Abbreviated pundit roundup: A constitutional crisis in the making

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Donald Trump’s comments during an interview this week with The New York Times reveal a president who believes he is above the law and who has no qualms about hinting at the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller. Indeed, as The New York Times reports:

President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation — or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.

Here is The New York Times editorial board on the interview:

In less than an hour on Wednesday afternoon, President Trump found a way to impugn the integrity and threaten the livelihoods of nearly all of the country’s top law enforcement officials, including some he appointed, for one simple reason: They swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not him. 

For a president who sees the rule of law as an annoyance rather than a feature of American democracy, the traitors are everywhere. […]

In the end, Mr. Trump is concerned with nothing so much as saving his own hide, which means getting rid of the Russia inquiry for good. He previously said this was why he fired Mr. Comey, and it may yet be the undoing of Mr. Sessions, Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Mueller.

The Boston Herald:

The New York Times interview published yesterday was a scary — but perhaps not surprising — look into the mindset of a man who is playing the political game by his own rules — loyal to no one, other than family perhaps, and unbound by convention.

That is, of course, part of why he was elected in the first place. Many voters found that appealing. But at the six month mark of his presidency the Trump quirkiness has turned to anger and to grievance. Even his most loyal supplicants — those charged with the grunt work of carrying out the Trump agenda even as he tweets himself into a frenzy — are suspect.