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‘That is autocracy’: Russian journalist explains how Trump has already set America down a dangerous path

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President Donald Trump’s inability to check his own impulses — whether it’s baselessly accusing former President Barack Obama of illegally wiretapping his phones or publicly attacking his own deputy attorney general for appointing a special prosecutor to investigate him — has frequently come back to bite him.

However, Russian journalist Masha Gessen tells Slate that Trump’s seeming incompetence shouldn’t blind us to the damage that he is already doing to our democracy.

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Specifically, she notes that such supposedly “incompetent” governing is actually a staple feature of many autocratic regimes.

“I think that incompetence is actually an integral part of autocracy taking hold,” she explained. “Basically, what we mean when we say that he is incompetent, in large part, is that he doesn’t understand the way American government functions. But because he’s wielding power, he’s reshaping government very quickly to fit his idea of how government should function, and that is autocracy. His incompetence is actually an integral part of the damage that he’s doing by turning something like a democracy into something like an autocracy.”

Gessen then explained that Trump’s failures when it comes to passing legislation shouldn’t be too comforting, since legislature can always be reversed, whereas damage to institutions is much harder to fix.

“When he destroys things by eviscerating institutions, by changing the way that they actually function, that’s a much more difficult thing to reverse in a post-Trump era,” she said. “The fact that they haven’t been able to fill positions is actually part of what I’m talking about in terms of the way that government is breaking up into discrete, opaque parts.”

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Read the whole interview at this link.


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Trump supporters cry bitter tears after bus company they never bothered paying leaves them stranded

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Hundreds of Trump supporters this week were left stranded by bus company U.S. Coachways after the organizers for a "March for Trump" rally in Washington D.C. failed to pay them.

The Daily Beast's Will Sommer reports that the Trump supporters had expected U.S. Coachways to pick them up and bring them to D.C. where they were set to rally against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry. After the buses never showed up, however, Trump supporters claimed that the bus company was part of a "deep state" conspiracy aimed at silencing their voices.

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Mick Mulvaney is Trump’s new fall guy on corruption — and Republicans just play along

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It's getting increasingly more difficult to keep track of all the new impeachable acts President Trump commits every day. And perhaps even more difficult to imagine the most outrageous thing he can do that the Republican Party would still defend.

This article first appeared in Salon.

It took almost two weeks, but the White House has finally admitting what everyone knew from day one: Trump demanded a quid pro quo from the Ukrainian government before releasing military aid authorized by Congress. Republicans have been denying the obvious, remaining willfully blind to a brazen scheme. That suddenly seems quaint, now that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has confessed on live television that there was a quid pro quo.

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The week Donald Trump’s presidency crashed and burned — and Republicans noticed

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It feels as though every week during the Trump administration is a year and every year a decade. Every day there is a crisis or an outrage or a revelation that takes your breath away. But the underlying dynamics always seem to be the same no matter what. The press reports the story, the Democrats get outraged, the pundits analyze it, the president rages and then Fox and the Republicans all line up like a bunch of robots and salute smartly. Then we reset until the next crisis, outrage or revelation. It's an exhausting cycle that never seems to get us anywhere and it's bred a fatalistic response in many of us: "Nothing matters."

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