In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, United Parcel Service (UPS) driver delivers an Amazon box.
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Trump’s chief economic adviser distances himself from Amazon threats


Given the volume of controversies surrounding Donald Trump, it’s sometimes best to put them in different categories. Some of the president’s scandals are offensive, others are amusing. Some raise the prospect of criminal misconduct, others raise questions about Trump’s character and personal integrity.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 5/18/18, 9:00 PM ET

Trump toys with abuse of office in beef against Washington Post

Rachel Maddow revisits the history of Richard Nixon trying to use the IRS to audit his personal political enemies and notes the parallels with Donald Trump’s attempt to punish Amazon with higher postal rates because of his personal disdain for The
And then there’s a category called, “Stuff that might get a president impeached.”

On Friday, the Washington Post  reported on Trump personally pressuring U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to increase shipping rates on as part of the president’s personal vendetta against the online retailer’s CEO, Jeff Bezos. As we discussed, the nature of the story is breathtaking: Trump has taken steps to use a government agency as retaliatory weapon against a perceived American foe, in large part because the Republican disapproves of the Post’s coverage of his presidency – and Bezos owns the Post.

When Richard Nixon used government agencies to target Americans he disliked, it was included in the articles of impeachment against him. There’s now reason to believe Trump has done something eerily similar.

On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, George Stephanopoulos asked Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House National Economic Council and Donald Trump’s top adviser on matters of economic policy, to explain what the president reportedly did.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I also want to ask you about a headline in The Washington Post yesterday … it has having to do with Amazon. And it talks about President Trump personally pushing the postmaster general to double rates on Amazon and other firms. The president has tweeted about Amazon a lot, as well. Is it appropriate for the president to be singling out companies like this?

KUDLOW: Well, look. I’m not – that not in my lane, OK. I can’t really comment specifically. I haven’t looked at that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it comes under the National Economic Council, doesn’t it?

KUDLOW: Well, I suppose so, but again I haven’t been involved in that discussion. Look, the president is a man of many opinions. I think you know that. I think we all know that. It’s up to him. He may be carrying this ball. I can’t comment directly on it.

He then quickly changed the subject.

I realize there’s no shortage of controversies surrounding Trump World, but I think there’s something qualitatively different about a sitting president possibly abusing his office this way.

Larry Kudlow wanted no part of this issue yesterday, but the White House will need to come up with a credible explanation.

Donald Trump and White House

Trump's chief economic adviser distances himself from Amazon threats