Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trump's Mobilization for War Against the Rule of Law

Many Trump supporters say they voted for Trump because they wanted him to "blow up the system." They believed that part of that agenda would be punishing "those people" - blacks, Hispanics, gays, non-Christians, and non-whites generally - so that they could regain the privilege they saw themselves losing.  Never mind that some of their lost privilege tied directly to their own bad choices and lack of initiative and personal responsibility.  Never factored into the mix was the reality that Trump wanted to destroy the legal system and the checks and balances written into the United States Constitution and make himself above the rule of law.  One need only look to Nazi Germany, Chile under Pinocet, or Putin's Russia to see where that will lead.  A piece in New York Magazine looks at Trump's coming attempt to destroy the rule of law:
The legal conflict between Donald Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is escalating rapidly. New reports in the Washington Post and New York Times are clear signals that Trump is contemplating steps — firing Mueller or issuing mass pardons — that would seem to go beyond the pale. Except: Trump’s entire career is beyond the pale and, in his time on the political stage, the unthinkable has become thinkable with regularity.
Trump’s actions are best understood in the context of the overwhelming likelihood he, his family members, and at least some of his associates are guilty of serious crimes. The investigation might not produce proof of criminal collusion with Russia’s illegal hacking of Democratic emails. (Though reasonable grounds for suspicion already exists in abundance.)
Where Mueller seems to be creating special pain for Trump is in his investigation of financial links between Russia, Trump, and other members of the president’s inner circle. . . . Trump is “especially disturbed” that Mueller will access his tax returns. Trump’s lawyers have stated explicitly what Trump hinted at in the interview: He regards an expanding of the probe as a red line that might cause him to fire Mueller. . . . . They are specifically holding up Trump’s financial dealings with Russians as out of bounds: “They’re talking about real estate transactions in Palm Beach several years ago,” Sekulow tells the Post. “In our view, this is far outside the scope of a legitimate investigation.”
The Palm Beach transaction is a source of longtime suspicion. Trump purchased a property for $41 million and then, after improving it, sold it just two years later to a Russian oligarch for more than twice as much. This is a completely natural area for investigation. If the Kremlin wanted to finance Trump, overpaying for a property would be an obvious way to do so.
Why has Trump adamantly refused to disclose his tax returns, even at a significant cost to himself? And why does he appear to be so terrified at Mueller looking under these rocks? The simplest explanation is that he is probably hiding something deeply incriminating.
Trump has shown himself immune to widespread warnings that certain steps are simply not done. His hiding of tax returns, firing of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (who was investigating Russian financial crimes when he was let go), and ousting of FBI director James Comey were all steps that would seem to immolate his career. Ordering the Department of Justice to fire Mueller, or pardoning the targets of his investigations, would be an open announcement that Trump considers his financial ties to the Russian underworld and state to be beyond any legal accountability. The ominous threats emanating from the White House are that of an administration mobilizing for war against the rule of law.
Of course, once the rule of law is dead, many Trump supporters could well find themselves losing rights along with the people they view as "those people."  Trump's only real concern is for himself and to a lesser extent his family.  The rest of us - including those stupid and/or bigoted enough to have voted for Trump - simply do not matter.

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