The problem is not simply that congressional leaders won’t stop President Trump from firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and maybe Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and plunging America into a constitutional crisis. The problem is that those congressional leaders—while allowing Trump to do all this—are also allowing him to take the United States to war.
On Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
That tweet capped an eventful 24 hours. On Tuesday, as CNN was reporting that Trump might fire Rosenstein, The New York Times reported that, in response to the Syrian government’s apparent chemical weapons attack over the weekend, “Administration officials said they expected any new [American] strike to be more expansive than last year’s.” That’s both predictable, and frightening. The more expansive the attack, the more likely it is to hit not only the Syrian government, but also its Russian and Iranian allies.
John Bolton, Trump’s new national-security adviser, has long argued that for the U.S. to intervene effectively against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, “U.S. intervention could not be confined to Syria and would inevitably entail confronting Iran and possibly Russia.” And Trump himself on Monday pointedly suggested that Moscow and Tehran might share responsibility with Damascus for the chemical-weapons attack. On Tuesday, Russia’s UN ambassador responded by threatening “grave repercussions” if the U.S. again strikes the Syrian government. Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon warned that, “If there is an American strike, then we … will shoot down rockets and target the positions from where they were launched.”