A hallmark of a corrupt administration is a need to keep secrets and avoid accountability. It’s probably no coincidence that as the walls close in around Trump, all of his tactics to silence dissent are on full display.

1. Demonize the press. Attacking free press is a theme for this administration:

  • Refusing to allow certain credentialed reporters into Trump’s open press news conferences?
  • Disseminating false claims about “fake news” on Twitter and in prominent national speeches? 

Trump regularly refers to the press as the enemy of the people, and many of his supporters believe him. A new poll shows that about 51% of Republicans polled believe “the news media is the enemy of the people,” vs. 5% of Democrats and 24% of Independents.

Today, more than 300 news publications joined together to send a resounding message: the Trump administration’s assault on the press is dangerous for America. Trump responded by calling the effort “COLLUSION.”

As The New York Times editorial board wrote today, “insisting truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy.”

2. Punish outspoken critics.

Now, Trump has progressed to revoking the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, just because Brennan publicly disagrees with him.

Brennan was not deterred and spoke out again today in The New York Times(which—thanks to freedom of speech and of the press—he’s free to do) about Trump’s decision:

“He made the politically motivated decision to revoke my security clearance in an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare challenge him.”

Let’s note that while Trump is revoking the security clearance of widely respected career public servants, Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn retain their own clearances. Michael Flynn, who already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

William H. McRaven, the former commander who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, spoke out against Trump’s decision to revoke Brennan’s clearance in The Washington Post: “Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President.”

By contrast, Republican Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) told reporters he supports the revocation of Brennan’s security clearance, calling the former CIA director “a butthead.

3. If you can’t scare ‘em, buy ‘em.

So, this administration’s tactic is to reward its most dangerous cronies and “scare into silence” its opponents—and when all else fails, just pay them off.

Trump voters who bought red “MAGA” hats from the Trump campaign might be surprised to know that their contributions were being used to pay hush money to former White House employees who apparently just knew a bit too much.

Trump’s bubble of corruption keeps expanding and expanding, but it sure seems like someday soon it might just burst.

(The Progress Report is a daily internet publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.)