The United States was not designed to withstand the sort of authoritarian onslaught we’re seeing from Donald Trump, former CIA analyst Nada Bakos warned on Wednesday night.
Appearing on Don Lemon’s CNN program, Bakos expounded upon a tweet where she warned that “the republic is burning.”
The republic is burning and we are all bystanders. (This is not hyperbole)
— Nada Bakos (@nadabakos) July 10, 2018
Bakos said that American democracy is in a very fragile state.
“Now we see how weak these institutions are it comes up against authoritarian measures,” she said. “The institutions themselves aren’t built for this. Our democracy is fragile enough right now because of the erosion that’s happened. W’re starting to see and not feel quite impactfully as we should some of the things that authoritarians have typically done throughout the years.”
The problem, Bakos said, is that the Constitution designed our government to have checks and balances—and they have failed under the Republican Party’s failure to hold President Trump accountable. As a CIA analyst, she would have flagged this.
“This is what we would call an early warning analysis,” she said. “We would talk about the fact that, here are the signposts along the way and the signals that measure authoritarian values that crop up…. you’re eroding democratic norms.”
USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, who was also on the panel, agreed.
“This is what happens in every country before the fall. Some people say, people are being alarmists, everybody’s overreacting. When things are starting to crumble people literally say ‘Our institution’s too strong, people can stand up against this,” she said.
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On Monday, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper, following President Donald Trump's attacks on him for calling his behavior racist in a recent article. The president accused him of "kissing [his] a**" in an Oval Office phone call.
Speaking to Cooper, Friedman denied Trump's characterization of their discussion.
"The president tweeted about a private conversation we had and lobbed in a few insults," said Friedman. "Basically, my response, which I put out on Twitter is that I was encouraged by a friend of his to speak to him after the downing of the American drone, because I thought it was wise that we not retaliate, and I thought he was wise not to retaliate, and this friend of his wanted me to encourage him in that, because he was evidently agonizing a little over that not retaliating. And I did that. I began the conversation by saying that 'I disagree with you, Mr. President on many things, but I think you did the right thing on this.' We talked for about four minutes. We also talked about China and we left it at that."
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No one can say with certainty what former special counsel Robert Mueller will tell the American people when he testifies before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on Wednesday.
But on Monday, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the broad strokes of what Mueller will be expected to say — and what the American people should be listening for if they are not yet convinced President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses.
"Do you think there are Americans out there who still haven't made up their mind on this issue of impeachment, obstruction of justice, collusion and all of that?" Blitzer asked her. "Have the American people moved on?"
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So far, one of the only pieces of good news in the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran is that President Donald Trump has been reluctant to use military force, taking his cues in part from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who has personally warned him that it would end his presidency — resisting the urges of his most trigger-happy advisers like John Bolton.
Now, however, the president appears to be having second thoughts as it becomes clearer that he will not be able to broker a better deal than President Barack Obama's nuclear agreement, and is starting to view the conflict more hawkishly, reported CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Monday.