When Donald Trump met with James Comey in the Oval Office in January 2017, the President said this to the then-FBI director: "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty."
When Trump brought then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe into his office shortly after firing Comey in May, the President reportedly asked McCabe who he had voted for in the 2016 election.
When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with Trump in December 2017, hoping to gain the President's help in beating back document demands from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Trump had something else on his mind: He asked Rosenstein whether he was "on my team."
Comey was fired.
McCabe was pushed out.
And now, there are whispers that Trump may use the memo produced by Nunes -- alleging widespread misconduct by top Justice Department officials and expected to be released Friday -- as the impetus to get rid of Rosenstein.
(The release of that memo, by the way, runs directly counter to the wishes of current FBI Director Christopher Wray, a Trump appointee.)
Does any right-minded person need any more evidence that Trump has zero interest in maintaining the line of independence traditionally separating the executive branch from the Justice Department?
1+1=2. It's that simple.
Trump views the entire federal government -- including the Justice Department -- as people who work for him. As such, he expects their loyalty.- The idea that the FBI or the attorney general hold a higher commitment to enforcing the fair application of the rule of law is totally lost on Trump.
He expects total loyalty. And when he doesn't get it, he moves to get rid of the people unwilling to pledge him fealty.
The Point: Between the planned release of the Nunes memo and the ongoing special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller, Trump's relationship with the Justice Department is likely to get worse, not better. And nothing in how he has treated those law enforcement officials to date is anything close to normal.
Read Thursday's full edition of The Point.