Trump’s Coming Constitutional Crisis

Source: The Comey ‘Cloud’ Will Hang Over Trump Forever

Yes, liberal talk of dumping Trump is premature, but we’re in deep and brackish waters now.

We don’t know yet how Trumpgate will shake out, but one outcome is coming into view: a constitutional crisis. Sooner or later, we’re likely to have one.The contours of constitutional crises vary from country to country, though all feature a breakdown of the normal functioning of government. In the American system, they usually involve circumstances that were not anticipated by the framers or fights over the Constitution’s separation and delegation of powers.The trouble has come over issues like states rights (part of what led to the Civil War), presidential succession (In 1841, John Tyler was the first vice-president to take over after the death of the president and Congress wanted him to be “Acting President”), and disputed presidential elections, especially the one held in 1876between Samuel J. Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes.

The best analogy to today’s madness is also the most recent—Watergate. In 1973, in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” President Nixon fired Attorney General Elliott Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus when they wouldn’t fire Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor.

The questions raised so far by Trumpgate are similar: How much power does the president have over the executive branch? Is it obstruction of justice if the president does it? Can the president be indicted?

As several former federal prosecutors confirmed this week, former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on Thursday was a roadmap for special counsel Robert Mueller to follow as he builds an obstruction of justice case against President Trump. The two men, friends and former colleagues, view the law in similar terms. Mueller is unlikely to believe the word of an habitual liar over that of a Boy Scout. It’s unlikely that juries will, either.

One key fact—as Comey stressed— is that Trump told Attorney General Jeff Sessions, senior adviser Jared Kushner and others to leave the Oval Office so that he could be alone with Comey to tell him to stop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. This intentionality is harmful to “the newbie defense”—that Trump was new to the presidency and didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong—offered by House Speaker Paul Ryan and others. Ignorance of the law is no defense, anyway.

All of the other arguments from Trump apologists have also collapsed. According to former prosecutors, Trump’s use of “I hope” instead of “I order you” to stop the Flynn probe won’t get him off. “If you say, ‘Nice storefront you have here. Pity if something should happen to it,’ that doesn’t help you when you burn down the store,” says Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice. Neither would Comey’s “leaking” (a classic Trump diversion) or the fact that he didn’t immediately report the crime, which ignores an FBI director’s well-established obligation not to do anything to impede his own investigation.

Read more at the link above…

Author: alterjonathan

I’m an author and journalist.

One thought on “Trump’s Coming Constitutional Crisis”

  1. I have to believe that if Trump is impeached and acquitted, he will be emboldened and his sense of invincibility will be reinforced. He has long seen himself as a fighter and a winner, and truly believes that he is better than his opposition. That belief has always been his beacon, and given the chance to increase its candle power to a level of brightness rarely seen, he will fill the fuel tank with kerosene, light it, and tell his opposition to bring it on. He believes he is different from the others who inhabit Washington, and more worthy.

    Yes, the cloud will, indeed, hang over Trump forever, regardless of the outcome. But that cloud will also contain a whole lot of toxic, airborne material, and the collateral damage to the country, his family, his staff and himself will be significant. The sad part is that he doesn’t seem to care. It is all about Donald, and always has been. In case we haven’t noticed, he has a history of writing his own biographies, and this time, he might just have to call it “The Art of the Schlemiel.”

    Like

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