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writing for godot


Written by Jeffrey Moualim   
Tuesday, 10 April 2018 06:08

Being on a ledge is a true metaphor for where democracy sits today in the U.S.  Donald Trump called the legal (a warrant  signed by a federal judge) warrant for a collection of documents, hard drives and communications from his personal attorney Michael Cohen's office and hotel room an attack on our country and what we stand for.  Trump’s characterization is not only revealing of his ultimate vulnerability in this investigation but more importantly his grasp of how the legal system of our nation works.

The legal search and seizure is a tool for law enforcement and the justice system to hold people to the rule of law and prosecute them if it turns out they committed a crime. Our judicial systems have safe guards that will throw out an illegal search if for example the warrant was flawed or insufficient or went beyond the scope of the warrant the judge signed off on.  Many searches without a legitimate warrant have been thrown out of court protecting the defendants’ rights in having a fair trial.   That is a check and balance on the system and cases have been thrown out because of an illegal search.

Trump's words today speak volumes when he criticizes the FBI and the Justice Dept. for doing their job. Without the rule of law and the principle that no one, even the president is above the law, a democracy cannot function, and lawlessness would prevail. In this case if Cohen and/or trump have done something illegal and the evidence collected today supports that conclusion then the country has once again, like Watergate been saved by a functioning legal system that works in an ethical way to preserve our lawful nation.

Still this only one step of perhaps many that must continue if we are to get to the truth and prosecute those who broke the law. Walking on this ledge will be precarious since one slip of integrity will have fall into the same pit that other countries have. They began with democracy and once the law was disregarded sank in an autocratic system, where one person or one regime defined what is the law and how they can circumvent it. It is a hole that very few nations ever crawl out of. We should not take for granted the U.S. would be an exception.


What is perhaps even more troubling is the reaction of Trump’s base which is upwards of 30-35% of the country.    If this president’s words can frame an alternate reality that he is indeed the victim of a “deep state” that is out to get him the danger in democracy grows exponentially.  As a candidate Trump used catch phrases to lure an audience ready for an anti-Washington message.  On becoming president Trump has been quick to attack the institutions he disagrees with including the CIA, other intelligence agencies and the Justice Department.  If Trump can be successful through tweets and other forms of communication that barrages his base with false equivalency’s and half-truths he will have accomplished two objectives.

First, he will make it very difficult for the findings Mueller and his team come up with to be accepted by his followers.  And second and even more dangerous he will help destroy the confidence in government institutions that go against him.  This is a familiar strategy from other Autocratic dictator’s playbooks in dissolving democracy.

The constitution is very precise in stating the separation of the three branches of government.  Each having independent powers to form a failsafe against a hostile takeover by one branch over another.

Tomorrow will bring more arguments and counter arguments on how and why the FBI directed by the Justice Dept. conducted this search and seizure. But one point is very clear. Without the ability of the legal system to act responsibly and without prejudice that ledge becomes a slippery slope. your social media marketing partner
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