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Government employees who criticize Trump are committing treason, according to Trump

In a new interview, Donald Trump accused a pair of FBI agents of committing treason when they sent a series of text messages that were critical of him.

In recent weeks, Donald Trump and his Republican allies have seized on a series of text messages sent by two FBI agents expressing critical opinions about Trump (and other politicians), claiming they show that the agency is biased and therefore incapable of conducting a fair investigation.

But in a new interview, Trump took things even further, telling the Wall Street Journal that the text messages criticizing him “amounted to treason.”

The messages in question were sent by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, a pair of FBI agents who were removed from the Russia investigation as soon as the texts were uncovered. The texts were critical of Trump — and many other public officials.

One message said Bernie Sanders is “an idiot like Trump,” and another referred to Trump as “a loathsome human.” In another text, Strzok referred to Chelsea Clinton as “self-entitled,” and when Eric Holder spoke at the Democratic Convention, Strzok texted, “Turn it off turn if off!!!”

“I cannot believe Donald Trump is likely to be an actual, serious candidate for president,” read yet another text.

Despite the fact that these texts were sent in private and did not involve any of the work the agents were doing at the FBI before they were removed from the investigation, Trump and his allies have continued to use the messages in their ongoing efforts to undermine the FBI’s Russia probe, saying that the mere involvement of agents with political opinions is a scandal.

The texts have become a key talking point within pro-Trump circles, hailed as some sort of proof that the FBI is secretly anti-Trump and must be purged.

But in a startling show of authoritarianism, Trump is now accusing the FBI agents of committing treason by sending private text messages criticizing him.

That Trump would call it treasonous for government employees to exchange personal opinions that are critical of him is not only an alarming reflection of his mindset — it’s a chilling message meant to silence other potential criticism in the future.