The list of the many things Trump has done, or failed to do, since becoming the President, that have had serious and potentially disastrous consequences for the country is astounding. Whatever you may think about his policies and approaches to governing, it’s hard to defend the damage he’s done to America’s standing in the world. Pulling out of the Paris Accord is obviously an act of treachery that will have permanent and devastating effects on the global environment.
However, as we pause to consider the Constitutional Crisis looming over America, it is clear that Trump is more concerned with elevating his personal status rather than acting in the best interest of the United States.
A “constitutional crisis” is a situation which a legal system’s constitution or other basic principle of operation appears unable to resolve. Most commonly, constitutional crises involve some degree of conflict between different branches of government (e.g., executive, legislature, and/or judiciary), or between different levels of government in a federal system (e.g., state and federal governments). The crisis may occur when a person willfully chooses to violate a provision of a constitution or an unwritten constitutional convention.
In the case of Donald Trump the looming “constitutional crisis” arises over the handling of the Russian investigation. Since the Trump administration is under investigation, and Trump himself is now under investigation, the need for respect of our laws is greater than ever. If the public is to believe in our system of government, we must have faith that the laws will be applied to everyone equally. “With Liberty and Justice for All” is a fundamental concept we learned when we said the Pledge of Allegiance in 1st grade. Since we were in First Grade, we believed that in America, our laws were applied uniformly whether you were the POTUS or a street person. Donald Trump is threatening the very fabric of our nation.
When Trump fired James Comey, the Director of the FBI, there was immediate concern that Trump was motivated by self-interest, rather than that of the country. Now Trump has called into question the future of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The uncertainty of his future role in the Russia investigation is particularly worrisome. Rosenstein is the highest ranking DOJ official with jurisdiction over the Russia investigation. On Friday, Trump excoriated him in an early morning tweet storm.
“I’m growing increasingly concerned that the president will attempt to fire not only Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible obstruction of justice, but also Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein who appointed Mueller,” she said, pointing to Trump’s most recent online screed. “The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired.”
If the president’s goal is ultimately to fire Mueller, which White House insiders have said he has repeatedly proposed, he would have to direct Rosenstein to lower the boom. Rosenstein told the Senate that he would not obey such an order unless he saw “good cause,” and he has not seen such cause. The president would have go deep into the DOJ’s chain of command in order to achieve that goal.
“You would have a long list of people that would have to get fired before you would find somebody willing to fire Mueller,” he said. “Anybody who fires Mueller is going to have ‘partisan hack’ written next to their name for the rest of their life. And DOJ is not a place where hacks go to work. It’s not a political place. I don’t know how he’s going to find someone to do it.”
However as the Russian investigation intensifies, it seems more obvious than ever that Trump is willing to do whatever is in his best interest, regardless of the damage to the confidence in government of the United States of its citizens.
If Donald Trump fires Mueller and/or Rosenstein then we will be in a constitutional crisis orchestrated by our President. If that happens, and however it is resolved, it will be undisputed that Donald Trump is responsible for creation of the crisis; he is not a patriot; he is like a festering wound that oozes more pus daily.