Above The Law???

Trump says the Mueller report exonerates him, that it proves there was ‘no collusion, no obstruction’.  Those of us who can both read and think know better.  We know the Mueller report, in fact, proves that at the very least, Trump did attempt on multiple occasions to obstruct justice, to interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Today, Trump is still obstructing justice with his refusal to turn over his tax returns or financial records, his threatening and bullying those who have been subpoenaed by congressional committees, and more.  As usual, Robert Reich chimes in with words of wisdom …

In Fighting All Oversight, Trump Has Made His Most Dictatorial Move

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The president is treating Congress with contempt. This cannot stand – and Congress must fight back

Sun 28 Apr 2019 01.00 EDT

“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the person who is supposed to be chief executive of the United States government.

In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: no questioning officials who played a role in putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census. No questioning a former White House counsel about the Mueller report.

No questioning a Trump adviser about immigration policy. No questioning a former White House security director about issuances of security clearances.

No presidential tax returns to the ways and means committee, even though a 1920s law specifically authorizes the committee to get them.

Such a blanket edict fits a dictator of a banana republic, not the president of a constitutional republic founded on separation of powers.

If Congress cannot question the people who are making policy, or obtain critical documents, Congress cannot function as a coequal branch of government.

If Congress cannot get information about the executive branch, there is no longer any separation of powers, as sanctified in the US constitution.

There is only one power – the power of the president to rule as he wishes.

Which is what Donald Trump has sought all along.

The only relevant question is how stop this dictatorial move. And let’s be clear: this is a dictatorial move.

The man whose aides cooperated, shall we say, with Russia – the man who still refuses to do anything at all about Russia’s continued interference in the American political system – refuses to cooperate with a branch of the United States government that the Constitution requires him to cooperate with in order that the government function.

Presidents before Trump occasionally have argued that complying with a particular subpoena for a particular person or document would infringe upon confidential deliberations within the executive branch. But no president before Trump has used “executive privilege” as a blanket refusal to cooperate.

How should Congress respond to this dictatorial move?

Trump is treating Congress with contempt – just as he has treated other democratic institutions that have sought to block him.

Congress should invoke its inherent power under the constitution to hold any official who refuses a congressional subpoena in contempt. This would include departmental officials who refuse to appear, as well as Trump aides. (Let’s hold off on the question of whether Congress can literally hold Trump in contempt, which could become a true constitutional crisis.)

“Contempt” of Congress is an old idea based on the inherent power of Congress to get the information it needs to carry out its constitutional duties. Congress cannot function without this power.

How to enforce it? Under its inherent power, the House can order its own sergeant-at-arms to arrest the offender, subject him to a trial before the full House, and, if judged to be in contempt, jail that person until he appears before the House and brings whatever documentation the House has subpoenaed.

When President Richard Nixon tried to stop key aides from testifying in the Senate Watergate hearings, in 1973, Senator Sam Ervin, chairman of the Watergate select committee, threatened to jail anyone who refused to appear.

Congress hasn’t actually carried through on the threat since 1935 – but it could.

Would America really be subject to the spectacle of the sergeant-at-arms of the House arresting a Trump official, and possibly placing him in jail?

Probably not. Before that ever occurred, the Trump administration would take the matter to the supreme court on an expedited basis.

Sadly, there seems no other way to get Trump to move. Putting the onus on the Trump administration to get the issue to the court as soon as possible is the only way to force Trump into action, and not simply seek to run out the clock before the next election.

What would the court decide? With two Trump appointees now filling nine of the seats, it’s hardly a certainty.

But in a case that grew out of the Teapot Dome scandal in 1927, the court held that the investigative power of Congress is at its peak when lawmakers look into fraud or maladministration in another government department.

Decades later, when Richard Nixon tried to block the release of incriminating recordings of his discussions with aides, the supreme court decided that a claim of executive privilege did not protect information pertinent to the investigation of potential crimes.

Trump’s contempt for the inherent power of Congress cannot stand. It is the most dictatorial move he has initiated since becoming president.

Congress has a constitutional duty to respond forcefully, using its own inherent power of contempt.

I leave you to ponder.

33 thoughts on “Above The Law???

  1. It’s worth reminding ourselves from time to time that as vile as this person is, he wouldn’t last five minutes if it wasn’t for the huge numbers surrounding him who are happy to fight his corner. That is where the real problem lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not to take your thread horribly off course, but I don’t know if you saw this on twitter.

    I played it only because I wanted to hear for myself what was so despicable and for someone to be shouting JEWSA like that is horrible. What makes it worse is that not a single idiot in the crowd took him to task for this shit.

    What the hell is wrong with people?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😥 [Crying face emoji]. No, Scott, I hadn’t seen it … I don’t go to Twitter very much … and I am … what? Angry? Furious? Heartbroken? All of the above … this nation is so filled with haters … people who hate, without knowing what it is they are hating. Like you, I am appalled that nobody in the crowd seemed to even take notice, seemed to think this guy was out of place. What the hell is wrong with people? I wish I could answer that. Ignorance is certainly part of it, but there must be more. Religion, I think, has a role in it. Other than that? I don’t know, my friend. 😥

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    • There is a double standard, obviously. If I ignored a subpoena, I would be in jail before I even blinked my eyes 10 times. Trump seems to believe that the law is only for us peons, not for him or his people. Which, in effect, makes him a dictator and this a banana republic.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It likely stops short of the top, but heck, I’ll settle for any sign that they are going to hold Trump and his minions accountable and uphold the law. Not holding my breath, however, for I would turn blue.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, the GOP members in Congress need to step up to the plate and support their colleagues. We must have oversight of the Executive branch. Otherwise, we don’t have a democracy, we have an autocracy.

    By the way, people need to make a big deal about Trump’s 10,000 lies as President. Trump says the fact-checkers are untruthful. Yet, I do not have enough digits in my household to count the Trump lies I could write down in a 1/2 hour.? I think his sycophants need to answer for the lying President. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • PS – The theme of my recent post “Call me crazy,” includes a reference to the man with 10,000 lies as President. Trump says everyone else is lying, but he is the lone constant in these equations while the accusers change. Per the Occam’s Razor, what is the simplest reason. That everyone else is lying or the man that five biographers said has a problem with the truth is the one lying? Keith

      Liked by 1 person

      • I saw that you had posted and just hadn’t managed to get over there yet, but I will sometime this evening. The Occam’s Razor theory is one I use often myself, and in this case it is fitting. There is only one reason to tell a lie … to cover up a truth. Simple.

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    • I agree, but short of their own republican constituents telling them that they are tired of the lies and obfuscation, I doubt that many of them could find a conscience in order to do the right thing for the nation. I would like to see Congress arrest any who refuse to answer the subpoena. Do you think that McGahn and Mueller will be willing to testify, despite Trump’s bullying? I certainly hope so.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If ignoring such subpoenas continues, and Trump is not arrested, America has lost all credibility, not to mention dignity. Dictatorship would be too kind a word. TYRANY might come close…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I said to someone earlier today that I fear we are becoming, or perhaps have already become, a third-world dictatorship in an industrialized nation. Tyranny may well describe us in the next few weeks.

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  5. Yes, we ponder. We ponder what’s happened to the moral fiber of our political leadership? We ponder what this means in the greater scheme of a nation whose government is predicated upon the concepts of checks and balances to keep one branch from gaining undue influence or rising above the law.

    We ponder why Trump’s supporters condone his contempt of congress, due process, and the official arms of government. We ponder why they support him as he speaks out against the FBI and Justice department, deprecating the belief that law and order, and those who’ve served to keep America safe and honest, matter.

    We ponder, what will it take to stop this fool in the white house and the fools that support him? We ponder if they understand at all what it means to be a democratic republic. We ponder their lack of empathy, their willingness to ignore history, and their desperation to roll back decades of progress. We ponder why they think a wall will protect our nation when the true threat continues growing, unabated and unhinged, in the white house?

    We ponder, what will happen, whether the GOP wins or loses in 2020, to our nation? We ponder, what has happened to the strengths that we’d been developing, the strengths built on the foundations of education, principles, and intelligence? We ponder, how can a man who has been documented to have lied over ten thousand times since he’s been in office be held in such a high regard by a significant percentage of the population, and what does that mean for their state of mind, agenda, and intelligence?

    We ponder, what happened to the change that we can believe in?

    We ponder, what is happening to our nation?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael Seidel, may I express sincere gratitude for your eloquently written comment. If one is not pondering these things, one should be. I would do two things were I able to do so : 1) Place a Liked by 1 person next to the wee blue star. 2) Print a copy of this to share with my family and friends. Then print more copies and place them in mailboxes, on bulletin boards in public areas, and send to my State Senators and Congressmen. Thank-you!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed so. I hear the only book Trump ever read was “How To Lie, Cheat and Steal Your Way Into The White House In Ten Easy Lessons”. He only got through the first 7 chapters, but seemingly it was enough. He damn sure didn’t read the U.S. Constitution, or even Merriam-Websters dictionary, for he doesn’t know ‘origins’ from ‘oranges’.

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    • Well, because I am … or at least was … somewhat of an optimist who believes that we can always do better. And, in your eyes, I’m sure I’m a fool, but so be it. Cheers!

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