This Is Not Corruption As Usual. This Is Authoritarianism.

President Trump's level of corruption and dishonesty is not only unprecedented, it is undemocratic.
President Donald Trump’s Inauguration – January 20, 2017 (AP)

President Donald Trump’s Inauguration – January 20, 2017 (AP)

In my conversations with some undecided voters, I’ve noticed a habit of compartmentalizing President Trump’s dishonesty and corruption into a “both sides” view of American politics. These voters agree that Trump is a despicable human being and stunningly corrupt, but not in any particularly dangerous way. “All politicians are corrupt liars,” they say, and Trump is just the most open about his corruption while past Presidents have hidden theirs. This is a lazy way to view this historic political moment – which is significantly more corrupt than Watergate.

As Rantt Contributor Rand Engel expertly found in his extensive article, Republican administrations had 38 times more criminal convictions than Democrats between 1961-2016. In spite of the many misconceptions, it’s been well established that the modern Republican Party is significantly more corrupt than the Democratic Party. But when it comes to President Trump, the corruption has been taken to an entirely new level.

President Trump has uttered over 10,000 lies, misstatements, or falsehoods during his presidency, according to The Washington Post. This dishonesty is the bedrock of the Trump administration’s bad faith approach to government. From scandal to scandal, President Trump and his team of sycophants have blatantly lied to the American people about matters both big and small. Donald Trump is perhaps the greatest conman in American history.

As a businessman, Donald Trump fabricated his self-made persona and lied about his wealth, as new reporting on his taxes from The New York Times revealed. As a candidate, Donald Trump was seeking a Trump Tower in Moscow while lying to the American people about it. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report outlined, Trump also tried to cast doubt on Russian interference while simultaneously being receptive to their election assistance to his campaign. As President, Donald Trump moved to obstruct the Russia investigation in 10 key ways. Over 800 federal prosecutors have signed a letter which asserts that Donald Trump would be very clearly indicted for obstruction of justice if it weren’t for the OLC memo stating a sitting President cannot be indicted.

After the redacted report was released, the White House and Attorney General William Barr have lied about the report and vowed not to comply with every subpoena that House Democrats have directed their way. As House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has said, this stonewalling is placing our country in a constitutional crisis by refusing to comply with a co-equal branch of government’s constitutional oversight. There is also Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who is openly violating the law by refusing to hand over six years of Trump’s tax returns to Congress. We’ve been in a constitutional crisis far before Nadler made this comment.

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At Rantt, we’ve covered President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies at great length. From his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border based on lies to his efforts to obstruct the investigations that plague him, President Trump has abused presidential power in several ways. Calling for the jailing of his political opponents like Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and James Comey is not befitting of a president – it’s typical of an autocrat.

President Trump’s rhetoric has moved from combative to dictatorial when it comes to the press. Trump has labeled the media “the enemy of the American people,” called honest reporting “fake news,” while encouraging violence towards reporters even after one of his supporters sent pipe bombs to CNN. And while this has been happening, President Trump has formed an unprecedented relationship with Fox News which has led to coverage that is very much like state-run TV. This is all in an effort to distort reality for his base, who Trump likes to keep in a state of bigoted fear about immigrants and people who look different than them.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), reported at least 1,400 conflicts of interest in Trump’s first two years. President Trump’s refusal to divest from his companies who receive foreign money makes his business interests inherently incompatible with the interests of America, and arguably unconstitutional. President Trump ran a campaign claiming he was going to drain the swamp. Instead, Trump filled his administration with swamp creatures, who like him, have misused government funds and bent government agencies to serve the industries they left behind.

All of this comes as the Republican Party abdicates their duty to uphold the Constitution while they seek to subvert democracy through gerrymandering and voter suppression. They have become willing accomplices in this indecent administration that is willing to go to any lengths to maintain power, even if it means separating migrant children from their parents and targeting women and minorities with oppressive policies. House Democrats have a choice to make. The evidence is there. There are impeachable offenses that move far beyond Mueller’s report, like President Trump’s hush money payments that made him an unindicted co-conspirator with Michael Cohen or his abuses of power. This doesn’t even cover his business history of fraud which federal prosecutors in New York are actively investigating.

These past two years have moved at an unrelenting pace. The chaos has caused many Americans to tune out, and understandably so. Hopefully, as the 2020 election approaches, more Americans will take the time to do their own research and absorb the full extent of President Trump’s corruption and recognize that this is not normal. Luckily, we’ve done all of that research for you. In my column Unpresidented, I’ve documented every day of Donald Trump’s presidency. You can also read our summary and index of his first two years in office.

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Opinion // Authoritarianism / Corruption / Donald Trump / Republican Party