Big stuff!

Jennifer Rubin on Trump’s latest move to obstruct justice:

The move is unprecedented. Never have we seen a president declassify documents in contravention of clear warnings from the intelligence community that doing so would harm national security. That this occurs in yet another effort to derail an investigation into his own wrongdoing, and to smear law enforcement officials, only underscores the degree to which Trump now puts his own political survival above the security of the American people.

I would omit that “now” – he’s done that all along.

“At best, a disgraceful distraction from the [Supreme Court nominee Brett M.] Kavanaugh matter; at worst, an abuse of power tantamount to obstruction of, and tampering with, the Russian investigation,” observes former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi. “People die when sources and methods are disclosed, this is not a game.”

That whole protect and defend the constitution thing? Pah, mere words.

Trump’s actions constitute such a grave violation of his oath to “take care” that laws are faithfully executed, his decision raises constitutional concerns. “Certainly, this is yet another action that triggers the threshold event of a House Judiciary Committee inquiry into abuse of power. Indeed, this is one of the more odious ones on the long and ever-growing list,” former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen tells me. “To play political games with sensitive national security and law enforcement information is reprehensible. To use declassification as a pawn in his battles with his perceived adversaries is worse. It also weakens our national security and law enforcement, and so raises the danger to all of us.” Even if this issue alone does not constitute a singular impeachable offense, he says, if the declassification decision was “undertaken with corrupt intent, [it] certainly could form part of the mosaic of an obstruction case.”

Others see the abuse of presidential power regarding classification as a parallel, but distinct, issue. Constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe argues, “Has this president repeatedly and dangerously abused his powers to classify and declassify information — risking our national security to punish his critics (as with [former CIA director] John Brennan), undermine the work of those investigating him and his family, and reward family members with access to sensitive information they would otherwise be unable to access? The answer appears to be “yes” and, at least, the question warrants systematic investigation by the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.”

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