Even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has concluded — and Trump’s made a big deal about the “angry Democrats” supposedly behind it — in the president’s world, everyone is apparently still out to get him. That’s not exactly reassuring for those concerned about the direction of the United States. This week at a summit covering prescription drug abuse and heroin, he launched into a diatribe about how he’d supposedly faced a system “rigged” against him, although the people across the country struggling with the issues he was supposed to be talking about no doubt couldn’t care less about his latest “Poor Me!” routine.
After telling the crowd that his team had demanded that major pharmaceutical companies stop “giving European countries a better deal than they give their own country,” he added:
‘You know what that means. The sophisticates out there that do this for a living — you know exactly — that’s a big deal. Sounds like big deal, but it really is a big deal. At long last we’re stopping the drug companies and foreign countries from rigging the system. I know about the rigging the system because I had the system rigged on me. I think you know what I’m taking about. Unfortunately that will be your soundbite tonight but that’s okay. The system was rigged!’
Towards the end, at least some of those in attendance laughed — seemingly with and not at Trump this time. The distinction is not a given considering the laughter that broke out in the halls of the United Nations General Assembly when Trump claimed in a speech there that his administration had done the most of almost any U.S. presidency in history.
Although he didn’t explicitly mention the Russia investigation, it’s clear to anyone who’s followed his rhetoric for any amount of time what he was referring to. He has consistently complained that the “witch hunt” led by “angry Democrats” is “the worst and most corrupt political Witch Hunt in the history of the United States.” Remember, just as an easy reference point illuminating the ridiculousness of Trump’s remarks — we’ve had actual witch hunts in the United States before, meaning occasions on which people alleged to be actual witches were taken into custody and executed. And Trump still wants us to take his claims seriously that the fact that authorities addressed the mountains of evidence suggesting a global political conspiracy means he’s some poor persecuted soul.
His claim this week that the system was “rigged” against him again constitutes a nearly unprecedented condemnation of the entire U.S. justice system from someone who’s supposed to be defending it. He again seems to want to operate above the law.
Still, he continues to face issues. In light of the evidence Mueller’s team collected outlining apparent presidential obstruction of justice even in the absence of a criminally prosecutable conspiracy with Russia, a number of prominent Democrats have called for or suggested they’re open to impeachment. Such figures are as high-profile as presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who was the first contender for the White House to make such a call.
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