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Robert Reich: We’re Living A Constitutional Crisis – OpEd

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I keep hearing that if Trump fires Mueller, we’ll face a “constitutional crisis.” Or if Mueller subpoenas Trump to testify and Trump defies the subpoena, it’s a “constitutional crisis”. Or if Mueller delivers substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or of obstructing justice, and the House does nothing to impeach him, we have a “constitutional crisis.”

Well, I have news for you. We’re already in a “constitutional crisis.”

You see, the Constitution is a tiny document. It requires that presidents and others in positions of power be bound by norms, unwritten rules, and long-established understandings of their constitutional responsibilities.

Yet look at what’s happened since January 2017:

Trump fires the head of the FBI and conjures up a plot that the FBI installed a spy in his campaign; blames the entire Mueller investigation on a conspiratorial “deep state” that’s out to remove him from office; uses pardons to demonstrate to people already under investigation that they don’t need to cooperate because he can pardon them, too; and asserts that the appointment of the special counsel was unconstitutional, and that he has the power under the Constitution to end the investigation whenever he wants.

He initially denies that Russia intruded in the 2016 election, when all America’s intelligence agencies show it has; and even now asserts that they are not continuing to mount a cyberattack on America, when his intelligence chiefs say otherwise.

Beyond this, he berates judges who disagree with him, and journalists and news organizations that criticize him; uses the presidency like a personal fiefdom to enrich himself and his family; unilaterally breaks treaties, starts trade wars with long-standing allies, and cozies up to some of the most murderous dictators in the world; treats Americans who didn’t vote for him and disapprove of him as his enemies; and tweets and holds rallies with his followers that fuel division and hate.

There is no exact definition of a constitutional crisis. Presumably it’s when the United States Constitution is in crisis. And it is in crisis now, today, because the president of the United States is abusing it to entrench his power.

As long as he can get away with it, as long as Republicans who control Congress won’t stand up to him, as long as Americans who oppose this have no capacity to stop him, even though they may be in the majority, this rogue president will do more and more damage to our system of government. And the constitutional crisis will worsen.

A malignant megalomaniac facing no countervailing power will continue to expand his terrain until he is stopped.

The best response is to vote for a Congress this November that will constrain him. And then, in November 2020, vote him and his regime out of office.

If he refuses to accept the results of that election – as he threatened to do if he lost the 2016 election – he must be removed from office.


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Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

One thought on “Robert Reich: We’re Living A Constitutional Crisis – OpEd

  • July 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm
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    No kidding! Robbie, lad, you are absolutely correct, there is a Constitutional Crisis. It began the minute Mr. Rosenstein signed the fourth attempt at having the FISA Court examine, not Trump but an individual loosely affiliated with him. Using a bogus document, the so-called ‘dossier’ manufactured from innuendo and conjecture for the Clinton organization, a criminally motivated goose chase began. It continues even now, running around in circles, impaling anyone near the Trump campaign. In its course it has intimidated into ‘confessions’ or driven to the brink of bankruptcy innocent individuals defending themselves from legal hell by Mueller’s Dummycrap Gestapo.
    The Constitutional Crisis you so joyfully announce is here and will remain here until sobriety takes over and the entire politically motivated witch hunt is called off. Only then can normalcy return to the country. Lacking that, the nation is divided into left and right factions, both fueled by the Dummycrap Party in an emotional fury of revenge for having lost an election.

    Reply

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