I stand with Andrew McCabe

As Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt point out in their book, “How Democracies Die,” modern authoritarian leaders do not consolidate power by coming after wholly innocent people: They exploit the fact that almost every person with a long public career — those who could be a check on the leader’s power — has done something wrong, or something that can be cast as wrong, if scrutinized in a certain way. Former FBI director James B. Comey — fired for refusing to bend to Trump’s will — made substantial and hugely consequential mistakes in handling the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton. Rex Tillerson — fired just hours after being the first senior U.S. official to join Britain in sharply criticizing Russia — probably was the worst secretary of state in modern history. The list goes on.

They, and others, may well have deserved to face some consequence, perhaps even to have their government service ended. But, in the era of Trump, that is not the right question.

In these instances, we need to ask not whether an individual did something wrong; the question is whether there is any reason to believe that is why Trump took action. In McCabe’s case, the answer is obvious.