Rather than restraining his belligerent instincts, Trump in office has demonstrated even more determination than as a candidate to shatter both the institutional and personal norms of presidential behavior. And he has shown an unstinting willingness to attack any institution — including the Republican-controlled Congress — that he believes poses a threat to him at any point.

Congressional Republicans who once hoped to tame Trump’s behavior have found instead that he has steadily broken their will to resist it. As a result, Republicans have maneuvered themselves into positions that few could have imagined two years ago: impeding a serious investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, defending or downplaying Trump language that inflames racial tensions, excusing his efforts to demand personal loyalty from top law enforcement officials, and now openly attacking federal law enforcement agencies through the Nunes memo alleging senior officials systematically abused the process for obtaining surveillance on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.