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Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice

Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice
© Anna Moneymaker

If Republicans maintain control of both houses of Congress in the midterm elections, which is not likely but is certainly possible, President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE will almost certainly fire Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDepartment of Justice right to go after Hezbollah Sessions defends media following disappearance of Saudi journalist Trump goes on 12-tweet Twitter tirade MORE and move to remove Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinFBI investigated media leak of McCabe comment about Flynn and Trump House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein Sessions unveils task force to combat transnational criminal groups like MS-13 MORE and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE shortly after the election.

In recent months, Trump and his legal team have moved from cooperating with Mueller to waging an aggressive political war against him. These constant attacks against the special counsel and his team have backfired and added to the dangers the GOP faces in the midterms. 

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Trump’s approval has fallen, Mueller’s approval has risen, and Democratic prospects have further improved. It would be political suicide for Trump to execute a "Saturday Night Massacre" against the administration of justice in America before Election Day.

The reason for the frenzy of attacks against those leading the Russia investigation is that Mueller has now achieved powerful and dramatic success in his investigation. 

He has achieved convictions and now a dramatic plea-bargain cooperation deal with Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortFusion GPS co-founder pleads the Fifth in Congress, attorney cries McCarthyism Virginia judge calls Manafort’s plea deal ‘highly unusual,’ but is it? Three reasons Mueller may not charge Trump with obstruction MORE, Trump’s former campaign chairman. He has achieved a plea deal and cooperation agreement with Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 

He has achieved a plea deal and cooperation agreement with Trump’s former lawyer and longterm fixer, Michael Cohen. He has achieved indictments against Russian operatives for the attacks against America, and cooperation from other Trump associates who have not been charged.

With attacks against those spearheading the Russia investigation reaching a frenzy, the coming midterm elections provide one of the few remaining checks and balances against the danger of even greater abuses of justice than have occurred already during the Trump presidency.

In recent days Trump has escalated his longterm attacks against the attorney general. In an interview with Hill.TV this week that has garnered widespread attention, Trump eviscerated Sessions, saying, “I don’t have an attorney general."   

This level of antagonism from a president toward an attorney general who serves in his administration is alarming and unprecedented.

There is virtually unanimous agreement throughout Washington that Trump will fire Sessions shortly after the midterm elections.

The only check-and-balance that might prevent this would be if Democrats win control of one or both houses of Congress on Election Day, in which case Trump might back off because of the combination of a public firestorm and Democratic control of Congress.

Similarly, Trump and his allies have continued and escalated their attacks against the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

In the Hill.TV interview, Trump, in addition to attacking Attorney General Sessions and falsely charging that special counsel Mueller has a conflict of interest, described the FBI investigation as a “cancer in our country."

It is unprecedented for an American president to launch sustained, aggressive attacks against the major agencies and leaders of those agencies involved in an investigation of a foreign attack, in this case from Russia, against America.

It is equally extraordinary and unprecedented for an American president to seek to declassify highly confidential, sensitive information surrounding the investigation of the foreign attack against America.

It will be fascinating to see whether leaders of American law enforcement, intelligence and counterintelligence services stage a concerted opposition to declassifications they may conclude endanger American security and help the foreign enemy that is attacking America.

Politically, these attacks, coming at this time, will strengthen Trump’s Democratic opponents in the midterm elections and further endanger Trump’s Republican allies in Congress who already face potential catastrophe in the midterms.

These dangers are worsened daily by the conduct of Senate Republicans in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. It is politically unwise for Republicans to resist the call for an impartial FBI background check that would interview key witnesses to seek the truth about the allegations that have been made against Judge Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford.

The bottom line is that, for midterm voters, the only way to protect the integrity of the investigation of the Russian attack against America, the only way to preserve the checks and balances that are the heart of our democratic system of government and the only way to protect the principle of equal justice under law is to vote Democratic on Election Day.

Democrats are sailing with the wind at their backs as the midterm elections approach with public opinion strongly on their side on the most important issues. Democrats are effectively campaigning as the patriot party and standing up for time-honored values of democracy and justice for all.

Democrats are succeeding by asking voters to stand with them in November to preserve, protect and defend the values that Americans hold dear. 

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.