Growing up, I was always fascinated with the magician-psychic Uri Geller, who was famous for bending spoons with his supposed supernatural powers. How did he do that? I wondered. I"ve been thinking about him lately as I"ve watched an even more profound magic trick playing out in our politics. We have a president who can bend people.


In so many cases, Donald Trump has been able to take people who came into his orbit and just bend them to his lying ways the way Geller bent spoons. The latest is Attorney General William Barr, who, in only a few weeks, got bent into becoming Trump"s personal lawyer.


How does he do that trick? Surely the answer lies partly in Trump"s energy source: Fox News, Breitbart and Trump"s own Twitter feed keep his base in a state of constant agitation and high partisanship, and Trump, seemingly with no hands, leverages that energy into bending so many Republicans to his will. With a few exceptions, like Jim Mattis, Trump also has a knack for picking people who are bendable.


And bendable people — people who, like Trump, were always outsiders or never on the A-team — are attracted to him to get ahead. "Accomplished people lacking inner strength can"t resist the compromises necessary to survive Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from," former FBI Director James Comey explained in The New York Times.


What worries me most right now is that if Trump gets a second term, he"ll also bend all the key institutions that govern us. Already he"s softening the steel in many of them so they can be bent more easily.


Look at the dishonest crusade he has begun against the FBI for "spying" on his campaign and how we need to "investigate the investigators." Trump and his bent spoons are ready to wreck any institution that gets in the way of his re-election or unfettered exercise of...




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