He Is Above The Law. For Now.

The Founders, despite examples of individual and collective brilliance, gave us Tr-mp. And the Founders won’t let us get rid of him until January 20, 2021. It’s that simple. I’m sorry to keep saying it. But it is true.

I know people who closely follow every development in the Mueller investigation. I follow news about it fairly closely myself. But I also know people who think Mueller will, or at least could, bring Tr-mp down. I’m not one of those people. It’s not gonna happen no matter what Mueller finds. I hope to Allah I’m wrong, but I don’t see how I am.

Like most people who have read his history and followed his rise to Republican royalty, I have a strong suspicion that Tr-mp has committed some number of serious crimes, both before he ran for office and after he conned just barely enough people to get him an Electoral College victory. But I don’t just suspect Tr-mp has, and continues to, obstruct justice. I’ve seen it and heard it with my own eyes and ears. There simply isn’t any doubt about it. We’ve all seen it unfold in real time, starting with firing the FBI director, then confessing to NBC News that he fired him because of the Russia investigation, then onto a more democracy-threatening strategy of discrediting the Justice Department, the FBI, any news organization that dares print or broadcast facts about what is happening, and, of course, Bob Mueller and his investigation. That Tr-mp obstructed justice is a no-brainer.

But so what? So what if Tr-mp obstructed justice? And so what if he committed any other crimes? He has just said, “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.” He went there. He said it. Think about that. Think about how emboldened he must feel to even express such a thought. That he believes he can publicly express such an anti-democratic, un-American idea really, though, tells us more about the state of the Republican Party than it does about the state of Tr-mp’s mind.

But does he have such a right? Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure, thanks to another oversight by the Founders. But even if he doesn’t have the constitutional right, even if the Supreme Court says he doesn’t have the right to pardon PARDON himself, who will stop him if he does? You tell me, please. Who—WHO—will stop him? And even if—I have heard this theory advanced more than once today—Tr-mp stepped down temporarily under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and had Mike Pence pardon him before Tr-mp then reclaimed power, who would stop that or make the duo pay a price for such unprecedented and unpresidential behavior? Please tell me.

We now know that Tr-mp’s grotesque TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, thinks Tr-mp could have literally shot the FBI director instead of merely metaphorically shooting him with a firing—and “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” Giuliani claimed. The darkly comedic lawyer then offered that the only constitutional option was “impeachment.” Now, whether Giuliani is wrong about a subpoena or an indictment (apparently he is wrong, but who really knows how it will play out at this strange point in our history?), he is right regarding his overall point: impeachment is the only instrument, short of an election, that will rid us of the Founder’s biggest presidential blunder. And that’s the problem.

There will be no impeachment, so long as Republicans control the House. And even if Democrats wrestle control from Republicans in November and vote next year to impeach Tr-mp, there will be no conviction in the Senate. And our nasty nightmare will continue. If you have evidence to dispute this, please share it with me. If you have evidence that there are enough Republican votes in the Senate to convict Tr-mp of anything, please show me and the rest of the country just what that evidence is.

Because even if Tr-mp shot James Comey in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York or here in Joplin on Range Line Road, I promise you that immediately there would begin a TRMP AND COMEYmassive disinformation campaign that would blame the murder on the Deep State, or, perhaps, claim that Comey is still alive somewhere waiting to assume dictatorial power after Tr-mp is dethroned by the Deep State. And that disinformation campaign, whatever its conspiratorial theme, would convince enough Republican voters that Tr-mp is the victim. And those Republican voters would convince enough Republicans in Congress to save Tr-mp’s hide. And if you can even remotely imagine this happening after a public murder, imagine how likely it is to happen for something less. Again, if you have evidence to undermine my claims here, please share.

The sad and depressing truth is that Tr-mp is above the law, so long as voters keep Republicans in office.

 

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22 Comments

  1. I see no compelling evidence that Democrats will hang onto enough momentum to show up for the midterms. Mostly, we’re as lazy as Republicans. Just not as mean and stupid. Stupid and mean seems to send people to the polls. I want to be wrong, but everyday I read the news and ask myself how this happens with so little outrage from the citizenry? This may sound smug and judgemental. OK. Sue me. I don’t know why so few seem to care and so many still want to give Trump and his new GOP the benefit of the doubt. Your post is depressing as hell, Duane. And I don’t disagree with a word of it.
    PS: The current Democratic leadership has shown little — leadership. We don’t have time for yet another failure of the DCCC and DNC to inspire us with progressive candidates and get out the vote. Perez is a huge-but-predictable disappointment. Ellison is window dressing. The guy best supporting progressive candidates — the kind who could bring about serious change — is Bernie Sanders. Yep.

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    • I purposely didn’t mention Democrats or non-voters. One of the reasons for not mentioning Democrats is that I hate to frequently fire my ire on people who aren’t anywhere near as disgusting as Republicans. For all the faults on our side, on their worst day Democrats are a thousand ten-thousand times better than the best of the alternatives. Obviously, if Democratic turnout is not sufficient to win back the House in November, I’ll have plenty to say, if I’m still able to say it.

      And one of the reasons I had for not mentioning people who don’t bother to vote, and who therefore make Republican dominance possible, is because such people are, if you think about it, worse than Republicans. At least Republicans get their asses to the polls in order to muck up the country. The idle don’t even have enough interest in things to even do that. I figure it isn’t worth the effort trying to reach such people, since they aren’t likely interested in, say, the fate of the country and trivial matters like that. However, I do occasionally like to vent on them, since they are such assholes.

      Now I come to Bernie. Oh, boy. This is where we will diverge a bit. I still suffer, occasionally, from Bernie-helped-Tr-mp-win flashes. Just the other day I was reminded that Bernie spent millions of primary dollars bashing Hillary Clinton in crucial Electoral College states that Tr-mp ended up winning. Obviously we can’t know precisely how much this helped Tr-mp in the general election, but I said at the time that it was a waste of resources and, more important, dangerous—unless, I suppose, the goal was to see her lose no matter what.

      So, when it comes to Bernie, if he should secure the nomination of a party he seems to hate with an unbridled passion, then of course I will vote for him. But I am looking for someone younger, who will pound every podium with outrage over everything Tr-mp is doing, who will be my personal fuck-Tr-mp voice, and who loves the Democratic Party for what it is—and for what it isn’t.

      Sorry,

      Duane

       

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  2. Ben Field

     /  June 4, 2018

    Duane,

    The President is not King Charles and is certainly not the monarch of this country. As Charles discovered, no one is above the law and Trump should share his fate if he makes such an attempt. Only the Supreme Court has the ultimate right to determine whether an act violates the constitution or is protected by the constitution.

    I cannot imagine the most esteemed judges in our nation ruling against the very reason this nation was established, against tyranny of an individual that is above the law. Despite Guiliani’s hubris, and the DOJ’s deference to the chief executive, the people of this country will not accept the premise that the President is above the law. It could only result in revolution, should our democracy allow such to occur.

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    • I hear ya, but I have to ask you this: even if the SC ruled that Tr-mp must submit to a subpoena, can be indicted, and thus is not above the law, who will enforce the order if he refuses? He has laid the ground work for defying the “Deep State,” which he has maintained is out to destroy him and thwart the will of his voters. Turn on Fox and listen to his supporters/pundits back him up on this. Look at the polls among Republicans, with Mueller sitting at 17%. And then look at the reaction to all of this in Congress. Besides some mild criticisms here and there, Tr-mp has been able to push his “they’re after me” message very successfully. So, I don’t see him getting impeached, and if he were, I don’t see two-thirds vote in the Senate for conviction. If you have a theory as to why this won’t be the case, I’m all ears.

      Duane

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      • Ben Field

         /  June 5, 2018

        Duane,

        The DOJ’s primary responsibility is to enforce the rule of law of the US Constitution, and not to the President. Should the Supreme Court finds Trump can be indicted, it is incumbent upon the DOJ to enforce that rule of law and prosecute him. Trump may try the Nixon approach and fire those that do so, but that doesn’t permit anyone in the DOJ to avoid their sworn oath to the Constitution.

        Even if they find a Bork, and the Supreme Court has found just cause that the President must answer the charges in a court of law, the majority of voters will demand justice for all. To deny the Supreme Court in favor of a con man should be unacceptable to any duly elected representative of the US sworn oath to the Constitution.

        Even Tea Party Ted Cruz cannot accept the notion of the President being above the law. I don’t believe even the most hideous Trump supporters in the Congress want to go on record as subverting the Constitution. I have to believe our nation has not yet sunk to that level of partisanship, that once convicted of the obvious, that these members would choose to live in infamy as subverting the rule of law.

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        • I wish I had the faith you do. I don’t. I hope you are right, though, and I am wrong.

          If it comes to pass that Tr-mp is subpoenaed and refuses, that will be tested. If it comes to pass that he is indicted and ignores it, that will be tested. If it comes to pass that he loses those tests, then you suggest he be tried by the Justice Department. That won’t happen. There’s exactly no precedent for it, as it is almost universally accepted that in such a case impeachment is the only recourse. If the Justice Department did indict him and want to try him, how could federal marshalls go fetch the president if he ordered them to stand down? And on and on. Such is the gaping flaw in the system.

          And as for popular opinion, I remind you that the way our politics works these days, popular opinion doesn’t exactly mean all that much. The House districts are wildly gerrymandered, money controls nearly every aspect of what happens, and politicians can ignore the will of the people to a higher degree today than in my lifetime at least. I point you to the polling on gun laws. Super large majorities support banning bump stocks and tightening up the loopholes on background checks. You will notice, though, that Congress hasn’t moved an inch. 

          Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  June 5, 2018

    Duane and General,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but note the “fake news” headline on this blog about trump being impeached. As I recall it was posted soon after the Nov 2016 election, maybe the day (or so) afterwards. Both of you have consistently called for exactly such action for now 18 plus months. But it hasn’t happened, yet. Why?

    You now blame “The Founders”, the Constitution for such an event, trump as our president. I suppose you believe the Constitution is flawed in that being voted our of office in a routine election or impeachment are the only clear Constitution methods to remove a president from office (OK the yet to be tried 25th Amendment as well). If you could change the constitution what would be the wording of such an amendment thereto? “If after an election over half the voters believe the president needs removal then hold another election and let the people decide.” ????. Follow that precept and Obama would have been gone in 2010, probably!

    The only way to determine if a law has been violated is through a court of law before a jury of one’s peers. We don’t have 12 previous President’s alive today so finding “peers” might prove to be a challenge. But we do have 100 Senators constitutionally required to be a “jury” in such a trial. But after 250 (or so) years that hasn’t worked, yet. We came close, twice, but removal from office for “high crimes and misdemeanors”, not yet. In the last case, lying under oath, perjury, was not a “high” enough crime in such a trial, “high enough to rise to the level of impeachment”! If that same standard of “justice” is followed, I doubt any president will ever be impeached, including “shooting the director of the FBI” (Texas defense of the SOB deserved it!!!).

    Make no mistake, I despise trump and am embarrassed that he is “my President”. But I am far more concerned how best to govern rather than trying to concoct a legal reason to remove him from office violating some pretty basic precepts of “law”, like using the full power to government (spies, wire tapping, midnight raids, etc., etc.) to achieve a political goal.

    Mueller is a smart man with awesome power to yield. If there is evidence to impeach present it and let the law be followed. My concern is there is still a significant LACK of evidence, despite your screams of political outrage, but so what. Let Mueller do his job and we will see.

    But how much longer should he investigate trump, etc.? Until trump, et al are convicted you will say, maybe.

    In the meantime, how in the hell should America be “governed” with a mob in full throated demands to treat trump like King Charles (beheading as I recall). To do that Dems need to find a Cromwell and look how he gained power, something our Constitution was designed to prevent!

    Anson

    PS: I finished reading “Sapiens” and find myself in the midst of some “moral dilemmas” for sure. His use of the term “macrohistory” is compelling, the long view of human actions.

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    • Anonymous

       /  June 5, 2018

      Your president’s son met with a hostile nation’s intelligence associate at Trump tower to obtain damaging information on his opponent in an election, then President Trump dictated a response to the New York Times denying it, and his lawyers in January of this year admitted such. An admitted treasonous liar defines your president. Do you really think he can pardon himself or subvert the law as he has declared? Defending a traitor should not be your legacy, it should be honoring the oath you took to defend the Constitution. Pitiful!

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    • There was no “fake news,” Anson. Nobody would understand that newspaper mock-up to be intended to fool anyone into thinking Tr-mp had been impeached. Come on. 

      As for why Tr-mp hasn’t been impeached, I can tell you why. Republicans don’t take the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution seriously. Not one bit. Not even one little tiny bit. And, to tell you the truth, not that many Democrats in Congress appear to take it that seriously either. For all intents and purposes, the Emoluments Clause is dead. It’s fucking dead.

      As for the Founders’ flaws, there are several. In the context of this blog, we have the Electoral College nonsense. I’ve said enough about that already. And there is also the flaw of not clearly outlining the limitations of the president’s clemency powers. It wasn’t that hard a thing to do. Simply put in the Constitution, just about anywhere would do, the fact that no president is above the law and therefore cannot pardon himself under any circumstances. As it stands now, Tr-mp could pardon himself and his family and friends, the SC could rule against him pardoning himself, and then what? Who is going to enforce such a ruling? Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell? Lol.

      Now, we get to the straw man argument you raised. Your amendment that the people should be able to remove the president via another election soon after the first one is something that nobody on my side has raised. Nobody. The point isn’t another election (although in the case of a fraudulent election, like the 2016 election appears to have been, there should be some remedy; otherwise, we remain victims of the fraud for four long years). The point is that the flaw in the system is that the House has the impeachment power and the Senate is the tribunal and the Founders did not envision a situation in which such non-principled pricks like we see among Republican leadership today would basically render impeachment useless in order to protect their guy in the Whites’ House. One possible remedy could have been that a president under indictment would have to step down while a trial was conducted and the vice president could not pardon him. No president should enjoy the benefits of being pardoned. He or she should be held to at least that standard.

      But there will be no justice in the case of Tr-mp, if we wait on the Congress to deliver it. And that is true no matter what Mueller finds out. As I said, I hope to Allah I am wrong.

      As for your concern over governing, my god, Anson. Tr-mp is not governing in any conventional sense. He is looting the Treasury; he is destroying institutions; he is benefiting from foreign entanglements; etc. I would think that, if your concern is governing, you above all people would be demanding he resign or be impeached. I can’t imagine you tolerating such behavior from, say, Obama. I can imagine by now you would have authored a dozen op-eds in support of impeaching him, if he would have done a fraction of the things Tr-mp has done. But you continue to have this strange indifference to what Tr-mp is actually doing, in terms of the long-term health of the country. You worry about governing now? What about governing five, ten, twenty years from now? What about the generation of kids whose civic understanding is being formed right now, right now under this grifter, this unprincipled narcissist, this would-be tyrant? 

      In short, where is your goddamned outrage?

      Duane

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  4. It’s unlikely that PresiDunce will be leaving the White House before 2021 unless there’s a coup. Even more frightening is the likelihood that the only thing that will ensure he doesn’t win in 2020 (assuming he runs) is if he does something that alienates a large enough number of his cult members — the 40%. And that’s not likely given that they don’t seem to know or want to know what’s he’s doing, and they believe Sean Hannity and the other idiots when they reassure them that PresiDunce is doing a fantastic job and that the Deep State is trying to destroy him. I’d like to think that, if the cult members actually experience personal pain because of PresiDunce’s policies (e.g., loss of their jobs or health care), they might notice what he’s doing and come back to reality. But, even then, many of them are likely to believe the problem is the Deep State, the media, and the other foes of their cult leader because they so firmly believe he can do no wrong. Alternatively, if his policies start affecting the top 1%, they may turn on him and spend their money trying to wake up the zombie cult members. I heard this morning that the Koch brothers are launching “an aggressive campaign” against PresiDunce’s trade policies. I can’t wait to see how PresiDunce responds: Will he change his mind about some of his policies or will his narcissism make him double down, which is what opposition often causes him to do?

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    • Dayan,

      Tr-mp’s tariff policies, which violate every principle that every conservative Republican has held since Moses had pimples, are not a concern of a large number of actual Republican voters. Many of them, so long as they aren’t personally hurt, don’t give a damn about “free trade” or any other dogma of the moneyed right-wing. Thus, I don’t think any amount of Koch money is going to turn away his base and I think Tr-mp knows that.

      In any case, I have a rough estimate of the makeup of Tr-mp’s base. It is something like this: 1/2 are cult members, which include most white evangelicals; 1/4 don’t much care for him but hate “liberal” Democrats more; 1/4 are people who are either wildly affluent or want to be and admire those who are. 

      So, in the end, no matter how much money the Kochs and other wealthy donors spend, as long as Tr-mp is on the ballot he will get the votes of his cultists and party loyalists. 

      Sad, but I think true.

      Duane

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      • So much for trying to be “hopeful.” I don’t know how much more of this I can take before my head explodes. I stayed away from the news most of today and the first thing I heard when I turned on MSNBC is that racist moronic PresiDunce would like to replace Sessions with jackass Judge Jeanine from Fox “News.” (Have you noticed its new slogan is “Real News. Real Honest Opinion.” — whatever that means?) Then there was news about environment assassin and swamp creature Scott Pruitt and his desire to get a used mattress from PresiDunce’s hotel and use of his security detail to find his favorite Ritz-Carlton hand lotion. And then there was collaborator Giuliani’s misogynistic rant about Stormy Daniels. I’d say we’re living in the insane world depicted in the movie Idiocracy except I don’t recall that people in that movie were as evil as they are in our current reality.

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        • Don’t forget that also today Tr-mp invited Putin back into the G-8, ramped up the trade war talk with our allies, and otherwise embarrassed us with unhinged blather. Good times.

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  5. I am reminded by this discussion of just how close Clinton came to winning the election. She was just a whisker away from doing it, and probably would have if not for Putin’s sly campaign to sow hate and fear in social media. Comey’s inept handling of the Clinton e-mail mess was another factor that tipped the scales. “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost . . . ” The butterfly effect.

    As for the possibility of impeachment, that’s another gloomy aspect to this conundrum. Pence would be a disaster in ways different from Trump, feckless, inept and theocratic.

    Let us keep in mind that anything is possible. Politics is not a science, it’s an art, as complex and confounding as economics. Most people have busy lives and devote little time to think below the surface of demagoguery or examine their own political identity. That’s the challenge Democrats face in the coming elections. Clinton lacked likability (to put it mildly). We need someone with charisma as well as brains. Someone not 75 years old. Someone who can convince the people that the real problem is not immigration but healthcare.

    I am hearing of late that Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame is flirting with the idea of politics.

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    • Jim,

      I don’t know much about Howard Schultz, but I am initially skeptical. Like you, I want an intelligent, articulate, youngish someone. But I also want a passionate fighter. Right now I don’t know who that might be, although I wish Jason Kander would consider getting in. He out-performed Hillary in this state by a lot. He has appeal to a broader group of people than others I can think of.

      Oh. I will add to your list of why she lost by an Electoral College whisker: Bernie Sanders spent millions in crucial states softening her up, mainly by suggesting she was corrupt, etc. He did so even when it was clear he had no chance to win the nomination. I’m having a hard time forgetting that.

      Duane

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      • Respectfully — bull shit. And Jason Kander is even less progressive than Hillary. So — double bull shit. It doesn’t have to be Bernie. How about Schiff or Merkley? Hillary lost because she was a shitty candidate. Smart? Yes. Capable? Yes. As perfect as you guys want to claim. Hell, effing no!!!!! Bill gave us “W” and Hillary gave us the Donald. Thanks for the memories, Clintons. Now — go away!

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        • The Clintons are not the issue. Nor is her perfection or lack thereof. The issue was why Bernie pursued the strategy he did. But forget that for now. You seem to have the wrong impression of Kander.

          Kander is a progressive. And he took that progressive message to rural areas in this state, including right here in Tr-mplin, and only lost by three points state-wide- – while Hillary lost by 19.

          I want to win in 2020. I’d rather not have a severe ideological purity test during the primary campaign, but if it is, Kander can hold his own.

          Duane

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          • I suppose the interesting thing is new names are being floated. I have nothing against Jason Kander. Would love to see him run for office and win. President? Seriously? No.
            Sally Yates’ name has been mentioned here, too — maybe by Ben. Better, but — no. The Dems need first to win in 2018. Depending on what that looks like, 2020 becomes an important discussion in 2019. Maybe a Yates-Kander ticket. If 2018 is a flop we’re screwed beyond help. There might not even be a 2020 general election.
            We all have opinions here. I realize I can be a real shit. Maybe I’ll just keep my comments to myself until the mid-terms are done. If those go badly, this very important (whether I agree with you on everything or not) blog will likely be eaten by the fascists and we’ll all be in jail.
            That’s right, Anson — fascists.

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            • Sally Yates doesn’t appear to have any interest in running, as far as I can tell. Kander does. And you will come to like him more and more.

              But please keep your comments coming. I appreciate your point of view more than you know. We don’t always agree on every point, but your heart and mine seem to seek similar goods. And that ain’t bad, my friend.

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            • By the way, Schiff or Merkley are great guys, but lack the necessary charisma for the moment, it appears. But I haven’t seen them on the stump. So…

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              • Well, at least we know for sure that it won’t be Bernie. In another “brilliant” move by the DNC, the Vermont Senator will have to put an official “(D)” by his name to get into the 2020 primaries. I wonder how many as-yet-unpartied liberals will decide to forego casting their ballots for dems in the 2018 mid-terms. You can’t make this shit up. Idiots. They could have waiting until January. I repeat: IDIOTS!

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  6. Some parting words from the late Philip Roth that seem pertinent to this discussion.

    “I’ve been a Roosevelt Democrat ever since I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. But, whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”

    Amen

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