Painter: Trump Should Resign If He Dictated Trump Jr. Russia Statement, ‘Signs of Authoritarianism Are Staring Us in the Face’

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour,” Richard Painter, a Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Minnesota who served as Chief White House Ethics Lawyer during the George W. Bush administration stated that if the Washington Post story that President Trump dictated the statement given to the New York Times on Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 Russia meeting is true, then the president drafted a false statement connected to a criminal investigation and should resign. Painter also argued that all the warning signs of authoritarianism are there with President Trump.

Painter said, “I have to say this looks more and more like a cover-up, but it really is one of the most psychologically deranged and incompetent cover-ups in political history. … [I]f this story is true, that the president of the United States intentionally drafted a false statement by his son in connection with a criminal investigation, I think that’s it. He should do the dignified thing and resign his office if this story is true.”

He later added, “Well, this is a very, very troubling situation, to have the president of the United States repeatedly attacking the media, attacking his political opponent who lost the election, calling for prosecution of Hillary Clinton, and surrounding himself with more generals in the White House, and he goes to the Boy Scouts, and he is giving this highly-charged political speech in front of uniformed teenagers, as if he wants to turn that into some sort of Trump youth organization. I mean the signs of authoritarianism are staring us in the face. And if we don’t acknowledge that this is a very risky situation, and we continue to put up with this, what we could find is that if we are in a war, or if the president wants to get us into a war, in order to solidify his control, that he could very, very quickly try to make himself into an authoritarian president or dictator. And this is not a safe situation for the United States. Congress, Democrats, and Republicans together need to get a handle on how to deal with Donald Trump. As I say, there are psychological issues here. He does not appear to be very well in the way he’s responding to these matters. And all the warning signs are there.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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