The threat posed by the breaking of norms in our politics: As Republicans attack the guardrails that could threaten our democracy, the opposing party has a very difficult decision to make: Do the Democrats continue to uphold the norms or do they give back in kind in a way that escalates the slide into authoritarianism? “Progressive nightmares are the same as their dreams”: Trump is, from a certain perspective, not the greatest threat to our institutions: The greatest threat to our institutions comes from those who choose to embrace nihilism and ignorance at the ballot box — a problem that will remain with us long after Trump has left the White House.

If liberals hate him, then Trump must be doing something right: Why bother with conservative principles when there are left-wing moonbats to ridicule? “Anti-anti-Trumpism is the anti-anti-Communism of the 21st century”.

Scott Gottlieb, the new FDA chief, explained: Trump wants to deregulate the Food and Drug Administration — he chose the right guy for the job. The Trump administration used a highly unusual personnel move to skirt Senate confirmation and standard ethics requirements when it installed financial services lawyer Keith Noreika atop powerful banking regulator Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. When President Trump’s bodyguard revealed Jim Mattis’s private cellphone number. “Looking like a liar or a fool”: What it means to work for Trump. Jack Goldsmith on lawyerly integrity in the Trump administration. Is Trump looking for a new press secretary? It must be a real joy working in the White House these days. Republicans should pay attention to what Trump does to his defenders. Trump is making a fool of conservative media.

Jagadish Thimiri, Ramya Burugu, Neale Smith, and Eric Smith (UTEP): An Economic Argument for Drug Legalization. Severin Johannes Zorgiebel (Frankfurt): The Rise of the Unicorns: How Media Affects Start-Up Valuations. In computer attacks, clues point to frequent culprit: North Korea. If Americans can find North Korea on a map, they’re more likely to prefer diplomacy. Syria is secretly executing detainees and burning the remains. 38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island. Colin Dickey reviews Phenomena: The Secret History of the U. S. Government’s Investigations Into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis by Annie Jacobsen. Barron Trump to attend Maryland’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in the fall.

The murderers’ row of voter suppression is here. Trump’s voter fraud commission is a shameless white power grab. Despite Supreme Court ruling, the future looks grim for voting rights.

From ProPublica, the problems with the FBI’s email investigation went well beyond Comey. From TPM, Josh Marshall on how to understand James Comey; and how the Trump tax return/Russia letter is full of holes. The Senate starts to look at Trump’s businesses. Eric Schneiderman on keeping Trump in check and maybe, maybe, investigating the Russian ties. Julian Sanchez on a misplaced focus on “collusion”. A president cannot “hire and fire whoever he wants”: Trump is not the “CEO of the country” — he’s not even the CEO of the federal government; he’s the head of one branch, but there are two co-equal branches. Firing James Comey to impede an investigation isn’t smoke — it’s fire.

Senate Dems have a doomed strategy on Comey — activists want them to go nuclear (and more). The Russia scandal is driving Trump mad; it might undo him — and the Republicans. Republicans are abetting Trump’s abuse of power. This is how democratic backsliding begins: Coups are out — the erosion of the rule of law more typically occurs through the curbing of watchdog agencies.

From Lawfare, consider American politics from the outside looking in: A foreign intelligence analyst report on President Trump; and initial thoughts on the Washington Post’s game-changing story. Trump gave Russia classified intelligence: What we know so far. Ex-intelligence leaders: “Nightmare” if Trump leaked to Russia. Trump’s handling of classified info brings new chaos to White House: “It never stops”. On the campaign trail, Trump was very worried about revealing America’s secrets. 9 times Trump criticized others for mishandling classified information. Paul Ryan, July, 7, 2016: “It’s simple: Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ w/ classified info should be denied further access to it”.

It was long clear that Donald Trump would be an incompetent president — but over the past week he has proven himself to be a dangerously incompetent president. The Russia leak won’t end Trump’s presidency unless Republicans agree it should. Christa Blackmon: lolsob is the new weltschmerz.