Trump threatens press, FBI, and democracy itself — all before breakfast


Donald Trump began his morning with a series of tweets that were extraordinary, even by Trumpian standards. He managed to threaten former FBI Director James Comey, the free press, the very idea of truth, and democracy itself.

Donald Trump's Twitter feed has long been a source of seismic national and global political upheaval.

It was from this platform that he openly implied a promise to go easy on Vladimir Putin over interference in the election, and launched the slanderous claim against President Obama that scuttled the House Intelligence Committee's investigation.

But Trump managed to top even himself Friday morning. His self-inflicted James Comey firing scandal sent him into an epic Twitter meltdown with a series of tweets that, on their own, would lead days of news coverage in an ordinary administration.

First, Trump attacked the very idea of truth, asserting that it is impossible for his spokespeople — who have been caught in multiple lies over the last few days — to deliver accurate information:

Trump then leaned into yet another threat to the free press, attacking a fundamental pillar of democracy:

Finally, and perhaps most extraordinarily, Trump tried to clumsily engage in open psychological warfare with fired FBI Director James Comey:

Trump's threat to Comey is a textbook case of the Russian "active measures" used by Vladimir Putin. It's also yet another example of a bad bluff by a man whose strategy for everything consists entirely of bad bluffs.

While Trump's attempt to intimidate Comey is unlikely to produce the desired effect, it has broadly insidious effects. It's not just a threat against the former FBI director; it's a threat against the future director as well. And for that matter, against anyone in government who meets with the president.

With the blizzard of outrages that emanate from Trump, it is easy to become accustomed to this chaos, but it is not normal, and it must be resisted. When those outrages become assaults on the very foundations of our country, it is up to our elected officials to get involved, and up to the people to demand they do.