Wednesday, April 24, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He declared himself above the law.

Wrapping a bow around his many, many, many recent refusals to comply with Congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony from his staff, Trump declared today that he was "fighting all the subpoenas" because Democrats in Congress "aren't, like, impartial."

In reality, Congress has oversight authority over the executive branch.

Also today, Trump said in a tweet that if he were impeached, he would appeal to the Supreme Court. As most Americans learn in middle school civics classes, it doesn't work that way

All of this appears to be part of a strategy to run out the clock on any actual investigation in the courts, in the hopes of delaying things long enough for Trump to be re-elected. Presidents are immune from prosecution while in office under current DOJ policy, but Trump is likely to be indicted immediately after leaving office. This means that—except to the extent that Trump cares about the rule of law or patriotism—there is very little disincentive for him to ignore the law in the meantime.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • Presidents should care about the rule of law, because in a democracy they're subject to it.
  • It's bad if the president doesn't know how American government works.
  • It's very bad if the president knows, but doesn't care, how American government works.