When Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, he threatened the very fabric of our democracy and the US Constitution.
By not producing his tax returns, and by retaining ownership of Mar-a-lago and the Trump DC hotel, Donald Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the US Constitution.
That clause provides that no federal officeholder may, absent express approval by Congress, accept “any present, Emolument,…of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” It is designed to ensure that federal officials, from the president on down, serve only the interest of the American public, and are not compromised by foreign influence. The emoluments clause is a categorical bar against a president receiving payments from foreign states. Trump blatant financial interest in properties frequented by foreign diplomats is a blatant violation of the Emolument clause.
When Trump fired James Comey, the Director of the FBI because Comey was investigating Trump, a Constitutional Crisis was the result.
Now, by demanding the release of the Nunes memo, Trump has once again triggered a Constitutional Crisis. The “Nunes memo” regarding government surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page in 2016 does not contradict the indictments against Paul Manafort or Rick Gates nor explain the plea agreements of Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, nor extinguish questions about the extent to which Russia interfered in the election—either in collusion with the Trump campaign or not. It does escalate the conflict underway between Trump and his partisans and the leaders of the American intelligence and law enforcement communities. This conflict began before Trump’s inauguration but now burns hotter than ever as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation inches closer to the president himself. In ordering the release of the Nunes memo, Trump has signaled his willingness to betray the national security community in favor of his own interest. Whether the facts in the memo are true or not, or whether they burn intelligence sources and methods, matters little in comparison to Trump’s egregious calculus of personal interest.
When a FISA Warrant was obtained in October 2016, and renewed three times, there was enough evidence to justify an investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
John McCain explained that “if we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”
McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Forces Committee, called on Trump and other elected officials to stop looking at special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation through “the warped lens of politics.” In a written statement released around the same time the memo was declassified, John McCain characterized the memo and its release as a “partisan sideshow.”
The memo alleges that the FBI abused its surveillance authority during an investigation into Carter Page, the President’s former foreign policy adviser. The triggering event was a 21 October 2016, foreign intelligence surveillance court (Fisa) warrant for electronic surveillance of Carter Page, an energy consultant and sometime Trump adviser who had been under FBI scrutiny since 2013. According to the Nunes memo, a dossier prepared by Christopher Steele and partly funded by the Clinton campaign was “an essential part” of the rationale for the warrant. We can quibble about what “an essential part” means. Especially since the FBI in an unprecedented Wednesday press release stated: “We have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” Unmentioned by Nunes were all the other documents that the FBI and the justice department presented to the Fisa court to justify eavesdropping on Page.
To Trumpian true believers, the Nunes memo proves that the FBI and the rest of the Deep State were conspiring to throw the election to Hillary. Of course, this omits the pesky detail that on 28 October 2016, the FBI director, James Comey, announced that he was reopening the Clinton email investigation based on what had been found on Anthony Weiner’s computer.
Guess which late October event had more effect on wavering 2016 voters: Comey’s dramatic public statement raising fresh doubts about the Democratic nominee or a secret warrant against a peripheral Trump adviser?
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CBS News on Friday that “if the president uses this fake, horrible release of distorted intelligence as an excuse to fire [acting attorney general Rod] Rosenstein or [special counsel Robert] Mueller, it could lead to a constitutional crisis.”
“He has abdicated his responsibilities as commander in chief to protect the American people by protecting our intelligence sources and the rest,” she said of Trump.
Pelosi also called House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes a “stooge for the president.”
“He should not be the chairman of the committee,” Pelosi said. Of the memo, she said: “It’s appalling. It’s a misrepresentation. It isn’t even the release of intelligence material. It’s a release of a distortion of it,” Pelosi said. “They’re not representing the facts to the American people, and yet the president has given it his imprimatur. This is unprecedented to the nth degree.”
How many Constitutional Crises can the country tolerate? How many times will we as a country tolerate the chaos created by Donald Trump? It is now an American issue, a constitutional issue, a rule of law issue. It is now a matter of survival of our government. We must no longer tolerate the repeated assaults on the US Constitution. It is no longer about conservative or liberal politics. It is about survival. The United States of America can’t afford another three years of Donald Trump as our President.