Trump’s Unitary Executive Fallacy

If you wonder why Attorney General William Barr acts the way he does, you should understand his viewpoint: The unitary executive theory is a US constitutional law holding that the US president possesses the power to control the entire executive branch. The doctrine is rooted in Article Two of the United States Constitution, which vests “the executive power” of the United States in the President. Barr, like Richard Nixon, truly believes that anything the president does cannot be against the law. Well, that isn’t what Article Two says. A.G. Barr is simply taking the liberty to act on his dogma.

Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government which enforces federal laws, however the person carrying out those laws is not outside of them. We have police, but police do not decide what happens to those they arrest. That would prevent the right of being innocent until proven guilty under due process of law. In many ways, the President is just a citizen. This brings us to Donald J. Trump.

Because of our 45th President, more of us are learning about the workings of our government. Every TV news network is now explaining how impeachment works, what the percentages are and what will happen after Trump is impeached. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. In their attempt to impeach Trump, the Democrats are deliberately pushing our three branches of government back to the checks and balances that are fundamental to our Constitution. Even if Trump is not impeached, the rejiggering of our government is very powerful and important.

This might not be a popular opinion, but the information from the whistleblower complaint makes me feel that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr should resign immediately, Rudy Giuliani should be charged as an unregistered foreign agent and, yes, Donald J. Trump should be impeached, tried in the Senate and removed from office.

Now, why after all this time does Donald Trump find himself in this predicament? He obviously knows he is in peril. He has tweeted more than 87 times over last weekend about the impeachment investigation that was started with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of the House’s commitment to evaluate whether Trump’s actions rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. This is real, people!

Even with the Justice Department opinion memo saying that a president cannot be indicted, arrested or charged in any crime while in office, it doesn’t say that a president can openly commit a crime. It doesn’t say that the “Unitary Executive” is somehow above the law. The opinion includes this footnote, “…far from being above the laws, he [the President] is amenable to them in his private character as a citizen, and in his public character by impeachment.” This footnote infers that a sitting president is still amenable (open to) the laws in private character as a citizen. A person who becomes President doesn’t erase or pause his or her private character, therefore they can be charged for crimes while they hold the office. Obviously, this is my opinion.

Impeachment and conviction erase the veil of a sitting president and returns him to a status of justice for all. Once a president is out of office, he is no longer immune to charges for any crimes or misdemeanors he committed before, during or after his presidency. But there is a loophole here, and we all know what it is.

Trump could bargain with his Republican brethren where, in exchange for resignation, President Pence would agree to pardon Trump. Now, that puts us into an interestingly gray area. Would Congress proceed to impeaching President Pence for such an action? Many state charges could be brought against Trump outside the purview of a federal presidential pardon. Either way, Trump’s life after being president will be difficult and revealing. We will finally learn the true worth of this man’s money and stature.

Trump is a dreadfully, deceitfully disruptive human being, but there is something more aggravating about him. He can see his success only in terms of someone else’s defeat or demise. It’s not just good enough to win, it must be at another’s expensive. He describes the value of tariffs, while in the same sentence talks about the hurt taking place in China. He talks about wanting peace talks with Iran, while bragging about how his sanctions are bringing the people of Iran to their knees. This is not the pride of America speaking; it’s the callousness of one man. I find myself thinking at least once a day, “What a terrible human being.”

One thing about this adherence to the “unitary executive fallacy” is that when things go south there is only one person to blame, Donald J. Trump. And those who are supporting this unitary viewpoint, will be cast by their shame as political operatives and removed from office. And then, America grows stronger.

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