President Donald Trump has abused the power of his office — again.
Whether directly or by Twitter, he has used his influence to pressure the Department of Justice to revise the sentence recommended by prosecutors for his friend Roger Stone.
So far as we know, all this has been done in the open.
Four prosecutors have withdrawn. One of them has resigned.
He’s forced the termination of two officials who testified in the impeachment trial in a way he didn’t like.
President Trump’s actions are those of a dictator. He has shown no respect for the rule of law. He has undermined the independence of the courts. He has put himself above the law.
He has done these things in the wake of his acquittal by the Senate in his impeachment trial. We can only interpret his actions as vainglorious and revengeful.
What can we do about them?
There is an election coming and we can vote him out of office.
Perhaps even more importantly, we can determine not to get used to this kind of behavior on the part of our president.
This is the great evil of absolute rulers. People get used to their dictatorial behavior. It becomes the new normal, just the way things are.
And gradually, imperceptibly, the freedoms enjoyed by citizens in a democracy are lost. In this case what may be lost is the independence of the courts. They are the institution that makes our government of checks and balances work. They are the arbiter of justice in a free society.
We should not ignore President Trump’s transgressions. But let us never get used to them.