Tim Weiner, a journalist and historian who has written a detailed history of the FBI called "Enemies," thinks that President Donald Trump's conflicts with his own law enforcement agencies are setting up a massive constitutional crisis.
Speaking with the Washington Post's Greg Sargent, Weiner explains that what makes this situation different from what former President Richard Nixon did during the Watergate scandal is that Trump has allies in Congress who are willing to attack law enforcement agencies in order to protect the president.
"You certainly had very influential columnists who were diehard Nixon men," Weiner explains to Sargent. "But you did not have a Devin Nunes. You did not have a Sean Hannity. And you did not have an alternate universe of conspiracy theories, in which the FBI was painted as the equivalent of the Weather Underground."
And this, argues Weiner, is what makes this moment in the United States so shockingly dangerous: The government's legislative branch has shown no indication that it will hold the executive branch accountable if it tramples the rule of law by firing special counsel Robert Mueller.
"If Trump moves to tear down the temple by firing Mueller and Rosenstein and putting in a platoon of stooges in charge of the administration of justice, and if Congress does nothing, then it will be beyond anything that Watergate presented," he says.
Thus, argues Weiner, the only thing that's stopping the United States from careening into a full-blown political crisis is Trump's lawyers working to keep him from following through on his impulsive threats to kill the Russia investigation.
"We are two tweets away from an extraordinary constitutional crisis," he says.