Matthew G. Whitaker in Johnston, Iowa, in 2014. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
Opinion writer

His anti-immigrant fervor gets only worse. “The Trump administration announced new immigration rules on Thursday that give President Trump vast new authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses the border illegally, invoking national security powers meant to protect the United States against threats from abroad. … That assertion is certain to be challenged in court. Immigration advocates said it violates longstanding federal asylum law that is meant to judge each person’s asylum claim on its own merits.”

No president has had a worse understanding of the Constitution. “Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), the highest-ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is dismissing President Trump‘s threats of retaliatory Senate investigations into House Democrats if they begin to probe him once they take the majority in January. ‘I’m not sure Mr. Trump understands that we’re independent branches of government. And that the legislative branch was set up to be an appropriate check and balance on an executive,’ he said.”

Trump’s appointment of Matthew G. Whitaker looks even worse as conservative lawyers like John Yoo weigh in: “The Constitution says that principal officers must go through appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate. In Morrison v. Olson, the Supreme Court made clear that the Attorney General is a principal officer. Therefore, Whittaker cannot serve as acting Attorney General despite the Vacancies Act (which does provide for him to be acting AG) — the statute is unconstitutional when applied in this way.”

His argument for not recusing himself is worse than one might expect. “Without engaging in a full analysis of Whitaker’s recusal obligations, at a minimum it is clear that his past statements regarding the conduct of the special counsel’s investigation potentially ‘raise a question regarding his impartiality’ under the catch-all provision that merits consultation with career Justice Department ethics officials. Likewise, his personal relationship with [Sam] Clovis at a minimum raises questions that may implicate the department’s recusal provision.” Read the whole thing.

Trump’s narcissism gets worse by the day. “He said the results indicated that voters like him, even though a solid majority of them told exit pollsters they disapprove of his presidency. He suggested he had bested President Obama, who campaigned for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, because the Republican had won. (NBC News had yet to make a call in the race as of Thursday morning.)”

The University of Maryland has never looked worse. “The headline news is that the football coach at the University of Maryland is fired, the chair of the Board of Regents quit, and the president of the university will retire over the death by heat illness of [Jordan] McNair, a 19-year-old Maryland football player. The school’s sizable, highly paid staff of coaches and athletic trainers either did not know the basic symptoms of heat stroke or did not care—they waited far too long to call for help. Then there was an elaborate cover-up that last week collapsed of its own weight.” Read the whole thing.

Trump’s attacks on democracy get worse, but voter engagement is rising. “Voter turnout soared in the 2018 midterm elections, according to an early projection in a new study, potentially reaching the highest level in over 50 years.” Democracy isn’t in critical condition — yet.

Read more:

The Post’s View: Trump’s rambling, angry news conference shows he ignored the message voters sent him

Ruth Marcus: Matthew Whitaker is a crackpot

George F. Will: America has shingles. A divided Congress could be the cure.

Greg Sargent: Cornered and raging, Trump begins his coverup. Here’s how Democrats can respond.

The Post’s View: The University of Maryland’s self-inflicted fiasco