Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, The Times’ letters editor, and it is Saturday, May 13, 2017. Warning to travelers: Today may be the start of the toughest weekend ever for flying out of Los Angeles International Airport. Here’s a look back at the week in Opinion.
Remember — you don’t have to think far back — when Republicans regarded any perceived impropriety out of the White House as a scandal? When Constitution lovers like Sen. Ted Cruz preached in favor of appointing a special prosecutor to frisk the Obama administration over the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative tax-exempt groups?
The sound judgment of Donald Trump appears to have calmed these excitable Republicans, because few seem worried by the president’s extraordinarily scandalous firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing his agency’s counterintelligence investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign. In an op-ed article, Matt Welch says these Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, are abdicating their responsibility to keep Trump in check:
Trump’s crude self-dealing, outsize ego and willingness to wield state power against individuals were hardly secrets during the presidential campaign. Any politician who criticized executive-branch abuse under President Obama (and preferably President George W. Bush as well), should understand instinctively that this norm-breaking president requires more, not less, prophylactic restraint in the form of independent institutions and personnel.
Valuing such protections does not require any belief in Russia-conspiracy Twitter threads. To the contrary: Those who believe there’s no fire under the Russian smoke should want an unimpeachable, nonpartisan source to discover and publicize that conclusion.[Sen. Rand] Paul, Cruz and [Sen. Mike] Lee (who also supported Comey’s sacking) are arguably the Senate’s three most eloquent voices declaiming the legislative branch’s constitutional abdication in making war, surveillance policy and even budgets. They are right about this, and they were right in demanding more investigative independence in the…