Are US Presidents Above the Law?
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally spoken. His words were exact and well-chosen. He specifically said that his team could not indict a sitting president, period. He also said they would have exonerated him if they could have. They didn’t.
Congress is the only court of law in which a president can be charged. Specifically, the remedy for presidential misconduct is impeachment. It starts in the House of Representatives and courses through a trial in the Senate in which the Chief Justice presides and the members of the Senate are the jury. A two-thirds vote, which is 67 members is necessary to convict and remove a President from office.
We don’t know the procedure after a conviction because impeachment of a US President has never gone that far. One would hope that the person convicted would go honorably, as Richard Nixon did when he was on the precipice of impeachment. That being said, we don’t know what Donald Trump would do. Some say the Congressional Sergeant at Arms would physically remove the president from government property, but that is just an opinion.
Robert Mueller may go down as the most potent silent person in government. He states that he has spoken in the more than 400 pages of his report. If you read the report, you will see that Donald Trump is a paranoid power-hungry crook. Robert Mueller told us what Trump did and urges you to read his work and not bother him with politics.
What we learned today is a special prosecutor and special counsel can’t arrest a president. Being an employee of the Justice Department, a prosecutor or special counsel must follow the guidelines and rules of that department, which were designed to keep an out-of-control prosecutor from unnecessarily hindering the Executive Branch.
Throughout Donald Trump’s life he has thumbed his nose at the law. He’s not a person you would trust in business because he would likely do something illegal and get you entangled in a lawsuit that you will ultimately pay for. It’s a Trump common practice which is both legendary and extremely troubling. It speaks to a real lack of character.
The American taxpayer shelled out more than $25 million to find out that their president has, at least, obstructed justice and weakened our election security. Mueller was very clear, Russian operatives attempted to change our election results. He said that the Russian effort favored a certain candidate (TRUMP) and expressed the truth that if he could have cleared Donald Trump, he would have. This is not a gordian knot but rather clear and specific legal code for “he’s guilty,” and Congress now has the power to do something righteous for the country.
Were Robert Mueller given a truth serum, he would tell you exactly what he thinks of Donald Trump and his minions. I’m sure he probably has a low regard for the president and those around him in the administration, as well as for the Congressmen and women who refuse to focus on the real danger of this president. Trump doesn’t take foreign interference in our elections seriously. Mueller knows that, despite his warm and fuzzy feeling for Attorney General William Barr, that man’s independence is in question. Barr’s statements and actions are driven by his rank and President Trump’s authority over everything he says and does. Mueller knows that Barr is not an independent agent of justice.
The events of this corrupt presidency should be a positive motivation for legislation on several important fronts. First, we need to mandate and codify transparency in the Executive Branch. After fifty-years of the tradition of presidential candidates and presidents releasing their income tax returns, this practice should become part of US law. The refusal of the Treasury Department to release Trump’s tax returns to the Ways and Means Committee in the House means we need a stronger law requiring every major candidate and office holder to make public their tax returns.
Congress should pass a law that commands all political campaigns to disclose to the FBI any communication with a foreign person or government that offers information or “dirt” on another US candidate. Withholding such information should be against the law.
Perhaps the biggest foible in all of this is the fact that a president cannot be charged with a crime while he or she is in office. The legal logic makes sense on the surface, but it weakens the notion that no person is above the law. If a president murdered someone and there was clear proof that he did so, how can this not be a punishable crime in the normal judicial process? If Congress is not the Judicial Branch, can they truly be above the partisan swamp? Can they give a true verdict when they are willing to look the other way for their personal gains and preservation of their elected positions?
We have a lot of work to do and most of it has been caused by a President who cares little for the “normal order” of government, law or fair play. Whether he likes it or not, Donald Trump will soon inherit his own classification of concepts such as “Tea Pot Dome,” “Watergate” and “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
Trump is an inept political operative with too much money to understand the pain of the middle class. He’s above the law in his own mind and Robert Mueller knows it. Trump keeps saying that “he’s the most transparent president in history,” making us wonder why he didn’t sit for an interview with Robert Mueller. Maybe Trump’s just afraid of him. Why doesn’t Trump release his tax returns? Maybe he’s afraid of what we would learn.
Trump must be impeached, or he will think he can do anything. Without impeachment, this country has just elevated a president to King. And the king has no pants.
BRAND NEW BOOK ON AMERICA