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Mueller and a Reckoning With Federal Power

The Michael Cohen raids are a shocking and almost unprecedented abuse of power. But not entirely unprecedented.

Plenty of people who wound up on the wrong side of Federal prosecutors faced ruthless treatment. There’s a reason that they have the conviction rates that they do. But we generally thought that the people it was directed at had it coming. Mobsters and other types of organized crime posed an unprecedented threat. And so they were met with a uniquely unleashed system.

There were others. White collar criminals. Famous people who could be used to smooth a Federal prosecutor’s path to fame, fortune and higher office. And who really liked Martha Stewart anyway?

In recent years, Preet Bharara provided a disturbing master class in destroying the top of the local political class. The prosecutions eventually fell apart, but by then the damage had been done. Most people shrugged. These days, Preet Bharara can be seen everywhere breathlessly predicting new disasters for Trump.

And then, they came for us.

Team Coup is using some of the same tactics against President Trump. But their target isn’t a man, it’s free elections. It’s all of us.

Government is a monster. We create it because it’s better than the alternative. We unleash the monsters to protect us from other monsters. The Constitution and the debates about it were the work of men who understood this explicitly. Time passed. We kept feeding the monster. There were always good reasons. We needed the monster to do things for us, whether it was provide social services or fight organized crime. But the monster kept getting bigger.

It still isn’t big enough to eat all of us. But it thinks that it’s big enough to eat up a president. And the entire idea that the people have the right to elect an “inappropriate” president.

See the full story here.


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