Trump’s attempts to see legitimate election activities as fraudulent and to use the courts – a pillar of the nation’s democratic architecture – to interfere with the vote count – another – are the latest examples of his long pliable view of the democratic system.
“STOP!” Trump shouted Thursday on Twitter as he deployed attorneys on what appeared to be a long-term effort to stop tallying votes in Nevada and Pennsylvania. Electoral ballots from either state that could resolve the presidential election are currently in limbo.
As president, Trump sought to personalize and control the three branches of government at varying degrees. His top-down approach is much less extensive than the autonomy Putin and other authoritarian rulers he admires, and Trump joked about how much easier those leaders were. .
At home, Putin took steps to consolidate his power and undermine the independence of the judiciary and legislature. He was accused of enriching himself during his term, changing the laws to suit himself and his family, and ensuring that he could stay in power almost indefinitely. One highlight of his dealings with the West, however, is to point out international rules and procedures that he claims Russia is following and that others are not.
Like Putin, Trump takes a selective approach to the rule of law that changes to fit his cognitive advantage, said Georgetown University professor Angela Stent, author of Putin̵7;s World: Russia against the West and with the rest of the world, ”said.
“In Russia, the law follows the will of those in power,” Stent said. “And we have seen under Trump a desire to make the Justice Department his Justice Department instead of the Justice Department for the American people. He wanted a system where the laws were applied differently depending on who was in power ”.
The president doesn’t have that system, but usually behaves as if he does, Stent and others say.
When running for re-election this year, Trump called for Biden, former President Barack Obama, 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats to be prosecuted or imprisoned unjustly. .
He assigns House impeachment manager Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) A criminal, and calls the investigation fraud.
He openly relied on Attorney General William P. Barr to pursue investigations or political action and complained that Barr was not doing enough to release an investigation into how the Obama administration investigated collusion. could happen between Russia and Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Trump wants to report that before the November 3 election.
Barr got the job because Trump has complained that Barr’s predecessor, Jeff Sessions, did not block a subsequent special counsel’s investigation into relations between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Sessions said he was in compliance with the law.
Trump was amused and called Sessions “weak”.
“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” he’s frantic with aides and friends, alluding to the legendary New York ruthless lawyer.
The president was blunt about the reason for wanting to quickly install a replacement for Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away in September. He wants his conservative candidate present. in the supreme court in time to hear any election-related cases, he said. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed last month.
Trump used federal authorities to free protesters from the park in front of the White House in June, calling the group an anarchist crowd.
But he has tiptoed around mob violence or intimidation carried out by his supporters, refusing to directly condemn the White nationalist group as “Proud Boys” or those who Protesters broke into Michigan’s legislature earlier this year because of the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump also suspects a federal investigation of a alleged kidnapping plot against Michigan’s Democratic governor, saying last month that people “should have the right” to decide for themselves whether the accused, Many of them are Trump supporters, have you committed any crime.
After a convoy of supporters surrounded and delayed a Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway on Friday, Trump cheered them on.
“In my opinion, these patriots have done nothing wrong,” Trump said in a tweet Sunday. “Instead, the FBI & Justice should investigate the ANTIFA’s terrorists, anarchists, and agitators.”
Now behind Biden in the electoral college, Trump has unfoundedly stated that a delay in the tally of the remaining votes represents an attempt to steal the election. His campaign is contested to stop counting in some states where the additional votes appear to benefit Biden but continue or recount votes in other states for which Trump may base the base.
Before the election, Trump insisted that the results must be known on Election Day for fear of “fraud”. Now, advisers like former adviser Kellyanne Conway say there is no rush to “count every legal vote” in some states.
“All Biden’s recently claimed States will be legally challenged by us for Voter Fraud and State Election Fraud,” Trump tweeted on Thursday.
Like previous claims of rampant voter fraud, he offers no evidence.
Bob Bauer, a Biden election campaign attorney, said Trump’s statements were an attempt to “misrepresent what’s going on in the election process.”
Evelyn Farkas, a senior expert with the Defense Department on Russia and the region under Obama, said the consistency had nothing to do with Putin and other dictators accustomed to controlling government leverage with diktat. .
“The Russian mentality is,” Whatever truth works for you in the moment is the truth that you grasp in that moment, “Farkas said. “Even if you say something different two minutes later, it doesn’t matter. You call that second truth for your immediate needs and your followers who don’t care. ”
Likewise, Trump has conditioned his supporters to accept his statements with face value, Farkas said, or treat some of his bizarre proposals as amusing.
“Cherry picks your truth,” said Farkas, not a new idea to Trump. “He learned something from Putin.”
Andra Gillespie professor of political science, James Weldon Johnson Institute director for Race and Difference Studies at Emory University, said Trump could not assume he could deceive before judges deciding to see any complaints. His election is worthy or not.
Trump might not really try to win on the strength of his legal arguments in places like Georgia, she said. A judge issued a Trump challenge in the state on Thursday.
“This is a public opinion call on his base,” said Gillespie. “He has a desire to maintain a certain strength posture, that he is standing firm against the existing strengths. And he has supporters, people who readily agree with him, people who are skeptical of the bureaucracy and the ‘deep state’. “
Trump claims that professional government employees’ “deep state” journeys are hindering his political agenda, and he has repeatedly complained about “free judges” or ” Judge Obama “.
“It played a part in the story he made,” says Gillespie of fighting a bunch of enemies. “The problem is when the rhetoric comes in contact with the truth.”