Today's tweet by President Donald Trump, threatening fired FBI Director James Comey with "tapes" if he were to talk to the press, was seen by a former FBI Special Agent as not just a threat to Comey, but a signal to every employee in the federal government.
Former FBI Special Agent Clint Watts told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle, "the signal to everybody in the US government is you'd better watch your back and you'd better cover yourself."
James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1494591975.0
"He's threatening somebody he already fired," is how the former FBI agent characterized President Trump's tweet. "He would make passive threats to the FBI Director via Twitter before he fired him."
Former Special Agent Watts explained how this threat was incredibly damaging to the US government.
"He's saying he might taping...recordings of you to use against you later," Watts translated. "It's not the rule of law, it's the rule of Trump."
The former FBI agent seemed genuinely concerned with the chaos within the White House.
"He's obviously not working right now or in charge, he's sitting watching TV and tweeting," Watts said. "Who is in charge of this country?"
Today's tweet was troubling to all of the guests.
"This is a different level of seriousness, in terms of this tweet this morning," Bloomberg Businessweek's Megan Murphy claimed.
"Is there really a taping system in the White House, that private dinners are being recorded, is that what we're meant to believe?" Murphy wondered.
The Watergate similarities are uncanny.
"This is how authoritarianism starts," claimed Jason Johnson of The Root.com. "Sometimes the courts will fight back, sometimes the Democrats will fight back, but when you have a president who basically is actively is trying to destroy any sort of independent judicial agency that is supposed to keep him in check, that is a president who is no longer interested in running a democracy, he is interested in asking for fealty, loyalty and basically pushing the country in any direction he wants, regardless of law."
Watch the full segment, MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle has Former FBI special agent, Clint Watts, Bloomberg Businessweek's Megan Murphy, and The Root.com's Jason Johnson as guests.