Not future tense any more

By the way we’re no longer approaching or heading for or in danger of a constitutional crisis, we’re in one. We have met the crisis and it is all around us.

Reasonable people are saying the US appears to be teetering on the edge of a constitutional crisis, as the system of checks and balances that has kept democracy humming in America for more than 240 years could be on the verge of breaking down.

“We’re in absolutely uncharted waters,” Heather Richardson, a professor of American history at Boston College and the author of a history of the Republican party, told Quartz, adding “I’m beside myself.”

The framers of the constitution “did not construct a system that was designed to withstand failing all at once,” she said. But the US is now in the throes of a “rogue presidency, a rogue Congress, and packed courts.”

“I think this is the most profound crisis the country has ever been in,” she said, “and we’re all acting as if this is normal.”

Not all.

“The threat from Russia to our democracy is now far less than the threat from within,” California’s Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said today (Feb. 1). “There is nothing Russia can do to us that rivals what we are doing to ourselves right now.”

Depending on who you ask, the US is on the brink of, or has already fallen into, a constitutional crisis—a political problem brought on by the failure of government institutions to protect democracy in the way they’re supposed to. Here’s why Schiff and others are concerned:

The White House is refusing to upholding a law passed by Congress, for Russia’s benefit

The idea of a US constitutional crisis started in earnest on Jan. 29, when the White House said it would not impose new sanctions on Russia, ignoring recent legislation that passed with strong support from both Republicans and Democrats.

That one is staggering. Nunes’s coup attempt is distracting from it, but it’s staggering.

There’s Trump’s relentless interference with the Russia investigation, there’s Congress’s failure to do anything about it, there’s the failure to fund the government.

On Feb. 8, the Congress again is to convene in its next attempt to pass a budget to keep the government open for the next few weeks or months, the fifth time it has been forced to pass a short-term budget since Trump took office, and a sign of how dysfunctional Washington is right now.

Tonight Trump is addressing the winter conference of the Republican National Committee, and you’ll never guess where.

At Trump’s hotel, so all the money spent on the conference will go into Trump’s bank account.

Yeah, we’re in it all right.

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