President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to resolve potential conflicts of interest without divesting himself of ownership of his business empire, announced at a news conference on Wednesday morning, makes clear that the moment he takes the oath of office on January 20, he will be acting in violation of the Constitution, setting the stage for the most serious crisis of presidential illegitimacy in U.S. history.
Laws do not necessarily equate with justice.
The words on the lintel above the Supreme Court building on the National Mall say "Equal Justice under law".
Justice disappeared a long time ago from the United States institutions of power.
Justice resides in individuals, who are born with it.
Justice would see the immediate pardon of Edward Snowden, and the arraignment of many, including Obama & Bush - for war crimes and shredding the Constitution.
James Clapper would be in jail.
This is not rocket science.
So, aside from short-lived catharsis and divisive controversy, does anyone in their right mind really want Pence as acting President? What is really accomplished by this? Is it not better to have a President with NO legitimacy or credibility, cut off from real power as a security risk by the Deep State? Essentially, Trump could be an obnoxious turd in a golden cage. Still, as bad as he is, Trump is an important counterweight to the different agendas of Paul Ryan and Mike Pence.
As I wrote in recently in an article, What I appreciate about Trump is that he, an incessant liar who cannot separate truth from fiction, is a harsh beacon illuminating ugly truths – not intentionally -- but because he is impulsive, lacking in subtly and so obvious in his lies and his choices that he exposes, beyond delusion, the reality of corrupt power for all to see. Now that the mask is off the beast of the voracious monstrosity of capitalism, we have never been in a better position to build a massive, united, progressive movement.
Thank you for this much-needed essay - the problem is it will not be widely disseminated by our bought & paid-for corporate media and most people will remain ignorant of the utter contempt trump shows for the rule of law generally and the Constitution. He is without principles or moral compass.
Respect for equality before the law is foundational to our republic (tho in practice not so); ignoring clear proscriptions and/or long-established precedent is destructive even that fig-leaf, and to democracy, so easily manipulated and subverted by big-money influence and political power.
The contempt trump shows for all that is part and parcel to his arrogance, greed, ignorance on science and the environment, narcissistic personality and unbridled ambition, is a clear and present danger to our free republic. His claims to personal exemption from the law and Constitution should cause all citizens to rise-up and demand adherence at least.
The "sociopath elect" will continue to manufacture truth, flout the law and precedent claiming personal exemption, will not divest his holdings, will not release his "smoking-gun" tax-returns that will likely show conclusively his contempt for the law, the truth, and his claims of "empire".
How is it possible in a nation based on the rule of law that citizens and members of Congress are legally powerless to prevent the presidency from being turned over to a person ineligible to serve as Commander in Chief?
A nation based on the Rule of Law? Excuse me while I vomit. Pious and lofty words, right up there with other fantasies in this country, such as democracy, the right to vote, constitutional rights and so much more. Where the hell was the rule of law under Obama? Under Bush? Under Clinton? And now that we have Trump, the rule of law is all of a sudden a concern? Come on, Trump will fit right in. As with his predecessors, he'll work as hard to subvert it than uphold it. And that disdain for the law pales in comparison to what past presidents have had for international law. More than a little late and disgustingly hypocritical to be preaching about the holy rule of law, now, just because we have Trump for a president.
The emoluments clause is vague and enforced only by impeachment via Congress. Good luck with that.
Everybody, stop for a moment and try to think this thing through.
Do you think we are really going to be better off with a homophobic, safety-net cutting, religious-fanatic President Pence?
We should all be defending Trump against all these kinds of underhanded attempts to subvert our election process. The Courts are NOT supposed to pick our president, even though they did in 2000.
I totally agree; all the laughing at Trump on "The Daily Show" and "Saturday Night Live" neglects to consider the likely result of a Trump impeachment or resignation. Pence isn't as easy a target, and is therefore much more dangerous.
Hey TJ....I bridle at the prospect of defending trump in any way, but pence is such another whack-job the differences may be negligible. Your main point tho is that elections must be respected and not subject to manipulation - even tho they are now via many mechanisms.
Many of the extremist views held by pence are also in trumps delusional and largely opaque playbook, given his cabinet picks and own demonstrated pathologies - he has such contempt for elections and the electoral process he is also a threat - we are left with the results of underhanded attempts to subvert our electoral processes already there may be little difference - Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum. And in the end the same forces that will profit will do so regardless...unless people rise-up to demand and fight for real change......Keep the faith (what little is left).
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” There is the catch - Mr. Trump has no ability.
Here is the problem I have with the general theme of this article.
As others have pointed out a number of Predidents past acted in violation of the Constitution. Way back in the Presidency of Andrew Jackson, just as example, that President simply ignored a ruling of the Supreme Court over the matter of cleansing Eastern States of Native Americans.
When a law is selectively applied it no longer becomes an exercise of the law or of Justice. It becomes an exercise in power.
When the Court or Senate or Judiciary picks and chooses which violation of the Constitution they will act upon they are in effect acting in a un-constitutional manner.
It creates the impression they not so much interested in the State of the Republic as a nation of law and order and care more that none that become President can be seen as a threat to the status quo.
Defending the constitution is not synonymous with defending Trump, but I have seen progressives here, who dismissed the threat of Trumps election, now call for a military coup. That worked so well for Egyptians.
I agree with the several commenters who ask whether Pence as acting or actual President is any better. And while I hate to promote conspiracy theories, it's clear to me that Pence, dredged up from the depths of Indiana and before that unknown to the general public, is somehow the real purpose of the GOP "electoral" process. Look at how visible he was in the selection of cabinet nominees. I can't recall another VP-elect appearing with each and every candidate. There's also something apocalyptic that may be going on around specifically provoking a constitutional crisis. If anything, impeachment may be only the backup plan if God doesn't step in on the ensuing chaos.
Your views aline with those of Trump and company far more than appear to acknowledge. They too are quite willing to ridicule the rule of law and operations of democracy at any level. So why don't you just descend into curmudgeonry. Shake a fist at the world.
Pence took over the Trump transition from Christie. A previous VP played a similar role in staffing the executive. Dick Cheney.
Exactly, except that W didn't succeed in getting assassinated (or choking on that pretzel), and they found out Cheney had more power from the bunker. And that they didn't have the Rapture factor. I'm afraid this crop really believes in it.
We are all thinking this thru - I know I am.
I will amend my initial post at the top of this article - I do not think many - most - of these four star generals are acting in a way to harm the republic or the people -
in their own minds.
And I don't really believe in jail, per se.
But they are wrong, nonetheless - and as you point out, the selective decision to obey the law or the Constitution is a slippery slope.
From the "Art of War" on, and undoubtedly - before it - deception has been a tool to win - "all is fair in love and war".
This is an undeniable part of human nature.
But we are here, on the brink of extirpation.
Perhaps naive should be revived as a way of looking at things. Naive originally meant "natural" - or "native".
The best way to live - if possible.
I will never forget Colin Powell's fear of "the spooks" - his word for the intelligence community.
I think faces offer a reasonable way to evaluate a person - words less so.
When "somehow" "we" elected a man who's among other stupidities was famous for saying "you're fired"; it was demonstrated at what level of absurdity we have arrived as a nation. Lies, deceit, abuse, violence, intolerance,...add her your favorite adjective...were soon to come.
You can call this cum-by-ya if you need. But the United States have been planting tyrants around the globe for decades. And as they say - what goes around eventually comes around. We now have a dictator for president, right here in America, created, invented by Americans "made in America"
Now we're stuck with that for the remaining, fun and games.
Don't be too quick to spread the blame. It may be only small comfort, but it is comfort to me that my vote didn't contribute, and neither did my state. I'm still wearing Bernie stickers in my car windows.
"Without a legal challenge by President Obama to the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, we will have demonstrated to the world that violence is unnecessary for tyranny to prevail ..."
Also, 'without a legal challenge by President Obama' we would see that Trump really was picked by our 'shadow government' and THAT is the true tyranny!