Authoritarian Watch: Trump Screams for Show Trials

Thursday night, Donald Trump said the following during an interview with conservative radio host Larry O'Connor:
You know the saddest thing is that because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things that I would love to be doing. And I'm very frustrated by it.

I look at what's happening with the Justice Department. Why aren't they going after Hillary Clinton with her emails and with her — the dossier? The kind of money — I don't know is it possible that they paid $12.4 million for the dossier, which is total phony, fake. And how is it used?

And, you know, it's very discouraging to me. I'll be honest, I'm very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn't going— Now, maybe they are, but you know, as president, and I think you understand this, as a president you are not supposed to be involved in that process, but hopefully they are doing something — and, at some point, maybe we're gonna all have it out.
Trump says he's "angry" that he isn't supposed to direct the Department of Justice and the FBI to target his political opponents, even though he would "love" to do exactly that.

This is not something the president of a democratic nation is supposed to want to be able to do.

And despite his saying that he isn't supposed to be doing it, his Friday morning tweetshitz were filled with demands that the DoJ and FBI target his political opponents.

"Let's go, FBI and Justice Department." Says the president.

Before he left for a 12-day trip to Asia this morning, he reiterated his calls for the Justice Department to target Democrats, bellowing over the noise from Marine One.

I don't know. I'm not really involved with the Justice Department. I'd like to let it run itself. But honestly they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things, and a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. [turns and walks away]
I know it's become a cliché, but this isn't normal. It's unprecedented for a sitting U.S. president to publicly direct harassment of citizens. And let us be clear: That is what he's doing. He is publicly calling for the federal government to use taxpayer money to harass citizens of this nation because they are his ideological opponents and his critics.

The Republican Party can see all of this unfolding just as well as we can. He is their president. They are the Congressional majority, empowered with the duty to check and balance the executive branch.

But they are letting it happen. They are complicit in this slide into authoritarian rule. Shame on Donald Trump, and shame on them.

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