Dan Rather blasts Trump’s ‘willful disregard for the rule of law’

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather tore into President Trump on Friday, accusing the president of possessing a "willful disregard for the rule of law."

"I have seen weeks of far greater darkness, of war, and death, and economic despair," Rather wrote in a Facebook post. "I have seen weeks of more confusion and uncertainty."

"But I have never seen a week where a president of our nation has behaved with such a cavalier disregard for the norms and institutions of our democracy."

Trump on Friday capped off a week of controversy surrounding his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey by taking to Twitter to warn the ousted law enforcement chief about "tapes" of their conversations.

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Senior Trump administrations officials had initially sought to cast Trump's decision to fire the FBI director as a necessary one based on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Memo: Mueller's depictions will fuel Trump angst Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump Trump frustrated with aides who talked to Mueller MORE and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

But within hours of Comey's ouster Tuesday, competing accounts of the circumstances leading up to Trump's decision emerged, some directly contradicting the White House's narrative.

Comey's firing stirred immediate concern among Democrats and some Republicans, who questioned Trump's timing for dismissing Comey, who was leading the FBI's investigation into possible coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia during the election. 

The news of the firing also drew comparisons by some between Trump and former President Richard Nixon, who resigned from office amid the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

Rather, however, suggested that Trump's actions in office have been more egregious than those of Nixon, and slammed GOP lawmakers who have stood behind the president in spite of a slew of controversies.

"The comparisons with Richard Nixon are plentiful these days, but even he did not seem so untethered from our basic governance," he wrote. "And I have never seen so many members of a political party rally around incompetence, intemperance, and inanity."

But Rather also showered praise on the vocal opposition to Trump that has emerged, calling it "a clash for the values of our nation."

"I hear the voices of those who demand that this subversion of our national ideals shall not stand," he wrote. "I have covered social movement of the past, and never have seen one where so much power and numbers lie on the side of the opposition."