Former Republican Steve Schmidt warned the country is heading to a "constitutional crisis" under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump because he believes he is "above the law" in an appearance on Nicolle Wallace's MSNBC show Thursday. Schmidt, serving as strategist and advisor, and Wallace are both veterans of the 2008 McCain presidential campaign.
"It's an act of retribution," Schmidt said of the Trump admin's decision to remove former CIA director John Brennan's security clearance. "It's an abuse of power by a president who shows his tendency towards his autocratic fetish with increasing frequency."
Schmidt also said that "40-percent of the country has surrendered their intellectual sovereignty to Donald Trump."
"Forty-percent of the country has surrendered their intellectual sovereignty to Donald Trump," he said. "There is for them no such thing as objective truth anymore. What is true is what the leader says is true, what the leader believes is true. And Trump has exercised that power and forty-percent of the country has submitted themselves to it."
Earlier on 'Morning Joe,' liberal commentator John Heilemann said at least 10% of Trump supporters would be willing to give Trump the power to kill their parents, and grandparents, if asked.
STEVE SCHMIDT: I think we're moving very quickly towards an hour where we're going to test the premise in this country whether the president of the United States is above the law or not. It's very clear that we're heading towards a constitutional crisis, that this will head towards the Supreme Court, and we know that Rudy Giuliani, when he goes out and speaks is not acting as the president's attorney, but as the president's mouthpiece. And really what he's indicating is that this president, this administration will burn down everything.
There is no institution sacred enough to be held back from attack to try to save the president in this political fight that's come. And that's what this is all about. There's a looming constitutional crisis and our system is going to be sorely tested in the months ahead...
He's pursuing the only strategy that he can pursue, which is try to incite his base. Now, as he incites that base, that base gets smaller and the majority grows in opposition to Trump, but the smaller base is harder more intense one.
So, if you go back to inauguration day, Trump has less support today than he did then. His base is smaller; the Republican party is smaller. But it is more faithful and more intense in its loyalty to Trump. And forty-percent of the country has surrendered their intellectual sovereignty to Donald Trump.
There is for them no such thing as objective truth anymore. What is true is what the leader says is true, what the leader believes is true. And Trump has exercised that power and forty-percent of the country has submitted themselves to it. It's extraordinary and frightening to see but thank goodness that it is not a majority of the country. In fact, it's not even close to being the majority of the country.