25 — Avoid Every Practicable Obstacle
Despite what people may think, the results of an election really do not control who becomes the President. In fact, our founders, especially Alexander Hamilton, believed very strongly in the notion that “we the people” probably couldn’t make that important of a decision on our own, and so they put into the Constitution a handbrake called the Electoral College. Now, we can debate the whole Electoral College thing at another time, the important thing about it now is that it has a Constitutional purpose and they ignored it. This year, more than any other year, Hamilton’s words in Federalist 68 could not have been more relevant:
“Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention… They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment…No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors…: (emphasis added)
So, we know the 2016 Electoral College blew that, seriously, almost to the letter. We have concrete intelligence of foreign influence. Take the hacking out of it and go on the “news” stories that were all over social media, many of those came from Russia too. No one had to hack anything to get those. The states that have penalties for “faithless electors” who penalize electors for voting against the popular vote in their state, go completely counter to its original intent. And there were several electors who should have been disqualified, including Pam Bondi, the Trump Foundation sponsored Attorney General of Florida who now has a job in the administration. But no one challenged it in Congress. No one tried to stop it and the results were certified. But now’s not the time to discuss getting rid of it (which as it just failed to follow its own purpose I think we may as well) but we don’t have to wait for the inevitable impeachment to save ourselves from this impending disaster.
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.” (emphasis added)
Read it again carefully. “Unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” It does not say WHY he would be unable, just that he “is unable”. They don’t even have to prove it, they just have to declare it. With that type of general provision we don’t need to wait to determine what specifically a “high crime” or “misdemeanor” is for impeachment. The question of ability rests with the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet or “such other body”. It would not matter if the majority of the cabinet was not installed at the time of the inauguration. Congress now has the power to approve the “such other body” which can provide the declaration to the President pro tempore of the Senate. That “such other body” should be a committee combined of the intelligence agencies.
The law to impanel the body could be passed quickly, provided the Republicans can manage to put country over party for a second. They have failed to stop him before, but after his behavior over the last week, there is more evidence (as if we needed any) of Trump’s utter unfitness for the job that goes beyond the simple fact that he doesn’t really know anything. The CIA must be chomping at the the bit to be able to do something to stop him, they know how dangerous he is. Congress can give them the power. Today.
By any definition, the man is delusional. It doesn’t matter what the facts and the evidence say, he’s going to believe what he wants to believe. It doesn’t matter what words are actually spoken to him on the phone, he’s going to hear what he wants to hear. In testimony this week several of his potential cabinet members have admitted that they disagree with Trump on several key elements that he ran on during his campaign. The Muslim ban will be opposed by the Attorney General. The Secretary of Defense will not support torture. But these men do not have the final say. They advise the President, but as we’ve all heard a million times, the last person in the room is the one who has the most effect. Who will that be, Flynn? The fake news guy who the Washington Post says was on the phone with Russia just in the last couple of weeks which could be found to be illegal both under the Logan Act (may be time to dust if off) and possibly the Espionage Act. Kushner? This kid? Another property baron who also happens to own a newspaper with no government experience? Ivanka? His daughter who tried to market her jewelry during 60 Minutes interview? These two are barely old enough to even be able to run for president and now they are going to be the closest advisors to a newbie government official? Really?
We are a week away from inaugurating someone who is obviously unstable. Who is obviously afraid of facts, too consumed with how he won and not bothered by how he’ll lead. He doesn’t understand the law and really believes that he is immune from any conflicts issues. He will, as I’ve seen in memes, swear on a book he does not read to uphold a document he does not understand.
Every member of Congress has sworn, and at about 11:50 a.m. next Friday Mike Pence will swear, to protect the Constitution against “…all enemies, foreign and domestic” without “mental reservation or purpose of evasion”. I submit that Trump is a domestic enemy. Buildings with his name splattered all over them are prime terrorist targets, and many of them he does not even own, and they are around the world. His insistence on staying in Trump tower makes another building in Manhattan a terror target. He doubts intelligence which means — well, who the hell knows what it means? He could either start a war over hurt feelings, or get us attacked because he doesn’t understand an actual threat. In any case, once again, the Constitution provides a safeguard to protect the American people.
I disagree profoundly with every single policy Pence supports, but he’s stable, and I’d much rather have as President someone with backwards ideas on civil rights issues (that can be blocked, or stopped, or fixed). We are in a post-policy place right now. Trump is clearly a person of sub-normal intelligence, with a lack of intellectual curiosity, who challenges his own intelligence professionals. He attacks our own media and trusts the word of a man who has been known to kill journalists. Donald Trump is a clear and present threat to our national security. He is threat to our very Constitutional values. He is a threat. He is a domestic enemy, and our Constitutional officers have a sworn duty to protect us from him.
We have already ignored the Hamiltonian principle of the Electoral College and its imposed obligations to the electors. We have already ignored the opportunity for Congress to challenge the vote, which they should have done after the intelligence report came out. Now, here we are again. The 25th Amendment does not require any illegal act of the President. It does not require a trial. It doesn’t even really need an act of Congress, other than in this case to designate a body by law to make the call before the cabinet is in place. If they do it now, and have President Obama sign it, it would not only be the greatest act of patriotism in our nation’s history, but a clear indication that our sworn Constitutional officers really intend to protect the Constitution above their own powers.
Donald Trump, that disgusting pig, with the intellect of a thumbtack, unless a miracle happens, is going to be inaugurated the 45th President of the United States next Friday. He will be in the same unique class of people as Washington, Adams, Lincoln, Roosevelt (both of them), Kennedy, and Obama. This man who doubted the very citizenship of our president within just the last year, will have “Hail to the Chief” played for him, while Barack Obama stands behind him. This is a national tragedy. What he represents for our future is bleak and sad. We are an absolute joke to the rest of the world, and we’re supposed to be the country that sets the example. By Congress designating our intelligence officials as a sufficient body who, along with the Vice President, shall relieve the President of his powers, they will be telling the rest of the world that we uphold our Constitutional values above all else, and are willing to to do so at great political risk, because we are America, and we shall not let this domestic enemy destroy us from within.
BTW…I know this won’t happen, but the point is, it should.