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Boardman writes: "Our current constitutional crisis began the moment Donald Trump was sworn in as president without resolving his unaddressed conflicts of interest around the globe. This failure put him into immediate, apparent violation of the Constitution's Article I, Section 9 'Emoluments Clause.'"

President Donald Trump celebrates after his speech during the presidential inauguration. (photo: Saul Loeb/AP)
President Donald Trump celebrates after his speech during the presidential inauguration. (photo: Saul Loeb/AP)

Trump Crashes on Take-Off

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

31 January 17


How long can the country survive in constitutional crisis?

es, we’re in a constitutional crisis. The crisis has many elements that arose during the first week of the Trump presidency. These include illegal enrichment, complicity in war crimes, and most spectacularly, the immigration attack on Muslims.

Our current constitutional crisis began the moment Donald Trump was sworn in as president without resolving his unaddressed conflicts of interest around the globe. This failure put him into immediate, apparent violation of the Constitution’s Article I, Section 9 “Emoluments Clause,” which states in part:

And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

On January 23 at 9 a.m., the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a 37-page complaint in the U.S. federal court for the Southern District of New York, asking the court to issue an injunction to prevent President Trump from further violation of the constitutional ban on receiving payments from foreign entities. This issue is new in constitutional jurisprudence, as no previous president has taken office with such extensive and unaddressed business dealings involving foreign interests. (Jimmy Carter divested and still Republicans investigated him.) Potentially, each of Trump’s foreign deals represents an impeachable offense. But the course of this or other litigation on the issue is unlikely to be swift, and the outcome is uncertain.

Our present US constitutional crisis expanded in the first days of the Trump presidency with the administration’s continuing to commit the war crimes of the Bush and Obama administrations, in particular the presidential use of drones to assassinate foreign nationals. Over the inaugural weekend of January 21-22, a pair of US drone strikes killed as many as ten people in Yemen, some of them alleged terrorists. Presidential assassination would appear, on its face, to be the kind of high crime the Constitution defines as an impeachable offense. President Trump follows two predecessors who assassinated foreigners without political consequence, so it’s unlikely he will face impeachment for assassination any time soon.

The third and so far most volatile element of our constitutional crisis is the president’s implementation of his executive order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” an Orwellian title for a presidential fiat that does no such thing and may well make the US less safe. The order is arguably a violation of the Constitution’s “Establishment Clause,” the First Amendment’s first clause:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

The rest of the amendment enshrines free speech, a free press, the right peaceably to assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances – all together in basic constitutional law that supports vital public response across the country to President Trump’s attempt to give religious bigotry the force of law.

On Friday, January 27, at 4:42 p.m., President Trump signed his executive order into law, an act of such utter executive incompetence that it took less than twenty-four hours to create chaos around the globe. The president had not even taken care that his own decree be faithfully executed, having failed to have it competently and objectively vetted, having failed to allow advance review by agencies expected to enforce it, and having failed to implement the order in a rational and orderly fashion. The effects of such incompetence are so easily predictable, in advance, that it’s conceivable that the resulting worldwide assault on innocent individuals was a deliberate political disruption.

There is no evidence of good faith in the execution of this law, and less evidence of good faith in designing it to be constitutional. Within 48 hours, federal judges across the country had issued rulings against the president and his Muslim ban. By 9 p.m. Saturday, responding to an emergency petition by the ACLU and others, Federal District Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay that prevents the government from carrying out the order. In remarkable proceedings in court, the government lawyers were unable to offer a rational defense of the order and when the judge offered them a week to do so, they said that would not be enough time.

(Reinforcing this legal uncertainty on January 30, Acting US Attorney General Sally Yates ordered Justice Dept. attorneys not to defend Trump’s apparently unlawful executive order “unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so." The oath of office for Acting AG Yates, like the president’s oath, commits her to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.” With the US Justice Dept. opposing the US president, presumably one of them is wrong, and we need to know which one to resolve our constitutional crisis. That was made harder hours later, when the president fired Yates and replaced her with US attorney Dana Bent who has promised “to enforce the immigration order” according to the Washington Post.)

In Virginia, another federal judge, Leonie M. Brinkema, issued a temporary restraining order against the president, the Dept. of Homeland Security, the Customs and Border Protection agency, and others, requiring them to allow detainees to see lawyers and forbidding them to remove detainees. When US senator Cory Booker, D-NJ, showed up Saturday night at Dulles International Airport with a copy of the court order, government officials refused to meet with him and communicated only through written notes. Booker was rare among senators in responding to the immediacy of government thuggishness, which has prompted thousands, perhaps millions of Americans to protest with a moral clarity that their national “leaders” seem not to comprehend.

Mayors across the country, from Boston to Seattle, have had no such timidity standing up for fundamental constitutional values. Some evangelical Christians have also objected to Trump’s order, even though one of his stated purposes was to promote Christians above other religions. Expressing basic Christian tolerance of all who are made in God’s image, these evangelicals pray “that God would continue to grant you wisdom and guidance.”

So far, at least seven judges (in New York, Virginia, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle) have ruled against Trump’s executive order, setting off a judicial process that could reach the Supreme Court. The Trump administration has already reversed the order as it applies to travellers with green cards. Whether the Trump administration will fully comply with court orders, and whether defiance of the law rises to the level of impeachable offenses remains to be seen.

For all the legal and political struggles, the grossest offense of Trump’s executive order is to reality and honesty. The order cites September 11, 2001, as part of its justification, which is pure demagoguery. Not only was that 15 years ago, but none of the attackers – NONE – came from ANY of the countries covered by the order. The 9/11 attackers came mostly from Saudi Arabia (15), as well as two from the United Arab Emirates and one each from Lebanon and Egypt. None of these countries are covered by the executive order. ALL of these countries are places where Trump has business interests.

Of the seven countries covered by the executive order – Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya – none are places where Trump has business interests. All but Iran are thought to be places where US combat troops are deployed. The US is engaged in an ongoing criminal war in at least one of the countries, Yemen. The number of terrorist attacks on the US attributed to people from any of the seven sanctioned countries is ZERO – there have been none.

The threat from “radical Islamic terrorism” remains lower than a lightning strike in the US. Far more dangerous are white nationalist terrorists or anti-abortion terrorists. (Who has assassinated more opponents than these people?) But the terror-mongering of government officials has gone on for decades, doing the work of the terrorists by making Americans afraid. Trump has amplified the fear-mongering even above Bush-presidency levels, which smoothed the way into wars that still haven’t ended. There is no reason to expect civilized leadership from the Trump administration or either the Republican of Democratic parties – they are all too morally and intellectually corrupt to escape their own alternate realities.

But what has happened in response to the Muslim ban has been amazing, unexpected, and a source of real hope. Across the country, Americans of all sorts have swarmed in public protest against the demonizing of Muslims, against the lies of the alternative fact crowd, against the indecency and cruelty of the decades of political callousnessness that have been fed by Reagan and Clinton and their successors till they delivered that rough beast slouching in the White House today.

President Trump’s approval rating has gone negative in just eight days in the White House, more than 550 days faster than ANY of his recent predecessors.

At last, perhaps, the people are ready to say no. At last, perhaps, the people are ready to reject the worst impulses of a culture designed to impoverish the many without enlightening the few. At last, perhaps, the people are ready to be their own leaders and embrace the possibility of equality even for the most demonized among us. To see so many people determined to protect Muslim travellers, people who are the other, and yet still deserving of the same protections the rest of us deserve – that is truly heartening in the face of a government inclined to achieving order by oppression and violence.

On January 20, Donald Trump took the oath of office as provided by the US Constitution:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Is it a violation of this oath to initiate chaos? Is it a violation of this oath to promulgate executive orders that plainly aim to abrogate current law or that attack basic constitutional rights? Has there been a moment since he took this oath that Donald Trump has not acted in bad faith while failing to preserve and protect the Constitution? Is his performance as president not fairly characterized as a complex of chronic, deliberate acts that form a nexus of impeachable acts?

At last, perhaps, the people in growing numbers are taking serious notice. The people are far, far ahead of their “leaders.” There is real resistance. There is a real constitutional crisis. And there is a real possibility that Americans can sustain the will to redeem their country.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+110 # DongiC 2017-01-31 13:43
A powerful article for sure. Sketches out the reasons to remove Trump from office and why we are in a constitutional crisis. The crook from NYC is the biggest screw up the presidency has ever seen. Whatever he touches, becomes crap and his negative abilities are known around the world. His foreign affairs actions should be downright frightening. Time to remove him from office.
+44 # Glen 2017-01-31 15:41
Investigations have been ongoing since he announced his candidacy. There is a plethora of information concerning all his businesses, interests, prejudices, indifference to the law, and indifference to anything close to a constitution. We must ask why it has not been compiled into impeachment.
+16 # janie1893 2017-01-31 14:33
Constitutional crisis--so what?
Trump and company are forging ahead and nothing will be done to stop them. They know this and are laughing at Americans.
+15 # WBoardman 2017-01-31 18:15
janie1893 says "so what?"

That sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If enough people like janie1893 say "so what?"
the result will likely be as janie1893 predicts –
no one will feel any pressure to stop them
and nothing will be done, and janie1893
will have to bear her share of the responsibility.
-18 # ojg 2017-02-01 01:21
But thank God Hitlery Shillery Killery didn't win the election. We would be knee deep in WW# by now! Enjoy these next 4 years.
+11 # warrior woman 2017-02-01 08:28
Janie1893 is correct in that trump will forge ahead regardless of public opinion. Many will stand up but as we speak Republican legislatures are moving to criminalize protests and free speech. All is eerily like 1930's Germany. The procedures of trump and acting president Bannon are intended to create chaos. We are having our attention diverted for likely even graver actions. This is pure shock doctrine or shock and awe at its best. The fact that they are ignoring the courts shgive is great pause.
+33 # James Klimaski 2017-01-31 14:47
Donald John Trump is above the law. So are all of his inner circle, and maybe a few of his cabinet secretaries. They are protected by a Republican Congress that is made up of ideologues and cowards like Sen Collins, who present a united front to stifle any possible threat from the Democrats and Independents.
+22 # mashiguo 2017-01-31 21:48
Donald Trump is only above the law because
Reagan was above the law
Nixon was above the law
W was above the law
Clintons were above the law...
it's a bit late to wish it otherwise...

Trump is what US is.
Trump is what we have created of the presidency by letting decades of criminal misdeeds go unpunished.

Don't blame Trump, blame America.
Then do something about it if anyone has the gonads...
And make sure it NEVER happens again.
+43 # ER444 2017-01-31 14:48
I repeat... there must be so much dirt on this man. The "Free Press" has never had a greater obligation to find the truth. Take this man down!!!
-77 # 2017-01-31 15:20
I am so sorry for all you lefties. Perhaps you might be happier somewhere else?
+23 # WBoardman 2017-01-31 18:18 needs to read the Constituion,
reflect honestly on what it says,
and consider how well we're doing
making it work.
+30 # stoher9 2017-01-31 18:24
Why should we go anywhere? We are in the majority. You Trumplandians are in the minority. Maybe you should go somewhere else and take your Dear Leader with you.
+17 # davehaze 2017-01-31 18:43
Real etc.

Sure, the United States of America.

Where do you wish to reside? Trump Tower has vacancies. Oh, you can't afford it? Sorry.
+2 # sashapyle 2017-02-02 23:50
Rseale, you are the very reason why my new motto is:
Maybe YOU would be happier somewhere else, not on this really nice planet that "lefties" are trying to take care of, while people like you chew it up, spit it out, and crudely mock the better citizens. How would you like Neptune? You can do all the strip-mining and fracking you want there, go right ahead. Or Mercury, since you seem to want a hotter and hotter planet.
0 # ericlipps 2017-02-05 08:44
I am so sorry for all you lefties. Perhaps you might be happier somewhere else?

Yes, I'd be happier someplace else: a United states of America with someone else in the White House and fewer online blowhards supporting the billionaire bigot currently occupying that residence.
+30 # Lady Jane 2017-01-31 15:25
There are clear grounds for impeachment to rid us all of this mad man. If only there were some people in Congress who had spines and are principled people, who are ethical, and who know the US Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) as well as American history. They have to power to correct this crazy mistake and begin rebuilding our nation which this mad man has practically destroyed in just a couple of weeks. STAND UP AND SAY NO TO HIM! Get those Articles of Impeachment ready and serve them. Save us all!
+43 # vt143 2017-01-31 15:47
And I thought we could go no lower than G.W. Bush! God, by comparison he was on the 30th floor! Trump is in the sub-basement. Heaven help us!
0 # Robbee 2017-01-31 17:32
Quoting vt143:
And I thought we could go no lower than G.W. Bush! God, by comparison he was on the 30th floor! Trump is in the sub-basement. Heaven help us!

- knee-jerk reaction suffers from the same myopia that gave us rump! - how bad could rump be? - isn't rump the lesser of 2 evils? - lets give him a free pass!

any reaction to rump that does not weigh pence? - how bad could pence be? - isn't pence the lesser of 2 evils? - lets give pence a free pass!

- the real issue is would anyone rather have pence than rump?

not me! - i'd rather have crazy rump! than purposeful pence!

by the way this cluster-efup is not my fault! - robbee voted bernie! - then hill!

robbee always weighed the alternative!!!

why don't you???
+4 # Robbee 2017-01-31 17:44
rump will on occasion by accident do something right - with pence that is not gonna happen!
+6 # Robbee 2017-01-31 17:46
rump's firewall against removal from office is pence!
+6 # lfeuille 2017-02-01 00:21
That was a valid argument before we saw Trump in action but he is definitely living up to the worse expectations for his presidency. It's hard to imagine that Pence would be worse.
+1 # sashapyle 2017-02-02 23:54
True, but Pence could probably not be reelected, because he does not have the "star power" that a rude talk-show host and pageant groper has among the celebrity-obses sed uninformed voters. I actually think the GOP wouldn't mind throwing Trump under the bus and blaming him for people's unhappiness at a certain point, after they've dynamited all of our rights and resources. I think impeachment and removal of Trump would be good and the GOP could then implode. Both parties are waaaaay behind the rest of us and need to go.
+8 # Pikewich 2017-01-31 17:32
It is logical the signing of the Muslim ban was designed for maximum distraction, a "shock event", to provide the space to do something truly nefarious....
-1 # trumpster 2017-01-31 17:45
There is another way. Jump on the #25thamemdmentn ow train. Republicans can even get behind this solution.
-9 # Logic 2017-01-31 18:35
Trump has made Americans irate about activities common under Bush, Obama, Clinton, Biden

This should not be construed to suggest that I like Trump, blah ,blah, etc., but it is time for the public to wake up. The US is not always the good guys. Did you see the 8-year old girl who was shot by our SEALS in Yemen?

Trump hotels - at least they are actual businesses of his.
Biden’s son Hunter and Ukrainian oil:

And Hillary?, well, there is the Clinton Foundation, where foreigners have pay-to-play.

“President Trump follows two predecessors who assassinated foreigners without political consequence,” W and Obama - 16 years

— limiting visas to people from countries we have bombed
The Trump order is not new. It links to restrictions set up by Obama in 2015 and 2016, "countries designated in Division O, Title II, Section 203 of the 2016 consolidated appropriations act.”.

In 2011 Obama stopped processing Iraqi visa requests for six months.

Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen

I have sympathy for people in those areas. But it is reasonable to assume that there might be some blowback for our drones and cluster bombs.
+12 # chrisconnolly 2017-01-31 18:41
What we now need to be asking is 'What's happening to the Mexicans? We are hearing about the Muslims and it is horrible, but our eyes have been averted like the cheater who says"oh look up there" while he steals your purse. What is DHS doing to the Mexicans and Latinos?
+12 # elkingo 2017-01-31 20:10
" There is no reason to expect civilized leadership from the Trump administration or either the Republican of Democratic parties – they are all too morally and intellectually corrupt to escape their own alternate realities." You really put your finger on it there, Bill. We must scrap the whole system, and the pernicious personalities who inhabit it. O and capitalism which at the base of it all.
-12 # CDMR 2017-02-01 07:51
The problem with Boardman's case is that nothing he says is the constitutional crisis is of Trump's making. These are all the conditions created by two especially lawless presidents: Bush and Obama. Trump inherited a total incoherent mess from these two monsters. He may be addressing the problems in an awkward and ineffective way, but he did not create the constitutional crisis.

Trump's restrictions on immigrants from 7 countries is just rehashed Obama policy. Trump's order does not even mention any countries. It only refers to Obama orders.

The real constitutional crisis is that a faction of the democratic party -- the Progressive-Cli nton-Soros-Cent er for American Progress -- will not accept the results of the election and is seeking to overthrow the presidency of Trump. They are so pissed off that Hillary was rejected that they really don't care what happens. They just want to fuck Trump by any means possible. So they will try to impeach him or make him resign. Then we will have Pence.

Hillary won't be installed as president no matter what. But George Soros does not know this. He's always tries to make the loser in an election actually take the presidency. That's what color revolutions are all about. This one has been named the "Pink Revolution" after the Women's march.

Boardman is just a Pinkie.

We've just been through the worst presidential election in US history. Both final candidates were perfectly horrible. Now is the time to deal with reality.
+1 # ericlipps 2017-02-05 08:49
Another member of the "Hooray, Hillary was defeated" crowd heard from, with the novel addition of "Now let's blame everyone but Donald Trump for the messes he creates or worsens."
+7 # Skeeziks 2017-02-01 08:17
We now have a tyrant president and his flock of sheep in power running/ruining our country.

As in the Democrats wanting to filibuster the SCOTUS choice, the Republicans are of the mind to say(as they always say) "Do as I say. Not as I do."
+6 # WBoardman 2017-02-01 11:31
CDMR's ad hominem name-calling is not argument.

Alas, CDMR's argument is not much of an argument, either.

Trump's conflicts of interest, financial secrecy, and
defiance of constitutional norms are not of his making?

Trump's embrace of president assassination by drone
is not his free choice?

Trump's unlawful, under-vetted executive order is
someone else's fault?

Even if CDMR's conspiracy theorizing about Soros-et-al
is even partly true, how is it relevant? CDMR offers no
evidence to counter the reality that Trump is a minority
president, that the election is suspect, and that Trump's
actions are sufficient to explain the popular reactions
with no need to invent secret manipulators.

Now is, indeed, the time for CDMR to take the advice
CDMR offers: "deal with reality."
+9 # dotlady 2017-02-01 11:56
Trump makes his own decisions (after some influence by others like Bannon)at the moment when he decides to, without further thought, by habit as a CEO. Thus his many bankruptcies. Woe to the US.
0 # AUCHMANNOCH 2017-02-02 19:27
If this crazy bastard lasts a year I will be bloody amazed!
0 # draypoker 2017-02-03 13:46
Pence looks just as bad - perhaps worse.

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