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Trump just succeeded in weaponizing the Justice Department

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Attorney General Bill Barr directed Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation, the New York Times reported Monday night.

The Times noted that this is the third Justice Department investigation of the investigation. A U.S. Attorney in Utah and Inspector General Michael Horowitz have also examined the probe. And under former Chair Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee extensively pored over the probe for hints of wrongdoing, and while he found evidence that he was able to twist for partisan benefit, there was no sign of actual misconduct by the investigators.

But whatever the new investigation finds, it certainly proves one thing: Trump has succeeded in turning the Justice Department into a political weapon.

Given the other probes, there’s clearly no need for an additional investigation. But Barr has proven that he is a down-the-line Trump partisan, and it’s clear that the president wanted the attorney general to go after the people who began an investigation of his campaign. (He’s never shown any similar sort of animosity to the Russians who actually broke the law and tried to corrupt his team ahead of the election.)

There seem to be two reasonable possibilities that led to the attorney general’s decision: Barr took his orders, either directly from Trump behind the scenes, or indirectly from Trump’s public comments about wanting the “origins” of the investigation examined, and launched the new probe for that reason. Or Trump knew exactly who he was getting when he picked Barr to be attorney general — someone who would see the Russia investigation’s very existence as an affront to a Republican president — and that’s why he chose him.

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Either way, Trump has shown he has enough control over the department to go after his perceived enemies. This is even Trump’s explicit aim — he said last week that it would be fine for him to instruct Barr to investigate Joe Biden, a likely 2020 opponent.

“Certainly, it would be an appropriate thing to speak to him about, but I have not done that as of yet,” Trump said. “It could be a very big situation.”

The irony, of course, is that what Barr has been reported to do is exactly what he, Trump, and other Republicans accuse the Justice Department under President Barack Obama of doing: starting an investigation of an enemy for political reasons. But pointing out their hypocrisy will do little good — for the modern conservative movement, all that matters is who holds the levers of power.

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How Trump could save America

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Donald Trump keeps claiming that his accomplishments exceed those of all previous American presidents.

Earlier this year, the White House published an amazing piece, titled “The Historic Results of Donald J. Trump’s First Two Years in Office.” Trump´s staff patted itself on the back so hard it must have hurt.

You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to realize the following: First, Trump has an obsessive desire to claim himself a success story. Second, despite his massive narcissism, he is painfully aware that he is an unmitigated failure. That is what explains his irrepressible desire to aggrandize himself.

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2020 Election

Democrats are on the verge of setting a ‘time bomb’ for any candidate who can defeat Trump

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If a new president takes over the White House in January 2021, he or she may quickly find that the Democratic Party that just won control of the executive branch left a loaded gun in the hands of the Republicans, who are all too eager to use it.

That should be the takeaway from reports about the budget negotiations between the House Democrats and the Trump administration. According to Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur, the parties are coalescing around an agreement to raise spending by $350 billion, offset that increase somewhat with about $75 billion, and extend the debt ceiling — now set to expire in the fall — to July 31, 2021.

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Trump’s USDA plans to take 3 million Americans off of food stamps

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The US Department of Agriculture will propose a rule on Tuesday that would strengthen restrictions on food stamp recipients -- cutting approximately 3.1 million Americans from the program, according to Reuters.

Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.

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