Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Maybe the Republic will last long enough to learn from this

Three tweets within 24 hours denouncing the Axios story, and a part of Axios' response:

“Before publishing, we gave the White House full visibility on the key details of our story, and more than nine hours to deny or push back against our reporting.”

Just noting that's standard journalistic procedure. That story only detailed a rather silly suggestion by the President, one raised more than once, and one more than once ignored.   Now comes the Washington Post and reports on something far more lawless and dangerous:

President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

The strongest push-back to the article from the White House is in the article itself:

When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land,” according to officials who attended the meetings.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you,” he has told officials in meetings about the wall.

“He said people expected him to build a wall, and it had to be done by the election,” one former official said.

Asked for comment, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons.

Was he smiling?  Meanwhile, on the record the White House says:

Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday that the president is protecting the country with the addition of new border barriers.
Although the White House twitter feed did re-tweet Trump about the Axios story, there's been no response, affirming or denying, this WaPo story.  The demands for violations of the Constitution (5th Amendment guarantees "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”) violate his oath of office.  Reappropriating funds first appropriated by Congress likewise violates Article I of the Constitution.  And frankly, directing people to violate the law under protection of a promised pardon is a violation of the guarantees of due process and equal protection.  Although this also raises the problem of a system, any system, acting on behalf of the governed instead of at their direction:

It's an interesting Constitutional argument, that the House can "suspend" a President (without the 25th Amendment, although that Amendment undoubtedly changes the Constitutional analysis of Madison's argument).  That assertion alone would prompt a "Constitutional crisis" and throw the matter into the Supreme Court, which would probably apply the 25th Amendment as the now-Constitutional remedy for suspension of a President without a trial in the Senate.  So much, then, for Madison's assertion that "This is a great security."

The great security is never letting a lawless clown into the White House to begin with.  Short of that, there is no security, as the current situation illustrates. 

No comments:

Post a Comment