Friday, June 9, 2017

Brittmarie Janson Perez, What Was the Founding Fathers' True Legacy?

Brittie Perez has sent me another of her stellar statements about things happening in the world today, and I want to share it with all of you now. As you'll see, this is commentary about the implications of the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, focusing on what happened on 7 June with Dan Coates and Mike Rogers. Here's Brittie's essay:

At the end of the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearings on 7 June, having heard DNI director Dan Coates and NSA Director Mike Rogers refuse to answer questions, and observed complicitous smirks on the faces of FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, I was terrified. Admittedly, my reaction may have been excessive but I interpreted the hearing as a succesful assault by the Chief Executive on Congress.

During the day, various commentators noted that a sitting president cannot be tried for committing felonies. They noted that impeachment is a last resort as this determinatin is  "political," left up to Congress.

Late that night, Allan Dershowitz asserted over CNN that the Constitution gave Trump the power to direct the FBI to quash its investigation of Mike Flynn and certainly to fire Comey. To back up his assertion, Dershowitz pointed to President Bush's quashing of Caspar Weinberger with a pardon:

"That’s what President Bush did," Dershowitz said, citing the case of Caspar Weinberger. "You cannot have obstruction of justice when the president exercises his constitutional authority to pardon, his constitutional authority to fire the director of the FBI, or his constitutional authority to tell the director of the FBI who to prosecute and who not to prosecute." 

I ask: How much power does the Constitution truly give the Chief Executive? Is he really personally immune to any felony charges? During the campaign, he claimed that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and not lose any voters. Could he do that as president and still sit, a free man, in the White House?

Is the famous system of checks and balances a farce? Does the Constitution really permit the Chief Executive to commit all kinds of crimes, to manage at will the third branch of government, the Justice Department, by hiring and firing top echelons and quashing investigations at will? If so, that means that with the Constitution, the founding fathers did not endow us a structure of democracy, but a structure that can easily be converted into a dictatorship.

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