Posted on NEO on June 6, 2018
The notion of fealty to the constitution has repeatedly led to disputes over free speech (cited in the First Amendment), and the possession of firearms (the subject of the Second Amendment), however recently it has inspired the creation of political formations devoted to ‘taking the country back’ to the time of its drafting.
Under America’s complicated system of ‘checks and balances’ between the three ‘co-equal branches of government’ questions of interpretation often arise. However the case of Donald Trump is unprecedented, in that his punishable offenses include both business dealings and possible ‘collusion’ with ‘foreign powers’. (An iron-clad US rule is that presidential candidates may not accept anything of value from foreigners, especially foreign governments!) However, as the investigation headed by the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller enters its second year, Trump’s personal life has been harnessed by a brilliant California lawyer who believes his case on behalf of a sex worker can prevent the president from finishing his term because it involves illicitly arranged payments. There are days when Stormy Daniels, as she is known, relegates ‘Russiagate’ to the back burner, to the chagrin of those determined to make war with Moscow.
As the year-long investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign lurches from one rocky shoal to another, daily revelations require the media to repeat old facts, such as the indictments of thirteen private Russian citizens and three Russian companies. Since the US cannot compel them to appear in US courts, and the Russian government requires more hard facts than it has received to agree to extradite them, the law’s only recourse is to intercept them when they land at American airports and harass them with questions, providing mini-headlines that allow the media to constantly rehash the entire story, even though surveys show that ‘Russiagate’ is low on voters’ list of priorities, behind health care, jobs, and trade.
As pundits argue over whether the Constitution allows a ‘sitting president’ to be indicted by the justice system; whether he can fire the special counsel who is investigating him; whether he can be compelled to testify and finally, if convicted in a court of law, whether he can actually pardon himself, Trump voters talk about taking the country back to the time when the Constitution was drafted, instead of finding a way to extricate itself from the situation it has enabled.