America has to thank Donald J. Trump for exposing a serious governance flaw which needs to be immediately addressed by the U.S. Congress and all political parties.
That flaw is that currently, certain legal interpretations are essentially, “whatever the President does is legal.” This interpretation of current law and the U.S. Constitution was first stated during the Nixon Administration in 1973. Former President Richard M. Nixon said, “WHEN THE PRESIDENT DOES IT, IT IS NOT ILLEGAL.” This statement is attributed to former President Nixon just after that Watergate incident. (Source: NPR, 05.14.17). The Watergate burglary ordered by President Nixon was that he ended up resigning to avoid certain impeachment by the U.S. Congress.
The Founding Fathers of America’s U.S. Constitution were very concerned about the concentration of ‘governing power’ which led to the creation of a system of checks and balances between the U.S. Congress, the Judiciary (U.S. Supreme Court), and the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, headed by the ‘Office of the President’.
Presently, there are no effective measures which amount to checks and balances on the President of the United States. Up to now, all has relied on the level of conformance to morality and ethics practiced by the individual elected to the Presidency. Donald J. Trump knows that whatever the President does is not illegal, because this loophole has never been ‘plugged’ by appropriately enacted laws and their standards or regulations.
HE KNEW HE WAS NOT VIOLATING ANY LAW WHEN HE REFUSED TO REVEAL HIS FINANCIAL AFFAIRS; WHEN HE APPOINTED FAMILY MEMBERS TO WHITE HOUSE POSITIONS (THIS IS NEPOTISM); WHEN HE RECEIVED AND ENTERTAINED FOREIGN DIGNITARIES AT HIS HOTELS OR GOLF RESORT FACILITIES. Allegedly foreign dignitaries are staying at Trump hotel and resort properties in order to curry favor.
Trump has allegedly profited from all these personal practices which are not prohibited by existing law and regulatory standards. ‘We, The People’, will end up paying for all of these actions which end up putting money, business permits and licenses, and ‘prior privileged access to information’ when his family members or loyal cronies are invited by this President to be present at meetings, state dinners, and other state events where public policy decisions are being discussed. Having this advanced knowledge and information often provides an opportunity to reduce business risks and to realize profitable business sequelae.
Today the Democratic Party is in the minority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The U.S. Supreme Court currently has five justices who are pro-conservative and this judiciary check & balance only works when a legal case works its way through the federal court systems all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court for adjudication. Simply stated, the conservative Republican Party controls and influences all three arms of the present U.S. federal government: the White House, the U.S. Congress, and the Judiciary. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress allegedly has been grid-locked by special interest DARK MONEY. And every commercial enterprise exercises its right to be a corporate individual which speaks through its special interest lobbyists coupled with election campaign contributions.
As I wrote this opinion piece, the Anderson-Cooper 360 CNN program (05.15.17) reported ‘breaking news’ in the form of a Washington Post report alleging that President Trump, during his meeting with Russia’s Ambassador last week, revealed highly classified information which was not to be shared with anyone at any time nor any place.
May I suggest that Mr. Trump be oriented regarding the meaning of EMBARGOED? This journalism term conveys information which is not to be released to the public at all unless very specific criteria are met (date, time, ‘need to know’). Maybe American intelligence agencies need to use ’embargoed’ rather than ‘classified’ when divulging sensitive information to Mr. Trump. (My brother Guadalupe Morales served as a cryptologist during the Korean Conflict…He still will not divulge anything about his experiences as a cryptologist…even 65 years later!).
Reliable information is essential to anticipation and planning of national policy and the implementation of actions or responses. Expert professionals can reverse engineer any statement to learn sources and methods used. Wall Street knows all about this and prohibits insider trading for the same reasons.
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS DIRE SITUATION? ‘We, The People’ must be willing to pay attention and be committed to having laws enacted which prevent these sorts of ‘self-serving’ outcomes from ever again endangering this unique democracy.