Monday, June 4, 2018

Paul Waldman — Inevitably, Trump Declares He Is Above the Law


Making it official. Absolute power, that is.

I remind you of this history [of Richard Nixon] because over the weekend, The New York Timespublished a letter from President Trump's lawyers to special counsel Robert Mueller, which includes this stunning passage:
It remains our position that the President's actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.
To clarify, they're asserting that no matter what the president does, by definition he cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice, because he's the president.… 
The entire last year and a half has been leading to the point at which Donald Trump proclaims that he is above the law, and dares us to do anything about it.
So there. What you going to do about it?

This would otherwise be a curiosity, being a counterfactual, but it is particularly relevant presently in light of discussion indicating that if the Democrats take House in the fall midterm election, Trump will be impeached — more importantly, it appears that there are the votes in the Senate to convict and remove him from office.

Obviously, DJT knows this and will be pulling out all the plugs to make sure that the Democrats don't take back the House.

A key part of his strategy is to win a victory one trade, but that risks roiling the markets and depressing both the financial markets and the economy.

Stay tuned.

The American Prospect
Inevitably, Trump Declares He Is Above the Law
Paul Waldman

See also
However, as Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis pointed out [on Twitter], that wasn't the case at the end of former President Richard Nixon's time in office. "Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself," the Department of Justice declared in 1974. The DOJ spelled it out just four days before Nixon resigned, explaining that the president's pardoning power "does not extend to the president himself."
The Week
The DOJ ruled 44 years ago that the president cannot pardon himself

Also
This morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that he “absolutely” had the power to pardon himself in the event that he is charged with obstructing justice in the investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election (or with anything else).
VOX
Giuliani: Trump “probably” can pardon himself. Trump: I “absolutely” can pardon myself.
Jane Coaston

I won't post anymore links on this, since it has gone viral globally.

35 comments:

lastgreek said...

Comey must be quaking in his boots.

"Trump can assassinate Comey without indictment." -- Giuliani

Konrad said...

“DJT will be pulling out all the plugs to make sure that the Democrats don't take back the House.

Come November, I suspect that Republicans will gain an even larger House majority than Republicans have now.

Reason: Registered Republicans will vote, while most people left of center will stray home, especially if the candidates in their own districts are establishment democrats.

Establishment democrats have nothing to offer except war, Russia-gate, weaponized political correctness, and whining about Trump. Their “super delegate” scam was bad enough, but their torpedoing of Bernie Sanders killed whatever hope the masses had.

Establishment Democrats are Republicans in every way that matters. Their opponents are genuinely progressive Democrats who call for things like Universal Healthcare.

Establishment Democrats almost always get re-elected, since they are able to rig elections, and since they are supported by the rich.

The masses know this. That’s why I suspect that most people left of center will stray home.

Konrad said...

I mean stay home.

lastgreek said...

Establishment democrats have nothing to offer...

And it's really not that hard. All the Dems need to do is copy the Repubs and give the voters what they want/need.

"Medicare for All" or "Wall"? For sure the former will get you the most votes.

Tom Hickey said...

"Medicare for All" or "Wall"? For sure the former will get you the most votes.

But then you lose the donors.

Tom Hickey said...

Come November, I suspect that Republicans will gain an even larger House majority than Republicans have now.

Reason: Registered Republicans will vote, while most people left of center will stray home, especially if the candidates in their own districts are establishment democrats.


It's a matter of intensity of the respective bases. The GOP base is charge up over Trump and aware that he may be impeached. The so-called Resistance is fired up over impeaching Trump.

The center of both parties is ambivalent, and turn out in midterms is usually low.

Depends on which side can turn out the vote.

Konrad said...

"Depends on which side can turn out the vote."

Yes, and I predict that Democrats won't be able to turn out the vote enough to gain a majority in the House.

I don't think that the "Get Trump!" crowd is nearly as large as the corporate media outlets would have us believe, nor are the Trump-bots as numerous as the Trump-bots imagine they are.

I think that most Americans are sick of the the entire Washington D.C. swamp, including Trump and the so-called " #resistance. "

In many places, housing prices (including rents) are so high that average Americans don't have time to think about the swamp.

Establishment Democrats tried to use the Parkland shooting to convince people to register to vote for establishment Democrats. However the public doesn't remember what happened three days ago, let alone 3½ months ago. The only thing that's real, and the only thing that exists, is what's on Twitter today.

What people really care about is the ever-rising cost of living, and on this, the establishment democrats have absolutely nothing to offer.

Konrad said...

QUESTION: Can Trump pardon himself?

MY ANSWER: Pardon himself of what? What has Trump been charged with? What can Trump be charged with? Article II of the U.S. Constitution says that no sitting president can be prosecuted. (Literally the U.S. President is “immune from judicial direction.”)

The Senate can impeach a U.S. president (i.e. hold hearings on whether the president should be removed), and then vote to remove or not remove the president, but termination is not the same as prosecution.

If the Senate voted to remove Trump, then no, Trump could not "pardon himself."

And if Trump were removed from office, what difference would it make? Trump would be replaced by the plastic yes-man Mike Pence.

Noah Way said...

Trump's approval rating is still higher than congress. But then again, so is Jeffery Dahmer's.

Konrad said...

“Trump tweeted that he ‘absolutely’ had the power to pardon himself in the event that he is charged with obstructing justice in the investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election (or with anything else).”

Trump is toying with his detractors. He knows that he cannot be criminally charged with anything while he is in office. The U.S. Constitution forbids it.

And when Trump is out of office, he will have no power to “pardon himself.”

Since Trump knows he cannot be charged with anything, he claims that he will "pardon" himself in order to f**k with the corporate media outlets.

This shows once again that Trump's idiocy lies as much in his dedicated detractors as it does in Trump himself.

Trump and the #resistance are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Schofield said...

God can fuck off says Donald Trump I'm not accountable to him!

Matt Franko said...

“Pardon himself of what? What has Trump been charged with? What can Trump be charged with?”

Collusion with the Russians... this whole article is another left person who didn’t vote for Trump still suffering in the throes of CD ...

Tom Hickey said...

Won't know until Mueller releases a report on the outcome of the investigation.

Konrad said...

"Won't know until Mueller releases a report on the outcome of the investigation."

People have been saying that for a year and a half, and people will continue to say that for another 2½ years. If Trump is re-elected, people will say it for another 6½ years.

Question: How long does it take to conduct an investigation?

Answer: As long as establishment Democrats need something to distract the masses from establishment Democrat corruption.

No one disputes that the DNC rigged the primaries so that Hillary would "win." When a DNC insider leaked the news about this corruption, the Hillary-bots falsely accused Trump and the Russians of exposing the corruption. Therefore DNC corruption is okay, but exposing DNC corruption is a “threat to our democracy.”

Tom Hickey said...

Mueller is required to issue a report at the end of the investigation. It will take as long as it takes.

DJT could abort the mission, but that is also an end of the investigation and it would have its own political ramifications and consequences.

Ryan Harris said...

The only "absolute" power granted to the presidency is the pardon. The sole check on that power is impeachment.

The witch hunt is about impeachment anyway so it seems proper to play the hand.

Noah Way said...

If we can have preemptive war it makes perfect sense that we can have a preemptive pardon.

Meanwhile, the village idiot's material competence is cognitive dissonance.

Konrad said...

.
I suspect that talk about “impeaching Trump” is empty chatter.

Trump made rich people and big corporations happy by pushing through and signing a massive tax break.

Trump made the Pentagon and the weapons makers happy by continually giving them more money than they have demanded.

Trump made the warmongers happy by continually increasing his threats against Iran, Russia, China, and Venezuela. And now Trump is talking about direct U.S. military action against Yemen.

Trump made Jews happy by continually striving to show that he is more slavishly devoted to Israeli supremacy than any previous president.

Trump made the neocons happy by taking on psychopaths like Bolton and Nikki Haley.

Trump made the CIA happy by finally and fully normalizing torture.

For most parties in power, Trump has been a golden goose. Why would they would want to impeach him?

lastgreek said...

You left out the car dealers, K. Thanks to Trump, they, too, are happy now :)

Trump reverses Obama-era rule designed to prevent racial bias by car dealers

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-auto-loan-rule-repeal-racial-discrimination-minorities-dealer-markup-congressional-review-act-a8362596.html

Matt Franko said...

“For most parties in power, Trump has been a golden goose. Why would they would want to impeach him?“

Correct they wouldn’t... they voted for him so he is implementing policies he ran on...

It’s called democracy... except for those suffering the effects of CD....

Konrad said...

“It’s called democracy.”

The USA is the most perfect democracy in human history. One dollar equals one vote. The more dollars you have, the more votes you have. This is Trump’s style of democracy (and Hillary’s and Obama’s).

Regarding the chatter about impeaching Trump, here is Michael Hudson…

I don’t think people realize the extreme damage that Obama did to the economy by bailing out the banks and not rolling back the terms of bank credit to keep housing affordable. Obama didn’t jail or regulate any bankers. Obama created the situation that Trump inherited. Trump has just pushed it to a further degree, with full Democratic support. The Democratic donor class loves Trump. They want Trump to be reelected because he’s cutting their taxes, he’s deregulating their banks, and he’s decriminalized their fraud.

In that same article, Hudson explains that the extreme rise in housing prices has nothing to do with natural law. Instead, the price of housing is inflating because the rate of bank credit is inflating. Banks intentionally push up housing prices so that banks can collect more money in rent and in debt payments. The result is an exploding number of homeless people, plus a mass crippling of the economy as more and more money is sucked up by the bankers, leaving less and less money for the rest of the economy.

Trump is “all in” with this. Nonetheless, many IDIOTS love Trump because Trump constantly whines about immigrants.

Just as Trump covers for the bankers by whining about immigrants, Obama covered for the bankers by whining about “trans rights.” (Hillary would have continued this.)

Konrad said...

The investigation of Trump will take as long as it takes.

Yes. As I explained above, the “investigation” will take another 2½ years. Or another 6 ½ years if Trump is re-elected, at the end of which the “investigation” will quietly vanish.

The purpose of this “investigation” is to distract the masses while they are crucified by the bankers.

As the number of homeless peasants continues to explode, the bankers tell them to blame Trump, even though Democrats are fully complicit in the banker scams.

Schofield said...

The US citizenship information states very clearly that constitutionally no one is above the law. Clearly Congress needs to revoke Trump's citizenship if it wishes to uphold the Constitution. Trump clearly is a potentially dangerous threat to the United States much like the Islamic fundamentalist Trump is so fond of talking about!

Tom Hickey said...

Nixon set himself up for removal from office by contesting that. The cover-up was the proximate cause, but his arrogant claim that the president is above the law was what did him in, in saying "If the president does it is is legal."

I don't think that DSJT is saying exactly the same thing, but it doesn't look too much different to many.

Matt Franko said...

“Nixon set himself up for removal”

Didn’t Nixon resign?

Tom Hickey said...

Nixon was given a offer he couldn't refuse.

If he didn't he would have been impeached, and Dems controlled Congress at the time.

So he resigned "for the good of the country."

Greg said...

It’s called democracy... except for those suffering the effects of CD....
-----------------------------------------

Jeezus Matt, is "CD" your new buzzword? You think you've found the inpenetrable defense to any argument with your political foes.

Its not just people who are fighting Trump that are susceptible to CD, even his supporters can have it too!! Its a feature of every humans' psychology, not just those you dont like. Just because Trump won doesn't make those who support him immune to CD. Looking far and wide for ways to excuse Trump for his numerous flaws as the leader of the free world takes a real healthy dose of CD as well.

lastgreek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lastgreek said...

If he didn't he would have been impeached, and Dems controlled Congress at the time.

That, Tom, and certain conviction, otherwise he would have probably stuck it out. Nixon was a dick (like the pun?) but no quitter.

As for the Orange Fuzz in the WH? Well, he's the proverbial rat on a sinking fish. Only reason he hasn't quit in disgrace is because -- lucky bastard -- the stock market and economy haven't tanked... yet.

So he resigned "for the good of the country."

But lousy for the environment since every president after Nixon has been undoing the EPA ;)

lastgreek said...

"ship", not "fish" for impeachment's sake!

Matt Franko said...

Greg this whole thing is a cognitive issue... not a conspiracy theory as all of you guys think which is getting you nowhere...

Save that stuff for the Alex Jones channel.... instead shift focus to the actual science...

Matt Franko said...

Greek:

“the stock market and economy haven't tanked... yet.”

This is a tell for CD it’s the ole ‘unspecific doom forecast’ .... try to get over it...

Matt Franko said...

Greek you’re doing what the Evangelicals are always doing with their whole “end times!” schtick...

Govt modifies law to legally recognize same sex marriage... Evangelicals: “it’s gonna be the armageddon time soon!”

It’s textbook CD ‘unspecific doom forecast’. ...



Tom Hickey said...

Greg this whole thing is a cognitive issue... not a conspiracy theory as all of you guys think which is getting you nowhere...

There are individual and social components of behavior.

The cognitive-affective is chiefly individual and it is the basis of 18th century "natural law" liberalism that finds its apex in Austrian economics and Libertarianism (libertarianism of the right).

The opposite is that social influences are more important than individual ones and even that the collective not only supervenes but also supersedes.

Neither extreme are correct. Individuals are embedded socially and individual disposition inherited as constitution is influenced by social embeddedness right from the nipple.

Here is an interesting study that shows the influence of social embeddedness.

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test: Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids' capacity to delay gratification.

Another myth that is an assumption of conventional economics gets debunked.

Tom Hickey said...

“the stock market and economy haven't tanked... yet.”

This is a tell for CD it’s the ole ‘unspecific doom forecast’ .... try to get over it...


It can also be viewed as judgement that is affected by constitution rather than CD. Everyone falls somewhere along the range between extreme optimist and extreme pessimism. Studies have shown that those inclined to optimism do better overall than either those included to pessimism or that who are perfectly rational. It seems to be that they are more risk acceptant than risk avoidant and they also handle the stress that risk involves better — which is likely why they are more risk acceptant. Risk doesn't keep them up at night.

CD involves issues that can be overcome. Dispositional issues are extremely difficulty to alter psychologically. This is a reason that risk avoidant people that are forced to take on risk often self-medicate with substance abuse.