E.J. Dionne: The twin threats to our republic's health – New York News




The news is being reported on split screen as if the one big story in Washington is disconnected from the other. But President Trump’s lawless threats against Attorney General Jeff Sessions have a lot in common with the Senate’s reckless approach to the health coverage of tens of millions of Americans.

On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, we are witnessing a collapse of the norms of governing, constant violations of our legitimate expectations of political leaders, and the mutation of the normal conflicts of democracy into a form of warfare that demands the opposition’s unconditional surrender.

Trump’s latest perverse miracle is that he has progressives — along with everyone else who cares about the rule of law — rooting for Sessions. The attorney general is as wrong as ever on voter suppression, civil rights enforcement and immigration. But Sessions did one very important thing: He obeyed the law.

When it was clear that he would have obvious conflicts of interest in the investigation of Russian meddling in our election and its possible links to the Trump campaign, Sessions recused himself, as he was required to do.


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Trump’s attacks on Sessions for that recusal are thus a naked admission that he wants the nation’s top lawyer to act illegally if that’s what it takes to protect the president and his family. Equally inappropriate are his diktats from the Oval Office calling on Sessions to investigate Hillary Clinton and those terrible “leakers” who are more properly seen as whistleblowers against Trump’s abuses.

Our country is now as…

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