In the carefully hidden memo

David Graham in the Atlantic:

Imagine that the White House chief of staff wrote a secret memo, at the behest of the president of the United States, to the Treasury secretary and the director of the Office of Management and Budget. In the carefully hidden memo, the chief of staff directs the two to secretly and illegally cut off all federal funding to two key swing states, both led by Democratic governors, with the goal of rigging turnout in favor of the president’s party in the 2020 election.

Now imagine that the memo leaked to The Wall Street Journal, which splashed the story across its front page. The other major papers would quickly follow. Cable news would cover it wall to wall. There would be congressional investigations.

Now imagine Trump simply did it all in the open…as he did a few days ago.

It’s not illegal and he has no right to punish the state.

He did it to Nevada, too.

Mind you, the tweets are not identical to Graham’s imagine this scenario: Trump in the tweets threatens what he will do, while the imagine this scenario has Trump actually ordering the funds cut off. It’s not a small difference, because Trump is a bully and a blowhard, and he doesn’t carry out everything he threatens.

But what he did do is way more than bad enough.

Here we have two cases of Trump tweeting threats to states that have sought to expand access to voting by mail as a response to the pandemic sweeping the nation, which has already killed nearly 100,000 Americans (you know, the one Trump has repeatedly declared victory over). And for good measure, he’s tagged Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, OMB Director Russ Vought, and the Treasury Department.

And we’re allowed to have voting by mail, and he’s not allowed to stop us.

It’s a crime to try to withhold funds appropriated by Congress in order to interfere with voting. The effort to expand access to mail-in voting is an obviously reasonable response that’s designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also allowing the most people to exercise their right to vote. Ideally, this wouldn’t be a partisan matter. Yet Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from these states because he contends that sending out absentee-ballot applications will benefit Democrats.

In other words he’s threatening to withhold federal funds from these states in order to rig the elections in his favor. Not permitted. Not ok. Not cool.

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