With his criticism of the “Obama judge,” President Donald Trump once again attempts to undermine faith in our nation’s legal system.

Will life in Trump’s America increasingly resemble life in Putin’s Russia? Michael Idov, a perceptive journalist, notes: “Russian life [is marked by] the all-pervasive cynicism that no institution is to be trusted, because no institution is bigger than the avarice [and self-serving ambition] of the person in charge." ("Russia: Life After Trust," New York Magazine, Jan. 23-Feb. 5, 2017, p. 22.)

Trump's avarice and self-serving ambition are beyond question. Trump’s speech and behavior evidence a dictatorial impulse. He openly disregards the truth and disdains traditional norms of presidential conduct. Trump fosters an increasingly cynical view of politics, politicians, the free press, law-enforcement agencies, intelligence agencies and, most important, the Department of Justice, judges and the law courts.

If Vladimir Putin by his electoral interference had hoped to thoroughly polarize the American public and to weaken America's international prestige and leadership, he has already succeeded beyond his darkest, most Machiavellian expectations.

Andrew G. Bjelland, Salt Lake City