Abuse of Power Donald Trump Elections

Barr Hatches Plan That Would Make Trump Immune From All Congressional Oversight

With it becoming increasingly clear that Donald Trump cannot manage to stay out of legal and political trouble as a result of his many questionable business dealings and attempts to extort foreign countries to investigate his opponents, Attorney General William Barr has devised a plan for using the federal courts to make Trump immune from all oversight, according to an eye-opening article from The New Yorker.

The current AG operates from the point of view that a U.S. president has absolute power that cannot be questioned or challenged, which is something that Trump himself has suggested repeatedly over the past three years in office:

“Barr maintains that Article II of the Constitution gives a President control of all executive-branch agencies, without restriction. In practice, this means that Trump would be within his rights to oversee an investigation into his own misconduct.”

So if the FBI wanted to investigate Trump or a member of his family for any crime whatsoever, Barr would be willing to let the president limit or shut down that investigation on a whim.

But would the courts allow such a radical view of the Constitution to take hold and be applied? That depends on who you ask.

Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare doubts any federal judge or panel of judges would sign off on such a radical perversion of checks and balances:

“The idea that the President gets to assert executive privilege over material that has already been made public is laughable. I think they are very likely to lose a lot of this.”

However, former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, who served in the administration of George W. Bush, is of the opinion that the current Supreme Court, which leans to the right, might just go along with such an expansive view of presidential power:

“The ultimate question is what happens when these reach the Supreme Court, which has two Trump appointees. There is a real danger that (Barr) succeeds … This, I believe, was his opportunity — the opportunity of a lifetime — to make major progress on advancing his vision of an all-powerful Chief Executive.”

Barr’s plan to make President Trump able to do as he pleases without any explanation or oversight will certainly be accelerated if Trump is reelected, according to NYU Law professor Stephen Gillers, who says Barr’s efforts are already well underway:

“The Congress needs information to do its job, and the President has frozen it out — especially in the impeachment investigation. Another check is the media, and the President’s use of the term ‘fake news’ can cause people to lose faith in the media. What remains are the courts, which are slow and cumbersome.”

A president who is allowed to rule without any restrictions or oversight on his actions is no longer a servant of the people or the nation. He is, instead, a dictator.

Crime The Trump Adminstration

Trump’s Obstruction Of Congress Fails As Top White House Aide Agrees To Testify

For the most part, Donald Trump’s obstruction of Congress has been going as he expected: A committee subpoenas a witness or requests documents and he claims executive privilege or — as he began doing just last week — claims that anyone who worked for the administration has “executive immunity,” meaning they don’t have to show up to testify.

Executive immunity, it should be noted, is total bullshit, as Daily Kos noted just last week when the issue came up:

“‘It’s important to distinguish between executive immunity and executive privilege,’ former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade explained on an episode of the podcast Talking Feds. McQuade recalled that George W. Bush’s White House tried to claim executive immunity to block his former White House Counsel, Harriet Miers, from having to testify about a scandal involving the mass firing of U.S. Attorneys. As McQuade noted, that argument tanked in court, with a federal judge ruling that top aides to Bush weren’t immune from congressional subpoenas.”

And now we have Annie Donaldson, the former chief of staff for Don McGahn, who was Trump’s White House counsel until October of last year, seeing through the administration’s lies and agreeing to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee. Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) announced Monday that Donaldson will indeed agree to testify:

“Ms. Donaldson had a front row seat to many of the instances outlined in the Mueller Report dealing with President Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice and other abuses of power, which is why she is a key witness for the committee in our ongoing work to hold the president, his associates, and members of his administration accountable.”

Donaldson, who is pregnant and currently living in Alabama, will initially submit written responses to questions from the judiciary committee, and then personally appear in November, after her child is born.

Make no mistake, Donaldson could indeed be a key witness for congressional investigators, as she has first-hand knowledge of whether or not the president committed obstruction of justice and other crimes, all of which could well rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Just Security recently called Donaldson a “prized witness” for Congress, adding:

“Donaldson knows as much about Trump’s campaign against the Special Counsel as anyone, and in some ways, she is more poised than either Mueller or McGahn to shed new light on the President’s misconduct. The Office of the Special Counsel cited her notes and testimony nearly 70 times in its report, despite her removed role in the key events the Special Counsel examined. Donaldson’s appearance in the report shows how critical her testimony may be to a determination of whether the President abused his powers.”

Remember the name Annie Donaldson. When the history books are written, she — much like John Dean in the Nixon administration — may well be the one person who winds up bringing a premature end to a corrupt and criminal president’s time in office.