Jimmy Carter Questions Trump’s Legitimacy as President

Former President Jimmy Carter called into question Donald Trump’s legitimacy as president during a panel discussion hosted by the Carter Center on Friday.  

Carter’s comments followed shortly after Trump, in Japan for the G20 Summit, wagged his finger at Vladimir Putin on camera, appearing to ridicule the idea of the threat of Russian interference in the US presidential election.

“I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016,” said Carter. “He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.”

Carter was then asked whether this meant that he believed Donald Trump was an illegitimate president. He responded, ““Based on what I just said, which I can’t retract.”

We’ve become used to Trump’s denigrating anyone who disagrees with him or who exposes a fault or a lie of his. Trump frequently calls into question the legitimacy of even those public figures who are known for their uprightness (Robert Mueller and James Comey come immediately to mind). His intent frequently appears to be to cast doubt on the integrity or stability of the person.

But it’s unusual, if not unheard of, for a former U.S. president to so directly and sharply criticize a current president.

Inae Oh of Mother Jones noted, “The extraordinary comments marked some of the harshest language a former US president has ever directed at a sitting president.”

Though there is evidence that Russian interference did take place, we should remember that no proof was found that the Russians directly manipulated votes to ensure Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. On the other hand, many Trump supporters, and Trump himself, continue to argue that Russia had no influence on the election, and that is hardly plausible.

What is important to remember is that we don’t know for certain if Russian interference actually did cause the election outcome. Though Jimmy Carter’s comments may resonate, we can only consider what’s been proven when we go about citing  evidence of illegitimacy.

We may never know for sure the magnitude of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Even if we put the issue of Russian interference aside, though, we should still consider that Trump won the 2016 election based on the number of electoral votes, not the number of popular votes. Though that legally made him president, perhaps we should start questioning the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency by questioning the integrity of how that institution works today.

Bongino talks Trump’s invitation to Kim Jong Un, Jimmy Carter ‘legitimacy’ comment | Fox News [2019-06-29]

Former Pres. Jimmy Carter calls President Trump an “Illegitimate President” (C-SPAN) | [2019-06-28]

Democrats Probe into Trump Focuses on Abuse of Power

House Democrats have launched a sweeping probe into Donald Trump, related to alleged corruption, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power. Jerrold Nadler, House Judiciary Committee Chair, has requested documents from 81 sources, including the Trump family, the Trump Organization, Trump business associates, and current and former White House staff members. The Democrats’ probe could be an important step toward impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Nadler is head of the panel that would be responsible for any impeachment efforts against the president. Nadler cautioned, however, that now is not the time to consider impeachment. Instead, he said, Congress should focus on Trump’s abuses of power.

Among Trump’s actions that will be investigated for abuse of power are his attacks on federal judges and on the media, as well as his hints at offering pardons for people who might be witnesses against him. Some of the allegations against Trump, including campaign finance violations, are supported by the testimony of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer.

Nadler told ABC’s This Week that the Democrats’ probe into Trump is an effort to “lay out for the American people” the extent of Trump’s malfeasance. “We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record,” Nadler said.

He also pointed out that, though Robert Mueller has been investigating Trump, Mueller’s investigation is focused on the Trump’s purported collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign and does not address Trump’s other alleged offenses and gross abuses of power. “We have to focus much more broadly on abuses of power,” Nadler said.

Trump responded to news of the Democrats’ probe in his classic mode: “So now they go and morph into, let’s inspect every deal he’s ever done,” “These people are sick. They’re sick.” He went on to call House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) “Little Shifty Schiff.”

Trump went on: “You put the wrong people in a couple of positions…And they leave people for a long time that shouldn’t be there and all of a sudden they are trying to take you out with bullshit, okay?”

Even if the Democrats’ probe into Donald Trump uncovers and establishes a pattern of criminal behavior and power abuse, will it make a difference, or will it simply make Trump more of a victimized hero to his base?

Democrats announce a broad probe into President Trump | CNN [2019-03-04]

House Democrats expand corruption probe into President Trump |
Fox News [2019-03-04]