Trump Loyalty vs. Real Loyalty
Not only did Donald Trump have a bad day yesterday (8-21-2018), but America had a terrible day as we learned of corruption at the top. We are now faced with the task of repairing the republic.
On these pages we have previously pondered the possibility that someone like Donald Trump might take actions leading to a Constitutional crisis. Well we may have one soon.
There is a notion and policy in the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be indicted. We aren’t sure if this was what the framers of the Constitution had in mind, but both Republican and Democratic lawyers have used it as a guideline over the years. What some will point out is not what is said, but rather what is written in this case.
In Section 4: Impeachment: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. The President, Vice-President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other executive officers, as well as judges, may be impeached by the House of Representatives and tried in the Senate.
Any official convicted by the Senate would be immediately removed from office. The Senate could also choose to bar the removed official from holding any federal office in the future. No other punishments may be inflicted, pursuant to the impeachment proceeding, but the convicted party remains liable to trial and punishment in the courts for civil and criminal charges. If Donald Trump was not the President right now, he would have been named a coconspirator in the crimes of Michael Cohen.
So, the notion is that, while in office, these people shall be judged by Congress and could be impeached. Once out of office, the courts can have at them. A president can be charged, according to the Constitution, if they commit treason, take bribes or commit other “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The capitalizations are from the founders.
Garrett Epps in The Atlantic magazine in 2018 wrote a great article called, The Only Way to Find Out If the President Can Be Indicted: Scholars disagree on existing precedents—and the question won’t be settled until evidence leads a prosecutor to try it. In that article, he points out “that the Constitution suggest that the president is subject to laws like any citizen, but never discusses prosecution in office.”
In 1973, the then-Solicitor General Robert Bork, wrote an opinion that a Vice President should not have the same protections against prosecution while in office that a president would have, but that was just an opinion, not law. Also, the article reminds us that a 1998 opinion, written by a lawyer in Kenneth Starr’s Office of the Independent Counsel investigating President Bill Clinton, clearly stated that a sitting president could be indicted. Of course, he was trying to lock up Clinton for lying under oath about affairs.
Yesterday in court, we had President Donald J. Trump being accused in the pleading and allocution of Michael Cohen that candidate and client, Donald Trump “directed him” to commit election fraud. Cohen testified under oath and said that he knew it was against the law. That would mean that citizen Donald Trump is an Unindicted Coconspirator in a felony. This is a federal crime.
Epps’ article points out, [Bork’s] memo considers the Constitution’s text and finds no answer. It says, correctly, that there is no “airtight separation of powers, but rather … a system of checks and balances, or blending the three powers.”
And there is this famous line from then Vice President Gerald Ford, “Impeachment is whatever the Senate says it is.” Remember that Nixon was told to resign from office by his party leaders, long before Congress got to the destructive action of impeachment. Barry Goldwater and other Republicans at the time knew that if a trial took place Nixon would have been the first president to be removed from office.
Even more troubling, if a president has committed “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and ends up on the outside, the new president could easily pardon him. It happened with Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon. Pence would likely do the same thing with Trump. Why? It’s been said that it would look bad if a former leader of the free world wasn’t free. Huh? We don’t want to look bad? When did the judicial system ever worry about how we look?
Donald Trump wanted to disrupt Washington and the whole of government. All he has done is waste a lot of time on things that don’t matter. He may have pulled the U.S.A. out of a bunch of treaties and agreements, but he hasn’t made better deals. Trump has gotten everyone’s attention in the world on trade, but with no short or long term guarantees that he has done more good, than damage. Trump has moved the Republican party to the far-white-right, but few are complaining in the G.O.P. Were they racists and isolationists all along? Do they care more about re-election than they do about America?
People must decide if they will be loyal to Trump or loyal to our country. Do we uphold the laws of the land, or do we choose to look the other way? It’s time for us to indict a sitting president and see where that goes. If the Supreme Court reasons that the founders and the Constitution say that impeachment is the only way to deal with a crime committed by a president, then let’s impeach the bastard. But if the Congress and the Supreme Court say that a sitting President is above the law, then it’s time to change the laws. Trump is a self-serving anarchistic pea brain with absolutely no redeeming qualities.
The more we learn the worse it gets. Let’s unite this country now and throw Trump out of office.
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