Three legal experts who previously worked for Republican White Houses have co-written an editorial in which they call out President Donald Trump for demonstrating a "dangerous disdain for the rule of law."
The three officials -- Donald Ayer, a deputy attorney general in the George HW Bush administration; Stuart Gerson, an assistant attorney general in the H.W. Bush administration; and Paul Rosenzweig, a deputy assistant secretary of Homeland Security in the George W. Bush administration -- argue in USA Today that Trump has been undermining the rule of law in plain sight, even without taking the Mueller report into consideration.
"Leading up to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, we saw multiple news accounts, some based on unidentified administration officials and other sources, about a president directing law enforcement agents to ignore judicial orders; working to hollow out a vital domestic law enforcement agency, the Department of Homeland Security, because its leaders will not bend to his will; and suggesting that he will punish his political opponents by targeting them for adverse actions," they write.
They then document how Trump has been systematically removing officials who have served as guardrails preventing him from breaking the law, including former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and former White House counsel Don McGahn.
"These and other recent steps to secure a narrow political advantage by impairing our legal institutions and undermining faith in them are a gross offense to the idea that no man or woman is above the law," they write. "In the end, all of our liberties, and our democratic system of government, depend upon maintaining the rule of law by reliance on the independent judiciary, the separation of powers and limited government."