President Donald Trump’s unprecedented actions have placed American democracy on the brink of a constitutional disaster, and the country’s impending crisis is a direct result of no one holding the newly elected leader accountable. Because the entire federal government is presently controlled by the Republican Party, there are no effective checks and balances to mitigate Trump’s power. To ensure his unquestioned authority, the Commander-in-Chief just fired the man who oversees the FBI. James Comey was widely respected within the Bureau, and he was considered the last independent safeguard on this presidency.
Comey was tasked with leading the investigation into Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election. Because many of Trump’s associates have ties to the foreign superpower, investigators are seeking evidence of collusion. If proof is discovered, this would inevitably lead to impeachment and Trump’s subsequent removal from office. As a result, Comey was considered a major threat to this administration, and his termination raises plenty of questions pertaining to how the investigation will be handled now.
Trump is expected to nominate a replacement for Comey in the coming days, and he is likely to pick someone who will have an approach that is more favorable to the White House. The politicization of the FBI marks a dangerous new step towards authoritarianism, and nothing seems to be standing in the president’s way.
Of course, any nominee would have to be confirmed by the United States Senate; however, the Republicans hold a slim majority in the chamber, so the chances of them approving Trump’s pick are high. So far, Congress has steadfastly supported the president during every controversial move. GOP senators have demonstrated an unwillingness to stand up to Trump in any meaningful fashion. Until the status quo changes, this legislature will play no role in mitigating the potential damage of his presidency.
The Democratic opposition in Congress is simply outnumbered, so they cannot play a significant role in challenging Trump. As a result, many citizens have placed their hopes in the judicial branch. While liberal courts may hand down some initial victories in slowing down the president’s agenda, these decisions will ultimately be appealed. Thus, the final outcome rests with the Supreme Court, and their recently restored 5-4 conservative majority practically assures a win for Trump on any issue.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also proposing a major overhaul to the judiciary. Sessions is aggressively transforming the Justice Department; in fact, he personally recommended Comey’s removal, despite promising to recuse himself from any matter that relates to the Russia investigation.
Some of Trump’s opponents were expecting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to play a more impartial role in the administration’s affairs, but these hopes appear to have been unfounded. His sterling reputation has been tarnished by a series of decisions in the past few days. First, he co-signed the letter that recommended Comey’s firing; then, he bluntly refused to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case. As such, there is no credible counterpoint to Trump’s rapid expansion of executive authority.
Based on these circumstances, America is witnessing a terrifying transition that threatens the fundamental concept of democracy. These are not normal times, and the president is not a normal leader. The only members of Trump’s party who have consistently spoken out against him are Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham. Unless more Republicans join them, the executive branch will continue consolidating power until the harm is irreversible. If matters proceed accordingly, there is no chance of hindering Trump’s descent into fascism until the 2018 midterm elections.