If you don't like Trump muttering about the "deep state," try not to sound like a cartoon "deep state" villain

I’ve heard garbage like Phil Mudd’s shtick in the clip below from various Trump critics over the last week, warning that Trump doesn’t know who he’s messing with, insinuating that not only would it be proper for the FBI to go to war with the president but that they can fight dirtier than he can if need be. This same agency is infamous for its decades of quiet and sometimes not so quiet abuses of power under J. Edgar Hoover. Is that what Phil Mudd wants to see happen to Trump — the full Hoover? Would he like to see Chris Wray overtly threaten the chief executive for the sin of focusing public scrutiny on his kingdom?

Does he want a “deep state” war on the White House?

Given the sort of rhetoric he’s used in the past about Trump and the intel community — “Government is going to kill this guy” — I have to assume the answer is yes.

Then there’s this guy, whose bottomless sanctimony has alienated even many Never Trumpers. He postures as the conscience of the nation but consider what he’s recommending here.

If the country faces a special threat, the FBI may have to behave unethically (whether it actually did or not). The ends justify the means. Conscience of the nation. Michael Brendan Dougherty, a Trump critic himself, has spent the past year lamenting the tendency he sees in Trump’s enemies to behave badly themselves in the name of countering the supposedly unique challenge he poses. “I can’t think of a more stupid response to this presidency than throwing away all the standards that make our work meaningful and good,” he wrote recently of the media response to Trump. Two days before Trump’s inauguration he said:

But the most immediate thing to be on guard for in the new era is the way Trump inspires both supporters and opponents to abandon their moral, ethical, and professional standards and give in to their unchecked instincts to acquire power and humiliate or denigrate their perceived enemies, usually their fellow countrymen. Trump’s political success can be partly explained by the way in which America’s culture war has a logic of escalation. Trump’s presidency may see a quickening of tempo.

We are already tempted to hate and fear each other and think the worst of each other, especially as we contemplate our country through backlit screens that draw us to them by stimulating our most basic fight-or-flight instincts. The virtues of sobriety and liberality will be denigrated as liabilities by both sides in the Trump era.

Now, after a week of memo demagoguery from the GOP, here’s Mudd warning about the FBI winning the “game” with Trump and McMullin shrugging off the possibility that the feds withheld important information in seeking probable cause to surveil a former Trump advisor. How does Dougherty’s prediction look?

A Twitter pal made an excellent point this morning about the double standard Trumpers use in judging Trump’s actions versus the FBI’s actions, but it occurs to me that Mudd and McMullin are guilty of the same thing. The standard of ethical behavior that the “enemy” is held to is robust, involving not just laws but norms and morals. The standard of ethical behavior to which the “good guys” are held, though? Narrow as can be. If it’s legal, it’s okay. Maybe, since the “bad guys” are very bad indeed, a little fudging of the law in the name of justice is even in order.

All true. But do Mudd and McMullin demonstrating that logic in reverse?

In lieu of an exit question, here’s Jeff Sessions at a DOJ event this morning making a point of praising Rod Rosenstein for his leadership knowing that Rosenstein, more than any other DOJ official, is in Trump’s and the right’s crosshairs right now. He knows what it’s like to be attacked by POTUS and his allies. Evidently he’s not going to leave Rosenstein out on that limb alone.