In an interview with The New York Times this week, the President of the United States “ventilated” the hypothesis (surely as a trial balloon recommended by his lawyers) to stop the investigation led by the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, and maybe compel the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the Special Prosecutor. Likewise, it was learned on the same day that Trump’s lawyers, under his command, were investigating whether the President has powers to pardon himself and members of his Administration and family from any criminal procedures.
All this at the same time it was made public that Donald Trump Jr agreed to attend a meeting with someone associated with the Russian government, and with an e-mail exchange where the “subject of the message” was … Russia – Clinton – Private and Confidential ” !!
Jr’s answer? “(…)if it’s what you say I love it especially late in the summer.”
This exchange of emails is admissible in court as an attempt to collude with an opposing country, as well as being a criminal case for disregarding rules for funding political campaigns.
Then there’s the “wonder boy.” Jared Kushner. President’s Senior Advisor, and the White House’s most influential person, it’s the third time he has to revise the SF-86 Form, which is mandatory to have security clearance for Presidential daily briefings , where the most important and vital secrets of the United States are presented to the upper echelon of the President’s advisers. Failure to honestly answer questions on the form is considered a crime. And it’s already the third time that changes were made! The first was because of contacts with Russians to establish a communication channel … without knowledge of the American information and security agencies (!!), and the second when the “wonder boy” forgot to report a meeting with the director of a Russian bank … who was indicted in the United States for money laundering.
In the last review, Jared added (because he had forgotten) that he had met with 100 other foreign agents from to those already reported. Even Ivanka, the “Princess of the Trump Court”, can be indicted for the same crime, since in SF-86 she was asked if a family member had contacts with foreign agents. Kushner did not report her own, Ivanka did not report her husband’s.
Thus, it is easy to see why the President of the United States wants the investigation into the links between Russia and the Trump Administration to disappear (not to mention that Bob Mueller is looking at the economic ties between Trump and Russian oligarchs) and has entered into “despair mode” to find a way out to the hole where he is buried.
What does it mean that if Trump “moves a mountain” and get rid of the Special Prosecutor, could be then that Congressional and Senate Republicans get shamed to threaten an Impeachment process?
Unfortunately, the leadership in both chambers, and even the behavior of the overwhelming majority of Republican Representatives and Senators, is “meh …”.
Mitch McConnell in the Senate, and Paul Ryan in the House of Representatives know that Trump is inadequate for the job, but they will not do anything that looks confrontational to the White House.
The idea that the President may be a Russian agent (or at least compromised by a foreign enemy), or that the Russians may have altered the American electoral process, or that there are conflicts of interest of Trump and the Presidency, should be an affront to Any American, especially to those with governmental responsibilities. However, the Republicans have shown a total disrespect for the American Constitution, and for the vows they made to protect it, and to defend the American people, not their party and the President. The President cannot be above the law, and it should not be acceptable, as it was with Richard Nixon, that an investigation into an attack on the United States, and possible collaborators in America, is suppressed or even terminated.
However, it seems we are on the way to a constitutional crisis that has not been seen since Watergate. If Trump gives instructions to the DOJ to fire Mueller, there is a simple solution: Republicans in Congress will have to pass a law to reinstate Mueller, or they can threaten Impeachment Articles if the President moves forward with that intent.
Ryan and McConnel will not do that. Because they are cowards and cynics. They are afraid to use their powers because they are afraid of facing the mob that voted for Trump, and that continues to support him. They are afraid of losing their seats to a new “wave” of voters, like it happened with the Tea Party. Instead of using the Constitution to restrain the President, they do nothing, because they also want a puppet in the White House who signs laws (fortunately six months have passed an no major legislation signed) where the poor are penalized, and tax cuts are made for the (very) rich.
And by the way things are going, it does not look like we can wait for 2019 (new Congress and Senate) to finally get down to the bottom of these issues. So the only thing we can do right now is to expect the Republicans finally put Country over Party and do the right thing.
(This Op-Ed is from the responsability of Ricardo Silvestre)