GOP have tended to dismiss President Trump’s attacks on the rule of law as the naïve utterances of a political novice. When confronted with evidence that Trump has repeatedly pressured Senate Republicans to end their investigation of the Russia collusion, GOP told the New York Times that the president merely “still has the mind-set of a businessman rather than a politician.”

Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, has elevated this assumption to official presidential doctrine in an explosive interview with Mike Allen. A “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer and has every right to express his view of any case,” he says.

There are two ways Trump could abuse the power of law enforcement. The first is offensive, to direct it as a weapon against his political enemies. The second is defensive, shielding himself and his allies from any accountability, and thereby enabling them to commit crimes without consequence.

Trump has publicly attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller and threatened, publicly and privately, to fire him.

His belief that the entire government should operate on his personal behalf in exactly the same way as his employees at the Trump Organization is a worldview incompatible with republican government.

Limits on the president’s authority over law enforcement, both formal and informal, are an essential bulwark against authoritarianism. Trump has been testing those limits since he assumed office, New York Magazine reports.