Friday, March 10, 2017

TRUMP WATCH #21: Did President Trump Just Commit his First Truly Impeachable Offense?

I know, I know, I’ve been promising to focus on issues, not on Trump, but I just don’t seem to be able to ignore the highly unusual (bizarre?) events related to the Trump-Russia connection. I had thought that my post “Are We in a Watergate Moment?” would act as a purgative, allowing me to move on to the issues, but then… over the weekend (March 3-4) Trump broke with his habit of calming down when at Mar-a-Lago and instead exploded at his staff, blaming them for his “defeat” over Jeff Sessions’ recusal and for the House Leadership Committee's mishandling of the ACA "repeal and replace” process. And then, over Twitter, Trump shockingly accused President Obama of tapping his (Trump’s) phones

So, here we go again; I just can’t ignore this serious and unprecedented accusation of a former President by a sitting-President.

I am not a constitutional lawyer, but Noah Feldman is; and his article in BloombergView
“Trump's Wiretap Tweets Raise Risk of Impeachment,” (3/6/17)  presents an interesting legal argument that Trump’s accusation that President Obama ordered Trump’s phones to be tapped could be grounds for his impeachment by Congress.

I suggest you read the article and “judge” for yourself; it could be that the Senate will eventually have to make the real judgement as to whether this time Trump (now as President) has gone too far in his wild and unsupported accusations.

Meanwhile, you might want to consider the deafening silence on this issue on the part of the White House since Trump’s initial Twitter explosions. Is it possible that the White House lawyers have advised his staff that although a sitting President may not be charged with crimes such as “false and defamatory speech” (except via Congressional impeachment proceedings), anyone else in the country (including presidential advisors) may be charged with such crimes?

Consider, too, the strange denial that presidential spokesman, Sean Spicer, was apparently told to read to the press (3/7/17): “There is no reason that we have to think the president is the target of any investigation whatsoever.”  As a NY Times article about this pointed out:
"Mr. Spicer’s statement, which he read from a sheet of paper that was handed to him at the end of his briefing, reinforced the conundrum Mr. Trump’s tweets have created for the White House: Either the president’s assertions are baseless, or he may have implicated himself in a government investigation of contacts between his presidential campaign and Russia."
  
Stay tuned.

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