You are here

If a Court Rules in Favor of Trump, Democracy Dies

Submitted by Robin Messing on Tue, 09/24/2019 - 6:32pm

The U.S. Justice Department's guidelines (and they are only guidelines--not law) prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting a sitting President-- These guidelines are not binding on charges leveled by state or local prosecutors. Rachel Maddow has made a very strong case that these guidelines are on shaky grounds, but so long as Trump is President no one will challenge those guidelines.




But these guidelines are not good enough for President Trump. Oh no. They are not nearly enough because they only protect the President from being prosecuted for federal crimes in federal court. They do not protect him from prosecution in state or local courts for breaking state law. And now Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has issued a subpoena to Trump's accountants, Mazars USA, to get past federal and state tax returns for Trump personally as well as for his company. It is only a misdemeanor in New York State if Individual One filed false campaign reports to hide his affair with Stormy Daniels, but this can be bumped up to a felony if the false reports that he filed were  also used to conceal another crime such as bank fraud or tax evasion.


And now Trump's lawyers are howling bloody murder in court over Vance's subpoena. The aggressiveness of their attempt to quash the subpoena is breathtaking. They are arguing that not only can't the President be prosecuted while he is still in office--THEY ARE ARGUING THAT HE CAN NOT EVEN BE INVESTIGATED. If the Court buys their argument then even the Mueller investigation would have been illegal.


If Trump's lawyers get their way in court, it would be the end of democracy as we know it. It would set the President up as a king--and if we wanted to be ruled by a king we would not have rebelled in 1776.  If the court rules in Trump's favor, he could order the assassination of every Democratic lawmaker--indeed ANYONE who supported his impeachment-- and there would not be a damn thing we could do about it. 


If Trump wins in court, then he could invite all sorts of foreign interference in our election to make sure he wins re-election. He could order his Republican cronies to stuff ballot boxes or flip votes electronically to make sure that only Republicans are elected . . .and there is not a damn thing we could do about it. Sure, we could prosecute the Republican cronies who helped, but Trump can pardon them on the federal level. States could prosecute those cronies as well--but would they actually be prosecuted if they commit their crimes in Republican-controlled states? 


Trump's lawyers argue that he would not be above the law if the Court rules their way because Congress could always impeach and remove him from office and then ihe could be indicted. This of course, assumes two things: 1) It assumes that enough Republican Senators are willing to put country over party or country over cultish devotion to the Presidentand honestly weigh the evidence against Trump and do the right thing. 2) It assumes that Trump and Putin don't have blackmail material on a large number of Republicans that would prevent them from voting for impeachment, no matter what.


When you rule that the President can not be criminally investigated or held accountable for his actions unless he is impeached you give the President a powerful incentive to dig up blackmail material or otherwise intimidate or bribe those who have the power to impeach him.


If Trump gets his way in Court, he--or an even more evil president down the line--could get away with ANYTHING, and the only recourse the people would have to stop him is through assassination. I know American democracy is not all that important to at least a fraction of Trump's supporters. They are authoritarian in nature and don't mind if our democratic institutions are threatened or if Trump breaks the law. But they should ask themselves--what happens if Trump gets his way and if the Democrats are somehow able to regain power in the future? The Republicans under an all-powerful President may stave off Democratic control for a long, long time, but given the changing demographics of our country the Republicans are unlikely to stay in power forever. If you support the President in his effort to be above the law, ask yourself this: Do you really want a Democratic President with the power of an absolute monarch? Do you want a Democratic President to have the power to seize your property in order to install solar farms and windmills? Or to order the IRS to selectively audit Republicans? Or to order hit squads against Republicans? You may get your jollies while Trump is above the law and is able to bully the libs, but what goes around eventually comes arround.