As has been said elsewhere, the wandering White House letter sent to Congress yesterday read like a legal brief prepared by the firm of Trump and Fox, cringeworthy citations to law, outright falsehoods, internally inconsistent, and full of entitled bravado. In essence, the president cannot be criminally investigated or charged because there is a “constitutional remedy,” but the constitutional remedy is illegitimate in this case because Adam Schiff and perfect calls. “Owned.”
The letter actually represents an open declaration of war on the constitution and the idea that the law constrains all of us, or applies at all. As Jonathon Chait of the Washington Intelligencer notes, attempting to nail square Trump into the round hole of “law” is anathema. Law utilizes objective principles and restraints applied equally across the board so as to achieve some notion of “fairness.” While Trump is … well, going to do what is best for Trump, and check on the rules later. Now, it appears, he has no plans to “check on the rules” any further.
Trump’s letter tells us that the White House will do nothing, in any way, that resembles “cooperation.” It rejects the very legitimacy of the impeachment process. In a briefing with reporters, a senior administration official was asked what changes Trump would need to cooperate. “A full halt” was the answer. Perfect. Trump will cooperate the moment the Democrats stop the impeachment process. Catch-22, pow libtards!
Chait notes the absurdity:
Such Catch-22 absurdities give this administration no embarrassment. Since Democrats took control of the House last January, Trump has asserted it has no right to investigate him for crimes, no right to obtain his tax returns despite a law clearly authorizing exactly that, and that prosecutors can neither charge nor even investigate his criminal activity. He has claimed the right to start or stop any federal legal proceeding. Some of his positions grow out of the extreme unitary executive theory that figures like William Barr have developed for years, though only for Republican presidents.
Yes, that sounds like our guy.
Donald Trump, wounded animal, man with no bedrock principles, is under attack by his political opponents using the exact tool set forth within the constitution to address the types of abuses we see. The American people, under the constitution, elected a House of Representatives that is utilizing powers found within the document to investigate and impeach Trump. In turn, Trump declared war on the House and the constitution, rejecting its power, its legitimacy as a necessary “tool,” seeing it only as a dangerous weapon.
Trump’s response to impeachment, denying the constitution’s power to constrain him, proves why the process is necessary in the first place. His defense to impeachment will become an article of impeachment, because of course it will. As Chait summarizes:
But it is, in the main, an expression of Trump’s idiosyncratic convictions. This is a president who asserted his “absolute right” to investigate any person he wants, for any reason even while facing impeachment for abuse of power. He has no conception of the law, except as a tool to compel his opponents to submit to him. His every response to impeachment proves its necessity.
Some positives going forward.
One, we ought to take a moment and give thanks for the fact that this is literally the best defense they have. It appears Pelosi was wise to wait for the “self-impeaching” article.
Second, impeachment and getting rid of Trump generally was always going to require the work of two branches, working separately, but using the same tools, living in a world where two plus two equaled four. The judiciary must get involved and throw some hard orders down on what the constitution does and does not allow. We saw the judiciary react yesterday to various arguments put forth in two other cases, and to put it simply, the judiciary isn’t fooled.
But, as we’ve known all along, Trump will attempt to take the country down with him, and given that the constitution and country are inseparable, the constitution necessarily came under attack. We have likely been in a constitutional crises for some time, but the letter represented a point where even hardliners relented and admitted that we are in uncharted waters:
Former GOP staffer to Senate Judiciary, Rubio, and Thune blasts WH Counsel letter.🔥🔥 https://t.co/6TBYSZriRw
— Eric Columbus (@EricColumbus) October 8, 2019
Yes, things are bad, and they will get worse.
It is always circular reasoning with this White House, the only answer they know is that they win. The DOJ cannot indict a sitting president because there is a constitutional remedy. The constitutional remedy is illegitimate because there is an election coming. The specific abuse of power cited is use of office to influence that very same election. Abuse of power to influence an election is against the law, and go back to number one, the DOJ cannot indict a …
Trump declared war on the constitution, giving himself the “absolute right” to determine its parameters. He is never going to listen to the Democrats in the House. It is time to get the judiciary involved, and sooner rather than later.
We cannot give ground in Trump’s war, precedents are being set. Trump will take every inch not forcefully guarded. The letter is the open declaration of a “constitutionally free” executive. A president unconstrained by law is the most dangerous person on the planet. He oversees the most devastating military ever assembled and has executive power to influence the biggest economy on the globe. The United States is not the only “thing” on the brink of collapse, the entire “presumed world order” hangs precariously.
Yes, Trump and Trumpers have always wanted to destroy that “globalist” presumed world order, but it kept the globe relatively stable. Now, nothing is stable.
We are in the constitutional crises we all predicted. The letter itself was an open declaration of war on the law, the Constitution. Ideally, it is the only “war” that opens up in the next week.
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