What Are The Rules In This Disaster?

For the second time this week I am using the word “disaster” to describe the Trump administration. I simply can’t think of a more accurate word to use. I am very concerned about both the current state and future of our nation. Please come along with me as I expand on that thought.

Recent reporting has cleared up some of the vetting confusion and in the process made it even worse than many has suspected. I, along with many others, assumed that the Trump administration simply wasn’t really doing any vetting. Leaked documents have established that in many cases vetting (albeit often sloppy) was done and the “red lights” were simply ignored.

Now Trump has never before run a large organization or one able to attract top talent but this is the United States Federal government he is dealing with. What happened to “only the best”? Apparently Trump can’t even attract the best in the top slots. (They say an organization is simply an extension of the boss.)

My hope for removal via the 25th Amendment has long passed. There are simply too many non-patriotic sycophants in Trump’s Cabinet. (Perhaps that is good – who wants President Pence anyway?) However, I do have two questions about how that would currently work. Do the acting Cabinet members get a vote? There are five of them by my last count. Since Mick Mulvaney is (as of this writing and rumors ignored) both the acting Chief of Staff and Office of Management and Budget Director does he get two votes? I can’t see this Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment but I’d like to know the rules.

With the Trump administration in full cover-up and defy mode will the Supreme Court end up defending the Constitution (their sworn and really only duty) and with it democracy? The Constitution set up three co-equal branches of government: the executive (the presidency and its direct reports), the legislative (Congress) and the judicial (with the Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter of disputes between the other two branches and interpreter of the Constitution).

Congress (initially via appropriate committees) has oversight duty over the executive branch. The Trump administration of late has practiced a zero access policy. They will simply not answer any questions, positively respond to any request or make any current or former personnel available to Congress. Sans information and witnesses how is Congress to do its constitutionally mandated job? Since they are co-equal branches it is reasonable to assume some limitations but how can zero access be reasonable? Normally the parameters are negotiated; I will offer that the Trump administration is a confrontational not normal administration. Therefore, reluctant that they understandably may be, the courts have a duty to step in.

With Neil Gorsuch sitting in a purloined seat thanks to Mitch McConnell, Jim DeMint and Donald Trump (in that order) and Brett Kavanaugh having successfully lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee for at least the second time joining him many Americans understandably lack confidence in the Court especially with both perceived to be beholden to Trump.

Speaking of the current federal justice system I’d like to focus attention on the Attorney General for a moment. Bill Barr is acting like Trump’s lawyer not America’s top justice official and is influencing the Justice Department’s actions to favor and cover for Trump. Most Americans currently think appealing to Barr’s Justice Department is an exercise in futility. By my quick count there are six current Cabinet members who have acted in contempt of Congress, lied to it, are obviously corrupt or some combination of the three. Forget about Trump (and probably Pence) for a moment; that means at least six others in Trump’s inner circle have committed at least one impeachable offense.

Is it any wonder that many Americans no longer trust their government to do the right thing? Is this part of Putin’s plan to destroy democracy by promoting apathy toward voting and mistrust of government? We are rapidly approaching a point where the question will soon no longer be what are the rules and descend to are there any rules anymore.

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