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Mon Dec 18, 2017, 05:11 PM

Recipe for a Honking Constitutional Crisis

Lots of talk of late about whether or not Herr Trumpster will attempt to fire Mueller and his investigating team. Which is why I found the video of Norm Eisen of interest. You can find the vid on Susan Hennessey’s twitter site; she’s the executive editor of Lawfare. Norm Eisen is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute and specializes in . . . ethics. Twitter site here:

https://twitter.com/Susan_Hennessey

Eisen prefaces his comments about the long-held tradition (since the time of Grant) of presidential investigations requiring a special counsel to be one-step removed from the acting executive and someone outside the Administration.

The big question: does the Trumpster have the authority to directly fire Mueller? According to Eisen, the manner in which the statute for special counsel is written the answer is no. However, Trump could demand that Rod Rosenstein, acting deputy AG, fire Mueller. If he refused, the Donald could go down the line until he found someone to do the dirty deed. In Nixon’s time, this period of refusals and firings was referred to as the Saturday Massacre. Nixon went through several deputies until arriving at Robert Bork then Solicitor General of the United States, who agreed to fire Archibald Cox, special counsel investigating the Watergate affair.

The rest is history that most recall or have read about. I recall distinctly the phrase ‘Constitutional Crisis’ leading most newspaper headlines and TV News Hours at the time.

However, since Richard Nixon ultimately resigned before being impeached two questions remain open and unanswered;

Can a sitting president be indicted and if not,
What remedies does a special counsel have if he/she finds wrong-doing?

Apparently, we do not have definitive answers to these questions. Which opens us up to the question of what constitutes a Constitutional Crisis? 538 took a stab at this very question with 4 examples:

The Constitution doesn’t tell us what to do.
The Constitution’s meaning is in question (vague),
The Constitution tells us what to do but it’s not politically feasible or,
Our Institutions Themselves Fail.

Personally, I’m concerned about number 4, particularly with Trump deliberately dumping and casting doubt on all major institutions at the moment. The damage he’s exacting is real and could have long-lasting effects.

In any case, both pieces are interesting and informative viewing/reads, a preparatory course in what we might expect in the coming weeks/months.

Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory (Cervantes).

Even for the unfolding craziness.

You can read the full 538 piece here:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/constitutional-crisis/

6 replies, 1207 views

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Recipe for a Honking Constitutional Crisis (Original post)
peggysue2 Dec 2017 OP
Proud Liberal Dem Dec 2017 #1
peggysue2 Dec 2017 #3
Turbineguy Dec 2017 #6
Turbineguy Dec 2017 #2
peggysue2 Dec 2017 #4
unblock Dec 2017 #5

Response to peggysue2 (Original post)

Mon Dec 18, 2017, 05:23 PM

1. If we survive the Trump Presidency

We need a special commission appointed to figure out how to shore up the Constitutions/checks and balances in our Constitutional system and close some of the loopholes that have been used to damage how Congress and the Presidency function in the pursuit of political power. It is shockingly frightening how so much of how our government has been operating for decades through a series of seemingly unenforceable norms and traditions. Up until the last few years, politicians on both sides of the aisle have respected a series of norms and traditions but, bit by bit, piece by piece, many of these norms and traditions have been chipped away at, particularly by Trump rather aggressively just in the past year alone.

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Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 18, 2017, 05:51 PM

3. Absolutely agree!

In fact, just this morning I read a piece that stated how we're all beginning to realize that a good portion of our governance has relied on the 'honor system,' an assumption that the majority of men and women in government would adhere to the existing norms and traditions you mention above.

Clearly, that is not the case in the Age of Trumpism when a large swath of people have compromised themselves and the country itself with barely a hiccup.

It is frightening and it does comprise members on both sides of the aisle. We're being sorely tested as a Nation. Which is why I think we need to be prepared for what's coming down the pike. Then--assuming we survive this period of chaos and arson--we immediately shore up those loopholes, the open doors and windows that basically invite burglars in to steal the china and silverware, and then gleefully throw a match on their way out.

We're being taught a lesson the hard way: never underestimate the base instincts of small men acquiring a little power. They're sure to abuse it. Which is why the Rule of Law is so important. I fear we've taken our way of life and governance for granted for far too long. We cannot afford to do that in the future.

Hopefully, we survive, we learn and we stay awake.



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Response to peggysue2 (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 18, 2017, 08:12 PM

6. It's like the Romans

elected the Visigoths to run things.

Gee, what could go wrong?

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Response to peggysue2 (Original post)

Mon Dec 18, 2017, 05:30 PM

2. And Bork ended up paying the price

later, when he was nominated for the Supreme Court.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 18, 2017, 05:52 PM

4. He did, indeed!

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 18, 2017, 06:18 PM

5. well, this wasn't the only factor.

but it certainly didn't help his cause....

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