While Republicans in Congress cheer him on, Trump sets his sights on destroying faith in vital U.S. institutions.
Even those with the darkest fears about Donald Trump's presidency when it began 11 months ago probably couldn't have predicted that he and his party would end the year by doing everything in their powers to smear and vilify law enforcement officials because they had the audacity to investigate possible Trump corruption.
Not to mention the fact the GOP is now attacking Republican law enforcement officials.
But faced with the crisis of a special counsel probe that appears to be gaining momentum and ratcheting up the legal jeopardy for the White House, Trump and his loyalists now seek to destroy the reputation of the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller — a longtime Republican.
For famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, who appeared on CNN Tuesday night, it's obvious that the GOP offensive is designed to damage America's democracy:
BERNSTEIN: Everybody else is the issue here, not Donald Trump and his actions or those around him. The word in all of that that he keeps using in all of this is tainted. There's only one institution that has been tainted through these months and that is the Trump presidency. It's tainted by the president's lies, by his disrespect for American institutions operating under law with traditional American democracy and the instruments there of. He's contemptuous of these instruments. And what we're seeing in these constant attacks, which are undermining indeed confidence in the legitimate institutions of our government, which are trying to do their job. If the president is as confident as he says that the investigation is going to end very soon and with him being exonerated, he ought to welcome all of this instead of attacking constantly. He's doing a grave disservice to our democracy.
Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward broke the Watergate story during Richard Nixon's presidency, also lamented how Republicans are allowing Trump's attacks to go un-checked. "The really awful thing is Republicans, particularly in Congress and also an awful lot of the Republican quote 'establishment,' and voters, are going along and enabling him to make these claims."
It truly is extraordinary to watch the GOP, which once prided itself on being the law-and-order party, now openly and excitedly not only attack the FBI, but try to dismantle all confidence in U.S. law enforcement as part of the GOP's desperate and transparent attempt to save the Trump presidency.
Eagerly doing Russia's bidding by aggressively undercutting American institutions and sowing seeds of doubt about democracy, Trump and Republicans are indeed doing a "grave disservice."