We’re in Trouble: Trump and Lawyers Insist the President Is 100% Above the Law

If you listened to Donald Trump and his attorneys over the weekend, they stressed an alarming message: the president is above the law. In a legal letter, Trump’s lawyers insisted that he cannot be investigated without his permissions, he cannot be charged with crimes and he cannot be punished for any crimes either. Trump subsequently took to Twitter to boast “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.”

I know this sentiment has been used a lot since Trump took office, but I legitimately think it applies now: we’ve reached a new low in the Trump administration. This country has weathered the storm of corrupt politicians, but I’m not sure whether it can withstand a direct attempt to corrupt the system itself.

If citizens and elected officials alike continue to act indifferently to this power grab rather than using the Constitutional provisions necessary to keep the president in check, they might as well put out a welcome mat for authoritarianism. That would be a clear signal to future leaders that the system is broken and there is no actual accountability for subverting the government.

Obtained by the New York Times, the letter from Trump’s attorney was sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year. It argued that the president could not be subpoenaed. Furthermore, it asserted that Trump had the ability to end any FBI or DOJ investigation “at any time or for any reason” without it falling into the category of obstruction of justice.

The letter also ominously reminded Mueller’s team that the president had the power of pardon to rescue any of Trump’s cronies the investigation tried to take down. The subtext seems to be that the special counsel shouldn’t bother trying to get Trump’s associates to talk because they already have a get-out-of-jail-free card.

This past week’s pardon of Dinesh D’Souza for supposedly being “treated very unfairly by our government” and subsequent discussion of other celebrity pardons was no doubt a signal from Trump to people Mueller is communicating with that he was willing to exercise pardons on a whim.

As for Trump’s own assertion that “numerous legal scholars” agree he can pardon himself – in actuality even more legal scholars think there’s no way he can do such a thing. The truth is this country has never been put in a position to have to test such a predicament, and we ought to ask ourselves how we got to this point at all.

Should an innocent man really need to lay the groundwork for pardoning himself? If Trump does pardon himself, that’s got to be a surefire way to get himself impeached by Congress – assuming legislators finally decide to take a stand on something.

Although the letter to Mueller was sent prior to Rudy Giuliani joining the team, it’s clear that the president’s new representation is also on board with the idea that Trump is above the law. In an interview on Sunday, Giuliani suggested that Trump could shoot James Comey and still be immune from indictment while serving as president.

Oh boy! So far all of these legal assertions from the Trump team are speculative at best – we’d have to see a president actually attempt to end an investigation, pardon himself or shoot a political rival to see if the courts agree that the president actually enjoys all of the privileges he’s claimed for himself.

It would be a constitutional crisis if Trump put these things to a test, but the truth is we’re already in a crisis by having to discuss these unethical issues the president is introducing. This country is in peril because Trump, unlike past presidents, couldn’t care less if he took down the entire democratic institution in an effort to save his own hide.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

107 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you for caring and sharing

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Cindy M. Dutka
Cindy M. D10 months ago

Donald the Disaster poised to strike again...SIGH...

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Brian F
Brian F10 months ago

Susanne R Most people do support my beliefs. The DNC was sued for rigging the primary for Bernie Sanders to lose, and even in their lawsuit, they admitted they were guilty. Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, and he said the Democratic party is corrupt, and has sold out to Wall Street and corporations. Care2 is a site for honest progressives who support Bernie Sanders, not for corporate fake Democrats like you, who defend the corruption of the Democratic party, that cheated Bernie Sanders out of his primary, and caused this crook Trump to win. Please go to another site, and discuss your phony Russia conspiracy theories with people who think like you do. Good luck.

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Susanne R
Susanne R10 months ago

@Brian: I believe that you are sincere in your beliefs, but many of us do not share those beliefs. If you want to validate your concerns, you'd get better results by contacting whatever legitimate authorities exist that are in a position to help you rather than posting your grievances over and over again in these threads. I hope you start reaching out to them today, and good luck!

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Brian F
Brian F10 months ago

Susanne R You can't just support the FBI investigating this crook Trump, but not also investigating the corrupt Democrats who rigged the primary for Bernie Sanders to lose, forced this crook Hillary on us, and caused this fraud Trump to win. The Democrats super delegate rule that gives the incumbant over 400 super delegates before having a challenger, is cheating. Party insiders don't decide elections. The corrupt Democrats have that rule to keep challengers like Bernie Sanders from beating their corporate establishment crooks, who they force us to accept. For you to not admit that the Democrat's super delegate rule is extremely unfair and corrupt, is extremely dishonest.



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Brian F
Brian F10 months ago

Susanne R If the FBI can investigate this crook Trump, then I see no reason why the FBI cannot investigate the criminal Democrats who have an unfair super delegate rule, that gives the incumbant over 400 super delegates before having a challenger, and whose members Donna Brazille passed debate questions to Hillary, and Debbie Wasserman Shultz who scheduled the debates to favor Hillary. The DNC favored Hillary from the start, which is a violation of fairness. The Wikileaks emails also show Hillary was too close to Wall Street for the 22 million they paid her, and had a public and private position on issues. Wall Street doesn't pay Hillary 22 million and expect nothing in return.

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Susanne R
Susanne R10 months ago

@Paul regarding: "Those tax cuts helped everyone. The corporate tax cuts will spur investment in new business, increased wages and bonuses for employees and more importantly, small businesses to thrive and hire more people."

I urge you to read the following article: "
Trump's tax cuts are a feast for wealthy and gruel for working families." http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/361378-trumps-tax-cuts-are-a-feast-for-wealthy-and-gruel-for-working-families

The Republicans have tried "trickle-down economics" in the past. It was a disaster. Corporations and the super-wealthy held on to their taxes, and the only thing that "trickled down" on the rest of us was --well--you fill in the blanks. Also, please look up "trickle-down economics." Unless you're in the top 1% of this country in terms of wealth, you got dumped on, just like the rest of us.

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Susanne R
Susanne R10 months ago

@Brian: That's what you asked me to do! I'll refresh you memory:

Susanne R Why not have the FBI investigate the Democrats who have an unfair super delegate rule, and rigged the primary for Bernie Sanders to lose.

Was I supposed to take that seriously? If so, how do you propose I go about doing that? I was trying to point out that your suggestions, which you use as arguments and/or to prove your point, are not reasonable. If you took that as an insult, then please stop making suggestions that are not possible. You keep making suggestions like that to make your point, knowing that the suggestion itself is not possible to perform.

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Brian F
Brian F10 months ago

Susanne R Rhoberta's outside looking in perspective, is correct about this crook Trump's bad trade policies, his tax cuts that only help the rich, his horrible plan to revive dirty coal, and continue to use dirty fossil fuels, and his many other bad policies. But you can't only criticize this crook Trump. Most of the Democrats are refusing to support Medicare for all, marijuana legalization, free colleges, a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, and the Democrats are refusing to allow honest progressives like Bernie Sanders to lead the party. So Rhoberta E needs to do more as you do, than only criticize this crook Trump. Both of you need to also criticize the Democrats, try to force them to end their corruption, and try to force them to allow Bernie Sanders to lead the party or we will have this crook Trump for 8 years, instead of just 4.

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Paul B
Paul B10 months ago

Brian F,
Yes I am. Those tax cuts helped everyone. The corporate tax cuts will spur investment in new business, increased wages and bonuses for employees and more importantly, small businesses to thrive and hire more people.
We are a LONG way from being 100% renewable capable and in the interim, it is a national security interest that we become energy independent. The shift to renewables will happen in time, when the technology catches up with demand... but not yet.

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