, Sanders seems set to win. On Saturday morning the realclearpolitics.com polling average for Nevada put the progressive star 16.5 points up on two moderates, Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden.Nationally, Sanders leads the same site’s average by 11.4 points, over Biden and the former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is not competing in Nevada.Some suggest Trump wants to face Sanders at the polls, rather than Biden or Bloomberg.Rick Wilson, a former Republican consultant turned author and ardent Trump critic, recently told the Guardian that Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who sits in the Senate as an independent, would be “the easiest person in the world to turn into the comic opera villain Republicans love to hate, the Castro sympathiser, the socialist, the Marxist, the guy who wants to put the aristos in the tumbril as they cart them off to the guillotine”.The special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election did not establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow but did lay out extensive contacts and numerous instances in which the president seemed to seek to obstruct the course of justice.Trump has claimed vindication but the investigation remains a running sore and at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Friday, he duly took aim at his political opponents.“I see these phoneys, the do-nothing Democrats,” Trump said. “They said today that Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected. Here we go again. Here we go again. Did you see it? ... Now I just see it again. I was told that was happening, I was told a week ago. They said you know they’re trying to start a rumor. It’s disinformation.”In tweets and retweets after the event, the president loosed off shots at another favourite target, the media.Referring to MSNBC as “MSDNC (Comcast Slime)”, he said that network and CNN “and others of the Fake Media, have now added Crazy Bernie to the list of Russian Sympathizers, along with Tulsi Gabbard [and] Jill Stein (of the Green Party), both agents of Russia, they say.”Gabbard, a Hawaii congresswoman still in the running for the Democratic nomination but not registering significantly in the polls, has sued Hillary Clinton for allegedly calling her a “Russian asset”.Stein was the Green nominee for president in 2016, taking nearly 1.5m votes nationally (while the Libertarian Gary Johnson took more than 4m) in a contest Clinton won by nearly 3m. Trump took the White House in the electoral college.Clinton beat Trump by two points in Nevada, a key swing state again this year.On Twitter, Trump claimed the reason for media reports that “President Putin wants Bernie (or me) to win … is that the Do Nothing Democrats, using disinformation Hoax number 7, don’t want Bernie Sanders to get the Democrat Nomination, and they figure this would be very bad for his chances.“It’s all rigged, again, against Crazy Bernie Sanders!”


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Richard Grenell Begins Overhauling Intelligence Office, Prompting Fears of Partisanship

Richard Grenell Begins Overhauling Intelligence Office, Prompting Fears of PartisanshipWASHINGTON -- Richard Grenell's tenure as the nation's top intelligence official may be short-lived, but he wasted no time this week starting to shape his team of advisers, ousting his office's No. 2 official -- a longtime intelligence officer -- and bringing in an expert on Trump conspiracy theories to help lead the agency, according to officials.Grenell has also requested the intelligence behind the classified briefing last week before the House Intelligence Committee in which officials told lawmakers that Russia was interfering in November's presidential election and that President Vladimir Putin of Russia favored President Donald Trump's reelection. The briefing later prompted Trump's anger as he complained that Democrats would use it against him.Joseph Maguire, the former acting director of national intelligence, and his deputy, Andrew Hallman, resigned Friday. Grenell told Hallman, popular in the office's Liberty Crossing headquarters, that his service was no longer needed, according to two officials. Hallman, who has worked in the office or at the CIA for three decades, expressed confidence in his colleagues in a statement but also referred to the "uncertainties that come with change."The ouster of Hallman and exit of Maguire, who also oversaw the National Counterterrorism Center, allowed Grenell to install his own leadership team.One of his first hires was Kashyap Patel, a senior National Security Council staff member and former key aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Patel will have a mandate to "clean house," CBS News reported, citing a person close to the matter.Patel was best known as the lead author of a politically charged memo two years ago that accused FBI and Justice Department leaders of abusing their surveillance powers to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser. The memo was widely criticized as misleading, although an inspector general later found other problems with aspects of the surveillance.Working with Nunes, Patel began what they called Objective Medusa to examine the FBI's investigation into whether anyone associated with the Trump campaign conspired with Russia's election interference in 2016."I hired him to bust doors down," Nunes told author Lee Smith for his book "The Plot Against the President," which chronicles Patel's investigations on behalf of the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Patel was interviewed extensively in the book, which claims without proof that journalists, diplomats, law enforcement and intelligence officials engaged in a vast plot to undermine Trump's campaign and then bring him down as president.As acting director of national intelligence, Grenell has access to any secrets he may want to review. And he has requested access to information from the CIA and other intelligence agencies, according to two people familiar with the matter.The revelations about last week's briefing reignited fears about Russia's continuing efforts to interfere in the U.S. election, including in the Democratic primary races.During the briefing, which was supposed to focus on coordination among government agencies to fight election interference, not the acts themselves, Republicans challenged the intelligence agencies' conclusion that the Russians continue to favor Trump. Some officials said the briefing was not meant to be controversial and that intelligence officials intended to simply reiterate what they had told the Senate Intelligence Committee weeks earlier.Intelligence officials have already documented instances of the Kremlin trying to influence U.S. politics, namely attempts by Russian military intelligence officers to hack into the Ukrainian energy company that once employed the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. Officials want to know whether the breach was an effort to help Trump, whose efforts to persuade Ukraine to announce investigations into Biden helped prompt his impeachment.And during the congressional impeachment hearings, Fiona Hill, a former senior White House official who worked on Russia issues, warned about Moscow's continued efforts to spread disinformation.Trump himself wrote in a January letter accompanying the administration's national counterintelligence strategy that "Russia remains a significant intelligence threat to United States interests -- employing aggressive acts to instigate and exacerbate tensions and instability in the United States, including interfering with the security of our elections."Intelligence officials were scheduled to brief the full House and Senate on election security March 10, arrangements that were made weeks ago, accounting to congressional aides.How long Grenell will be able to stay as the acting director is an open question. For him to remain past March 11 -- a limit imposed by federal law -- Trump must formally nominate someone else for the director of national intelligence post.Trump told reporters late Thursday that he was considering Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the intelligence committee, but Collins took himself out of the running Friday morning.Collins, who helped lead the president's impeachment defense, had received no advance notice that he was under consideration for the top intelligence post. He saw no reason to entertain a job he did not want, especially as he wages a special election battle for a Senate seat in his home state of Georgia."I know the problems in our intelligence community, but this is not a job that interests me at this time," Collins said on Fox Business. "It's not one that I would accept because I'm running a Senate race."People close to Collins have speculated that the president might have been trying to entice Collins out of that election to tamp down a messy intraparty fight that could cost Republicans control of the seat. Party leaders have converged around Sen. Kelly Loeffler since Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia appointed her to fill the state's vacant Senate seat late last year and have made no secret of their disdain for Collins' refusal to exit the race.A nomination to a Cabinet-level position would have required Collins to drop out of the race. But given his lack of intelligence experience and political track record, there was little likelihood the Senate would have confirmed him to the post.With Collins off the table, Trump will need another potential nominee. The White House is considering Pete Hoekstra, the former Republican congressman who is now the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, according to three officials.Whether the Senate would be willing to formally consider Hoekstra is unclear. But if Trump were to send a nomination to the Senate it would, under federal law, allow Grenell to serve for at least another six months.In a statement praising Maguire and Hallman, Sen. Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made no reference to Grenell.On Friday, questions arose about Grenell's past employment after ProPublica reported that he had done work for a Moldovan oligarch named Vladimir Plahotniuc who was banned from entering the United States because of his involvement in significant corruption.Grenell wrote articles defending Plahotniuc but did not disclose he had been paid for his work, ProPublica reported. A lawyer speaking on Grenell's behalf said he was not required to register with the Justice Department because he was not working at the direction of a foreign power.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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Ex-Ukraine diplomat Marie Yovanovitch lands seven-figure book deal

Marie Yovanovitch is cashing in with a book deal. The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who testified against President Trump at House impeachment hearings is getting seven figures from publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The book, a memoir that remains untitled, is expected to be released in spring 2021. “Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on...
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Trump is using the pardon power to stroke his own ego, not advance mercy or justice

When Donald Trump suddenly gave pardons or commutations to 11 people on Tuesday, you only had to glance at several of the names to know that Trump was doing favors for people in his social circles—people like him. Now we’re getting more information on how Trump made his decisions and on his clemency plans going forward, and it’s all classic Trump.

Bernard Kerik, the corrupt former New York City police commissioner, got a call early Tuesday morning giving him just hours to get supporters to sign a letter backing a pardon. He worked the phones and got some prominent Republicans like Geraldo Rivera and Rep. Peter King to sign, and just before noon he got a personal call from Trump giving him the news. David Safavian, the former Bush administration official who called Kerik and told him to pull together the letter, also got a pardon for his role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Safavian works at the American Conservative Union, which is headed by the husband of a Trump adviser.

Another of Trump’s corrupt-rich-white-guys-like-me pardons went to Paul Pogue, whose family has given $200,000 to Trump’s reelection effort and whose son and daughter-in-law hang out with Don Jr. And so on. Trump did grant clemency Tuesday to a few people who weren’t corrupt rich white guys—but even they had an inside connection in the form of Alice Johnson, the woman whose sentence Trump commuted in 2018 after lobbying by Kim Kardashian West.

Since Trump seems to enjoy giving clemency—favoring personal phone calls to people not expecting clemency so he can soak up the shock and gratitude—he’ll be doing more of this in the coming months. And he has no plans to revert to the traditional process where the Justice Department vets petitions. Instead the White House is doing the Trump White House thing and having pardons overseen by “essentially an informal task force of at least a half-dozen presidential allies.” OBVIOUSLY Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner is heavily involved, as is former Florida attorney general and impeachment defense team member Pam Bondi.

Mass incarceration remains out of control and it’s reasonable for presidents to use executive power to mitigate some of the harm while Congress drags its feet about making the degree of change that’s really needed. But that should look like what President Obama did, taking a hard look at excessive sentences and using an actual process to grant clemency to 1,715 people, the vast majority of them nonviolent drug offenders. Obama should have done more, because there was so much to be done, but he did do more than the 12 presidents before him—combined. Trump, instead, is treating the pardon power like another way to do personal favors and soak up the adoration he craves. It’s not about justice, it’s about Donald Trump’s ego.