Alex Webb: Trump’s Huawei ban will reverberate beyond China

“U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to blacklist Huawei Technologies Co. may just have scuppered any lingering hopes for more cross-border mergers in the semiconductor industry. On Friday, the administration barred U.S. firms from supplying components to the Chinese maker of telecommunications equipment, which it accuses of helping Beijing to spy. But uncertainty around the scope of the order means that chipmakers in Europe also decided to stop supplies to Huawei.”

Ryan Goodman: How Trump’s stonewalling puts our democracy at risk

“Our legislators aren’t flying blind, but the Trump administration is preventing them from obtaining the kind of visibility that would best serve the country. Time is running short: The electoral calendar won’t bend, and the full threat of foreign interference remains unaddressed. The administration’s bad faith arguments for keeping this information secret will surely affect how federal judges view the executive branch’s position when Congress takes officials to court over the full Mueller report. Judge Mehta’s reaction to Mr. Trump’s lawyers is a signal of how this will play out.”

NY Times: The President and his power to pardon

“On its face, this authority appears unquestionable, and the Supreme Court has called it ‘unlimited.’ But in his more than two years in office, Donald Trump has found ways to wield or dangle the pardon power in a manner that departs from any established practice and even calls into question the principles of justice that undergird it…It is past time for Congress to display a more robust appetite for exploring this president’s use of the pardon power — if only to assure the public that he is pursuing his constitutional duties rather than his political interests.”

Inu Manak: Is the GOP still the party of free trade? No

“The U.S. Constitution vests Congress with the authority to regulate commerce, but over the years it has ceded that authority. If the current environment does not invigorate Republican members of Congress to work to take back this responsibility, it is hard to take claims that they value trade as a benefit for Americans seriously. Meanwhile, polls suggest that most Americans support free trade, and Democrats have surpassed Republicans as its most ardent supporters. We have yet to see whether Democrats will take up the mantle of free traders, but in the meantime, the Republicans certainly can no longer claim that title, as they continue to make excuses for the president’s actions. The party of free trade? No. More like the Grand Old Protectionists.”

David Leonhardt: Trump’s 2020 dirty tricks

“President Trump offered a preview last week of his 2020 campaign tactics, and they were ugly. He intends to use the power of the presidency to harass his political opponents and create an air of scandal around them. By doing so, he hopes to make at least some voters believe that all politicians are equally corrupt rather than recognizing that Trump himself is the most corrupt president in a long, long time.”

Stephen Vladeck: Trump can only use the Insurrection Act because Congress let it happen

“The obvious lesson here, as with the National Emergencies Act, the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, the Trade Expansion Act, and others, is that Congress ought to put less faith into these political checks, and more teeth into substantive statutory limits on the president’s authorities. In the case of the Insurrection Act, some of us have been arguing as much for years. But that can’t—and won’t—happen until members of this (or any) president’s own party, and not just his opponents, privilege the separation of powers over the separation of parties.”

Larry Diamond: ‘The Global Crisis of Democracy’

“President Donald Trump has insulted U.S. allies, befriended Vladimir Putin, excused a grim list of other dictators, embraced nativist politics and movements, and shaken the post-World War II liberal order. But the problem also includes cynical politicians in both parties, calcified systems that don’t deliver public goods and complacent citizens who cannot bestir themselves to vote. All of this is tarnishing the overall luster of democracy—and pulling America away from the world. If we do not soon reverse this U.S. retreat, democracy world-wide will be at risk.”

Nadler to White House: You must be joking

“Alternatively, Congress is building a darn good record for litigation. And finally, as an alternative or after exhausting the judicial option, Congress has enough material for at least three robust articles of impeachment. (And we haven’t gotten to a possible campaign finance conspiracy or possible financial misconduct.) In Watergate, they said to follow the money. Here, follow the letters. They’ll tell you a lot.”

Jennifer Rubin: Kushner flunks another assignment

“What Trump never understands (among other things) is that reunification is often vitally important to new immigrants who rely on extended family, for example, for child care to remain fully employed. The thrice married president who was apparently a distant figure until his children grew up, as with so much else, just doesn’t get it.”

Timothy L. O’Brien: Wouldn’t you like to know if Trump can be bribed?

“If some of Trump’s business problems accelerate then the financial conflicts of interest that have marked his presidency from its inception may become even more significant. Trump has historically put his wallet ahead of other considerations and souring businesses would make him more susceptible to outside financial and political influence than he already is – presenting, of course, a clear national security problem.”

David Ignatius: America and Iran are both oddly eager for war

“The U.S.-Iran faceoff is one of those odd situations where both players appear eager to set off sparks, although neither seems to want a raging fire. They seem comfortable in a halfway zone of conflict, where nations use force in deniable ways across different domains, hoping they don’t set off an explosion. The problem is that nobody in Washington, Europe or the Middle East has a convincing answer to the obvious question: What’s next? Each side says it fears an attack by the other, but hard-liners in both capitals seem eerily ready for an exchange of blows.”

Zachary Karabell: Trump’s trade war makes Mexico great again

“The easy, and wrongheaded, pro-tariff argument made by Trump and his fellow China hawks is that when he slaps a tax on goods from China, it will make it less attractive for companies to manufacture there and less appealing for American consumers to buy goods made in China. That will then create an incentive to make more in the United States. So, America wins, right? But the reality is that America and China are both going to lose, and they aren’t haggling in a vacuum. There are dozens of players ready to swoop in to take advantage when two titans start wounding each other.”

Henry Farrell & Bruce Schneier: Democracy’s dilemma

“Democracies depend on the free flow of accurate information more fundamentally than autocracies do, not only for functioning markets and better public policy, but also to allow citizens to make informed voting decisions, provide policy input, and hold officials accountable. At the same time, information flows can be manipulated to undermine democracy by allowing the unchecked spread of propaganda and pseudo-facts, all made more efficient by the Internet, automation, and machine learning. This is Democracy’s Dilemma: the open forms of input and exchange that it relies on can be weaponized to inject falsehood and misinformation that erode democratic debate.”

Jamsheed & Carol Choksy: Iran, give Trump a call

“Tehran’s leadership should bear in mind that for Trump, a deal seems to be ‘horrible’ unless it is proposed by his administration. Only then can it be deemed ‘fair’ if not ‘great.’ By making his willingness for a phone call clear, President Trump is laying the groundwork for an attempt, through his bipolar style of negotiations, at an agreement bearing his signature, instead of those of the previous U.S. administration and the other world powers. As Trump stated when he exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran deal, in May 2018, he seeks ‘to negotiate a new deal.'”

Judge Andrew Napolitano: We’ve lost sight of basic constitutional norms

“Today, presidents have basically abandoned the separation of powers Madison so carefully crafted. Three events took place last week—all at the hands of President Donald Trump—and each warrants examination from the Madisionian perspective as each assaults limited government and rejects the separation of powers. Each, as well, involves the accumulation of unconstitutional power in the branch of government that Madison feared the most.”

Stacey Abrams: We cannot resign ourselves to disenfranchisement and dismay

“Facing an existential crisis of democracy, Americans cannot resign ourselves to disenfranchisement and dismay. We must find hope in the energy of voters who supported access to health care, economic opportunity and high-quality public education in record numbers. This is our ethos: Use the ballot box to create the change our communities need and deserve. In Georgia and across our country, voters deserve the right to pick their leaders and set the direction of our nation. And we shall not rest until this democracy is fully realized.”

Walter Dellinger: Democrats’ obsession with redaction is obscuring the fact that Trump committed high crime

“The more I review the report, the more absurd and misleading the we-need-to-know-more response seems to be. And the more it seems to have contributed to public misunderstanding. How different would it have been if a unified chorus of Democratic leaders in Congress and on the campaign trail had promptly proclaimed the actual truth: This report makes the unquestionable case that the president regularly and audaciously violated his oath and committed the most serious high crimes and misdemeanors.”

E.J. Dionne Jr: The NRA is imploding. We have fancy clothes to thank for that.

“The NRA’s implosion should be an occasion for a new conversation between metropolitan and small-town America that is, in any event, much needed. The high-living gun lobbyists do not have rural America’s interests at heart. Advocates of gun safety do not disrespect fellow citizens who use guns responsibly. The real insult to them comes from the leaders who buy fancy clothes on their dime.”

Eric Levitz: Trump is a threat to democracy…so play nice

“If Trump’s boasts about sexual assault, praise of neo-Nazis, attacks on prisoners of war, and attempts to throw millions of Americans off of health insurance didn’t persuade these people that they should remove him from office through conventional means, why would impeachment proceedings convince them that Democrats should expel Trump through extraordinary ones? After all, the whole saga would inevitably end with the Senate awarding Trump ‘total exoneration,’ thereby signaling to these low-information Americans that the whole impeachment thing had been a partisan crusade.”

Sen Chris Murphy & Rep Jim Himes: Stop the march to war

“It is not too late to stop this mistake. Military brinkmanship, designed to provoke or cause an aggressive reaction, can be stopped. We ask that the administration brief Congress on the situation in an open and transparent way and acknowledge that the Constitution grants war-making authority solely to Congress, not the Oval Office. Critically, President Trump must understand that the authorization for the use of military force that Congress passed in 2001 against al-Qaeda does not authorize hostilities against Iran, no matter how much Pompeo would like to link Iran and al-Qaeda.”

Jill Filipovic: Lindsey Graham has sold his soul to Trump

“Graham’s toadying to Trump has been so over the top, and such an abrupt about-face, that the more conspiracy-minded on the left wonder what Trump has on Graham. It’s probably something far simpler: an attack from the itchy-Twitter-finger President can mean reelection woes — and Graham, who faces voters again in 2020, wants to stay in office”

Brian Klaas: Deepfakes are coming. We’re not ready.

“If 2016 was the election of “fake news,” 2020 has the potential to be the election of “deepfakes,” the new phenomenon of bogus videos created with the help of artificial intelligence. It’s becoming easier and cheaper to create such videos. Soon, those with even a rudimentary technical knowledge will be able to fabricate videos that are so true to life that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether the video is real.”

Barbara McQuade: Barr delivers chilling message to the FBI

“In addition to harming the effectiveness of the FBI, Barr’s complicity in Trump’s tactics may also have a chilling effect. By advancing the ‘investigate the investigators’ mantra, Barr may cause the FBI to flinch next time it perceives a threat from powerful people within the government. He is incentivizing the FBI to sit idly by in the face of national security threats. The risk is that under Barr’s leadership, the FBI’s new motto might become ‘he who does nothing does nothing wrong.'”

Daily News Ed Board: No light at the end of Trump’s trade tunnel

“To minimize the damage, Trump pushed for another $15 billion in subsidies to farmers losing out because their products now cost more. That’s above the $12 billion he authorized last year when he launched the trade war. Which means Americans pay for the tariffs not once, but twice. First, consumers lose by paying more for Chinese products. Second, taxpayers pick up the tab by bailing out ‘great patriot’ farmers who absorb economic pain for the motherland. With each new round of economic penalties, Trump tells Americans the clouds will break and the light will soon shine through. Right after they pay more, and more, and more.”

Melissa Kwarteng: Why we need ranked choice voting

“How will this improve our current system? Right now, hyper-partisanship has created an environment where the winner feels no accountability to opposing voters. However, if during the campaign, candidates are encouraged to appeal to a broader spectrum of voters in order to win, those elected will naturally provide more unifying leadership. Furthermore, independent candidates will no longer be considered ‘spoilers’ and will have an equal opportunity to win.”

Jason Rezaian: The US should support democracy…but not like this

“By the late 1980s—through traditional intelligence-gathering, international monitoring, support for civil society, academic exchange programs, and diplomatic outreach with the U.S.S.R.—we began to understand that the Soviet Union was a failing enterprise. … One can argue that Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela are displaying those same telltale signs of terminal decay. But as I watch the Trump administration’s approach to all three—led by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—I find myself wishing that today’s leaders would revive some of the late Cold War tactics that worked so well.”

Michelle Goldberg: Twitter isn’t real life (if you’re a Democrat)

“In his own horrific way, Trump seemed to expand the possibilities of American politics, making it seem as if the old rules of electability no longer applied. Many of us assumed that the expansion would go in both directions, since Trump’s rise represented such a catastrophic failure of the political center. But there are a lot of Democrats who don’t want a revolution, or even a protracted political fight. They just want things to be the way they were before Trump came along, when ordinary people didn’t have to think about Twitter at all.”

Anne Applebaum: It’s clear why Trump likes autocrats. But why are American conservatives following him?

“It’s not hard, of course, to see why this might appeal to an amoral operator such as Trump, who openly admires the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia. As Trump’s ambassador to Hungary recently put it, in an overly honest interview in the Atlantic, Trump ‘would love to have the situation that Viktor Orban has, but he doesn’t.’ But how does it appeal to conservative intellectuals? That’s easy: Orban not only presents a much milder, bloodless form of authoritarianism, he also dresses it up in an elaborate costume, offering a fairy tale.”

Eugene Robinson: Trump has no idea what he’s doing

“I know that he can be clever politically, in a tactical sense. I know that his lies are often both deliberate and effective. I know that his utter shamelessness can sometimes come off as some kind of warped genius. But the only thing that’s profound about Trump is the truly spectacular depth of his ignorance.”

Jennifer Rubin: Let’s talk about electability

“So, no, I cannot abide by the notion that a candidate’s identity makes him or her unelectable. (Clinton did get more votes than Trump, if you recall.) If a candidate sounds too close to Bernie or has zero charisma or appears clueless on national security, Democrats should run the other way. However, turning away a woman or a nonwhite or gay male who can galvanize Democrats, draw from independents and disaffected Republicans, avoid getting tagged as a scary socialist and pass the commander in chief test would be about the dumbest thing Democrats could do.”

Jackson Diehl: The real reason Venezuela’s Maduro survives is dirty money

“Though both the Trump administration and Maduro’s far-left foreign defenders prefer to describe the Venezuelan crisis in political terms, the reality is that the regime is less a government — much less a socialist one — than a criminal gang. That has two consequences that are complicating its removal. First, the money it is reaping from criminal activity is serving as a prop that allows it to survive U.S. sanctions. Perhaps more importantly, the toxic taint on almost every top official makes it much harder to pursue the usual formulas for a peaceful transition, including the creation of a transitional government and amnesty for those who step down.”

WaPo: Trump favors democracy’s enemies. An Oval Office meeting Monday makes the point.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a virtual pariah within the European Union because of his dismantling of his country’s democratic institutions, cruel treatment of asylum seekers and anti-Semitic provocations. But on Monday he is due to be welcomed to the White House by President Trump, who appears to prefer crude autocrats of Mr. Orban’s type to the liberal democratic leaders of the United States’ closest allies.

Jamie Raskin: Congress is first among equals

“Congress was never designed as, nor should it ever become, a mere ‘co-equal branch,’ beseeching the president to share his awesome powers with us. We are the exclusive lawmaking branch of our national government and the preeminent part of it. We set the policy agenda, we write the laws, and we can impeach judges or executives who commit high crimes and misdemeanors against our institutions. As James Madison observed in the Federalist Papers, ‘In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.’ Congress is first among equals.”

Bret Stephens: How Trump helps MS-13

“Trump’s approach to Central America is an excellent illustration of the ways in which “America First” fails America. If the administration is not going to have a realistic strategy for defeating gangs in the Northern Triangle — whether out of an ideological aversion for nation-building, stinginess with foreign aid, or mere indifference — it will need a realistic strategy for dealing with the inevitable fallout. If it doesn’t have that, as we still don’t, we’ll have exactly the kind of crisis at the border that Trump endlessly bemoans and which he is now doing so much to worsen.”

Jonathan Chait: Trump pressures Ukraine to smear Biden

“On its face, there is nothing illegal here. Trump is leveraging his power as president to compel a dependent foreign government to smear the opposition party. It’s just something no president has ever thought to do before. The powers legally available to a corrupt president and a party that has turned a blind eye to his violations of governing norms may be more terrifying than anybody has considered.”

Nestor de Buen: ‘Democracy’ and the language of the founders

“A republic that moves too close to an oligarchy would require democratization. Yes, conservatives are correct to point out that moderation is a feature of a republican government. However, as the founders themselves knew, echoing their classical predecessors, moderation means more than just protecting the minority from the majority. It necessarily implies that the majority should be protected if the minority should ever accumulate too much power. The republic, at present, indeed requires a moderating influence. So perhaps, after all, it is a good idea to constantly point out that the United States was founded as a republic.”