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The (Also) Bad, Ugly, & Terrible

By Han Lee



Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. By Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

As the world reeled this past week over the phallic overcompensation of President Trump on Twitter, many have failed to take notice of our democratic institutions steadily falling prey to the President's whims.




In a stunning break from Congressional norms, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham announced this past weekend that they have submitted a criminal referral to the Department of Justice concerning the Christopher Steele dossier from the 2016 U.S. presidential election- a dossier that gained infamy for (among other things) reporting that Moscow prostitutes had urinated on the president. 


This referral lacks public evidence, though the senators insisted that they had filed a "classified memorandum" to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. 

This comes on the heels of months of agitated demands from President Trump calling for investigation into the dossier, with such demands providing a worrying context for the request filed by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a board of elected federal representatives directly in charge of investigating violations of and enforcing the law.  Said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee,


"...this referral is unfortunate as it’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what should be the committee’s top priority: determining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice."


In a continuation of this worrying new norm, the New York Timesreported this past week that White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, on the president's explicit orders, had attempted to prevent Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Department of Justice's investigation into then presidential nominee Trump's campaign's collusion with Russia, saying that "he needed his attorney general to protect him."



Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

As special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's Russian collusion continues, he has uncovered several substantiated reports that a mere four days before the firing of FBI Director James Comey, aides were asked by A.G. Sessions in lieu of an increasingly frenzied Pres. trump whether they had any damaging information on Comey that could be used to discredit him. 


SO?

As we've reported before, Trump is a master of branding. 

By generating a deluge of controversial tweets, remarks, and general fuckwittery on a daily interval, the President has, time and time again, proven himself remarkably adept at manipulating the attention of the American people.

As we focus on the terrifyingly embarrassing spectacle of the President courting nuclear war with an unhinged dictator, and gawk at his irredeemable defense of pedophiles, rapists, and sexual harassers, we consistently fail to realize that to a large extent, the side shows work to his benefit and agenda.

It is here then, at this monumental crux in American history, that we must emphatically protect and preserve the journalistic institutions of the fourth estate.  It is only through the peerless dedication and thankless efforts of journalists at outlets at not only the Times and the Post, but podcasts and blogs such as this that the American population is able to keep our collective head above water in order to weather this terrible storm. 

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