* Erik’s Editorial: The Guilty Parties Who Put American Democracy At Risk In The Name Of Donald Trump

US White House upside down (public domain).

I do not fault stupid people for making the stupid decision to elect Donald Trump in 2016.

I do fault smart people for making stupid decisions. These include:

1. Senators who voted to acquit Donald Trump in his no-witnesses-allowed impeachment trial, including primarily Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell:

* Impeachment of Donald Trump (2020-02-05)

* Mitch McConnell (2020-02-05)

2. Members of the GOP who voted to disenfranchise voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – before, during, and AFTER the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol – including Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jody Hice (R–GA-10), Mo Brooks (R–AL-05), Scott Perry (R–PA-10), Josh Hawley (R–MO), and Louie Gohmert (R–TX-01).

* 2021 Storming Of The United States Capitol (2021-01-06)

* 2020 United States Presidential Election Electoral College Count (2021-01-06 – 2021-01-07)

3. Donald Trump’s cabinet, who could have invoked the 25th Amendment to remove POTUS at any time:

* Cabinet Of Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

4. Social media, including especially Facebook and Twitter, for allowing their social networks to be used as platforms for hate speech.

* Donald Trump On Social Media (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

5. Mainstream media, including especially CNN (on the left) and Fox News (on the right) for not doing their jobs – asking questions until they get answers – and allowing POTUS to lie unchecked.

* Veracity Of Statements By Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

6. Lawmakers at all levels, for failing to fix bad laws and for failing to enact good laws. Changes that must be made going forward include:

Limiting POTUS power:

  • Executive order power must be limited.
  • All cabinet members (acting/interim/actual) must be confirmed by Senate.
  • Treaties and tariffs must be the role of Congress so that POTUS cannot engage in trade wars.
  • War Powers Act must be updated to limit POTUS power to deploy the military.
  • Special Counsel Act must be updated to make clear that POTUS cannot fire special counsel.

Writing better and new laws:

  • Impeachment Act of 2021, to define how impeachment is conducted, including the requirement to have witnesses.
  • Follow the lead of The Restatements Of The Law project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restatements_of_the_Law) and codify major SCOTUS cases, including especially Roe v. Wade.
  • Fix the Census.
  • Fix immigration.
  • Fix SCOTUS processes, such as limiting appointments to 2 per POTUS with the number of SCOTUS justices fixed at the number of Federal Circuits (currently 13).
  • Election reform, including who is qualified to run for POTUS and that tax forms must be disclosed to do so.

Just to name a few.

Stupid people, bad laws, and lies got us into this mess.

Smart people, good laws, and the truth can get us out of this mess.



William Barr: Obstruction is in the Eye of the Beholder

Attorney General William Barr has decided that Donald Trump should not be charged with obstruction of justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, based on Mueller’s report on the investigation. Shortly after Barr handed down a heavily redacted version of Mueller’s findings, a follow-up letter from Mueller to Barr came to light. The letter criticizes the way William Barr handled the public release of Mueller’s core findings in the Russia investigation.

In turn, Barr characterized Mueller’s letter as “snitty.”

“… I think it was probably written by one of his staff people,” said Barr about Mueller’s letter.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr stated that he asked Mueller if he had an issue with Barr’s summary of the report, and if Mueller felt Barr’s summary was accurate. According to Barr, Mueller said he didn’t have an issue with how Barr presented the summary.

“But he had an issue with how the press covered it,” said Barr. In other words, according to Barr, press reporting on Robert Mueller’s report had been inaccurate.

Barr has summed up Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in this way: Mueller found that there was no collusion with Russia on the part of Trump or the Trump family, and “therefore, how (could) Trump obstruct an investigation?”

This logic is only convincing if we pretend that both factors are dependent on each other. In making his decision that Trump didn’t obstruct justice by trying to curtail the Russia probe, Barr said he focused on how the president didn’t commit a crime with Russia and how “we now know that he was being falsely accused.”

But faulty logic aside, Barr’s chosen interpretation of Mueller’s report is that Mueller saw “no corrupt intent from Trump to obstruct Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” According to William Barr, Mueller reported that the U.S. government did not have a prosecutable case in Trump.

Barr seems to forget that Mueller also found that a number of White House staff members would have been guilty of obstruction of justice had they carried out various orders or requests from Trump along those lines. When asked by a member of the House Judiciary Committee whether Barr felt it was ok for a president to direct others to lie on his behalf, Barr declined to answer.

It is also important to consider that Mueller’s overall findings, though they showed no evidence of collusion with Russia on the part of Donald Trump, could be summarized more accurately in this way: “We can’t indict a sitting president, but there are enough things we found that we can’t clear him of.”

Barr was given the choice to indict or not to indict Trump on obstruction of justice charges, based Robert Mueller’s findings. Barr chose not to. William Barr appears to see the powers of the presidency as extending to the privilege of shutting down any investigation into the president if he thought he was falsely accused – and that this would somehow be different from obstruction of justice.

William Barr’s testimony reveals rift with Mueller over Russia probe | National Review [2019-05-03]

Graham to Mueller: Did Barr misrepresent your call? | CNN [2019-05-03]