President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Opinion writer

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is correct: This is unprecedented. “This is the White House saying that the Justice Department said they can’t hold the president accountable because you can’t indict a president and now they’re saying neither can Congress. So the president is totally unaccountable and above the law. No president, no person in the United States is above the law. This is preposterous.”

It’s not as if this is unprecedented. Remember Smoot-Hawley? “The biggest threat to global fortunes has become the intensifying conflict between the two largest economies on earth, the United States and China. As their leaders openly contemplate how to inflict pain on each other, the rest of the world now frets about becoming collateral damage in an escalating trade war.”

Such candor from a Republican is unprecedented in the Trump era. “[Larry] Lindsey said he enlisted two psychiatrists to analyze the president from afar. China views President Donald Trump as a ‘total narcissist’ — ‘a 10-out-of-10 narcissist,’ he said. Lindsey attributed this to the president’s upbringing and said his mother didn’t pay him adequate attention in childhood. Lindsey said Trump has no long-term plans or ability to think ahead. He said the president has the long-term decision-making ability of an ‘empty chair.’ ”

Three terms as vice president would be unprecedented. “Kamala Harris Says Biden Would Be a ‘Great Running Mate.' ” You gotta love her answer, underscoring how insulting is all the talk of female candidates taking the second spot.

Gosh, Trump advisers not having policy details isn’t exactly unprecedented. “Participants at a meeting between Republican senators and White House senior advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller found the President’s advisers’ proposal to revamp the US legal immigration system to be lacking in substance, according to a senior GOP official familiar with the presentation. ‘I think folks in the room were underwhelmed’ with the ‘whole plan’ presented by Kushner and Miller, the official told CNN.” Interesting how eager some participants were to bad-mouth Kushner.

An unprecedented drop in fertility means we need more immigrants. “The U.S. fertility rate has reached a record low, and the total number of births in 2018 was the lowest it has been in more than 30 years, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control. … The U.S.' high levels of immigration have helped buoy the population. It’s a key reason the U.S. is in a better place than other nations with falling fertility rates that are beginning to see the impact on their societies and economies, such as Japan, Hungary and Spain.”

Trump’s unprecedented expansion of executive power is possible only when Congress is inert. “While Congress’s dysfunction has been apparent for some time, the unwillingness of its members to play a meaningful role in the ongoing trade war between the United States and China highlights well its underlying problem. In short, Congress does not work when its members do not act.”

Read more:

Dana Milbank: Trump’s not claiming executive power. He’s going for divine right.

Greg Sargent: The White House takes another step toward putting Trump beyond accountability

Robert J. Samuelson: Is the United States losing the trade war with China?

Helaine Olen: Stop asking candidates to pledge to name a female vice president

Jennifer Rubin: As it turns out, our country is not all filled up