America’s worst and most corrupt president, Donald John Trump, is getting away with more and more flagrant criminal and unethical acts by packing the White House with equally corrupt and contemptible aides.
His latest unindicted co-conspirator is Attorney General William Barr, who continues to sell out the nation, the law and the Constitution. His latest high crime? Moving to drop charges against former National Security Michael Flynn, who lied to Congress and then pled guilty to it — twice!
“Mr. Barr is abusing his power not to write, but to erase, some of the most important lessons of American history,” editorialized The New York Times.
The nation had seen firsthand how much harm a president with no respect for the rule of law could do — particularly when he used the Justice Department, under a compliant attorney general, to protect allies, punish adversaries and cover up wrongdoing.
Among the key reforms were stronger transparency and ethics rules, like the creation of independent inspectors general to root out waste, fraud, and abuse in the executive branch. (Mr. Trump has been firing inspectors general he thinks are not loyal to him.) There were also new limits on presidential power, like the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act. (President Trump broke that law last year, according to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, when he withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.)
Barr is attempting to roll back the reforms of the Watergate scandal. Those reformed sought to ensure that the Justice Department was taking actions based on law, not politics. He wants Trump to be a king, not a president.
If you’re having trouble distinguishing Mr. Barr’s vision of the presidency from the rule of a king, you’re not alone. “George III would have loved it,” said Douglas Kmiec, who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
“Bill Barr’s America is not a place that anyone, including Trump voters, should want to go,” wrote Donald Ayer, who served as deputy attorney general under the first President Bush. “It is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen.”
Both men gave those quotes to the Times, which adds:
Bill Barr’s America is the one we’re now living in. The Justice Department, in the midst of a presidential campaign, has become a political weapon.
Today’s Republicans, who could be most effective in defending the integrity of American justice, appear either too afraid of Mr. Trump or too eager for short-term partisan advantage to confront the danger to the country.
Mr. Barr’s decision to drop the charges against Mr. Flynn may be his most egregious abandonment of his role as the public’s lawyer, but it’s certainly not the first. Last year, barely a month after he was confirmed to his post, he stood before the American people and misrepresented the contents of the long-awaited report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in 2016.
To put this bluntly, Barr is violating his oath of office to serve the country and abandoned that oath to serve only Trump and his perversion of a president’s role and responsibilities.
Maureen Dowd, who I had the pleasure of encountering more than one during my 23 years working both within the political system of Washington, DC, and covering as a journalist, notes Trump’s latest threats to the nation in a column that notes “The world’s greater con artist has finally come up against a foe he can’t fool.”
“Trump is like a vampire!” Axelrod told me, adding a salty expletive. “You’ve got to drive a stake right through his heart. He’s going to keep coming. There’s nothing he won’t do. Even in this environment, you can’t count on him losing.”
Now the monstrous virus has invaded the Oval Office. Both the president’s valet and a Pence staffer, Katie Miller, the wife of the racist Stephen Miller, who looks like he hasn’t seen daylight in decades, have succumbed. Yet just a few days ago Axios reported that the president and some top aides were questioning the high death toll.
Trump has always been fixated on numbers and perfectly willing to fake them — his billions, his inaugural crowd, even the number of stories in Trump Tower — and he knows the number of dead, now surpassing 77,500, could be the death knell of his campaign.
So he is despicably turning the dead into the undead, trying to figure out how to claim they weren’t lost.
His talent as an escape artist has run out because he’s up against an even more amoral, vicious enemy. Microbes don’t give a damn about Trump’s fake narrative and suppression of the facts.
Geoge Conway II, who left the Republican party after Trump became their nominee and president, and who still hangs in there as the husband of Kellyanne Conway, senior advisor to Trump, says Trump is about to get another lesson from the Supreme Court, even with his efforts to stack the deck:
Coway wrote an OpEd 26 years ago when Bill Clinton, another tail-chasing and lying president, tried to claim immunity in having to respond to Paula Jone’s sexual harassment suit.
“A President should be treated like any private citizen,” he wrote. “The rule of law requires no more — and no less.” The Supreme Court agreed, unanimously, and Clinton had to face justice.
“Far from being above the laws, he is amenable to them in his private character as a citizen, and in his public character by impeachment,” the Supremes said.
I couldn’t have imagined then that another president would challenge that proposition. Then again, I couldn’t have imagined President Donald Trump.
But here we are. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear telephonic arguments in three cases addressing whether Trump can keep his tax and financial information from being disclosed, whether from Congress or criminal prosecutors. In Trump v. Vance, which involves a New York state grand jury investigation, Trump’s lawyers argue that, even when it comes to purely private conduct, the presidency insulates him from the legal process.
The case arises from a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, and it seems there’s plenty worth examining: whether, as suggested by extensive reporting in this newspaper and other outlets, Trump’s businesses may have dodged taxes. And whether Trump’s hush-money payments, made through his lawyer Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, violated state law. (Cohen pleaded guilty to federal crimes arising from those payments, which the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said were made “at the direction of Individual-1” — Trump.)
The state grand jury subpoenaed the Trump Organization and Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, seeking tax returns and financial records. Trump sued to block the subpoena to Mazars — on the ground that he’s president. The lower federal courts rejected his pleas, and now he’s in the Supreme Court. Where he will lose — or should.
To say Trump’s argument is frivolous demeans frivolity. Clinton v. Jones dictates the result: The subpoenaed documents have nothing to do with Trump’s presidential duties — zip. That alone does it.
But Trump’s case is even weaker than Clinton’s. At least Clinton was being sued personally. He ultimately had to give evidence himself, which he did (infamously) at a deposition. But because the suit had nothing to do with presidential duties, the Supreme Court said it could proceed.
The subpoenas have been directed at his company and his accountants. They don’t require his time or attention.
Trump’s position stupefies. In essence: Authorities can’t investigate anything touching his personal affairs — including, ahem, payments to pornographic actresses — because he’s president. Think of the logic: Not only does the president enjoy a personal constitutional immunity — his businesses do, too.
The Protect Democracy Project has filed an amicus curiae brief in the case and is joined by Conway and 36 other true conservatives. They clearly state: “The Constitution is concerned with the supremacy of federal law, not the supremacy of federal officials.”
“Likewise, the Constitution is concerned with protecting the presidency, not the person who happens to be the president,” Conway adds. “That’s because no one in this country is above the law. The Supreme Court is now called upon to teach that lesson once again — even if Trump will likely never learn it.”
The only lesson that will get through to the most corrupt, immoral, and unethical president in American history is a swift, brutal removal from office by whatever means is necessary under what still exists of the laws of the United States of America.
The same fate should come to Barr and Trump’s other criminal co-conspirators.
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