Trump And Russia

Why it’s not Watergate redux.

The overreaction to this, from people like Larry Tribe, has been hyperbolic. I’ve been having some arguments on Twitter with people, including Bob Zubrin (who is the Never Trumper’s Never Trumper), on the roles and responsibilities of the branches of government and of the federal workforce. Bob thinks that someone should disobey (or even countermand) a presidential order that they consider illegal, and somehow still keep their job. My position is that while no one is required to break the law or violate the Constitution, they are not the law unto themselves. Employees of the executive branch report ultimately to the president, and are accountable to him or her. The president is accountable either to the states in an election, or to the Congress, who can impeach and remove him. There is nothing in the Constitution about insubordination to the White House being a check on executive power, and to allow it would be to remove the unelected employees of the executive branch from any accountability to any one at all, giving us a tyranny of the bureaucracy. I don’t think that Bob has fully thought this through. I’m sure that Madison et al would never have intended this.

[Afternoon update]

I agree with Ben Sasse:

Sasse also emphasized the importance of three separate, co-equal branches of government, including ensuring the Justice Department is “very, very insulated from partisan politics.”

“We have three branches of government, not one, not 17, right? And so you need to have investigative and prosecutorial functions be in the Article II branch of government. They need to be in the executive branch, but there should be lots of insulation from the career civil servants and the leadership of the Justice Department from political decision-making at the White House,” he said.

It would help if we had an educational system that actually taught about the Constitution. And a president who had read it.

15 thoughts on “Trump And Russia”

  1. If only “liberals” had reacted with such righteous indignation during the Stalin era.

  2. Yes, exactly. I agree that an employee shouldn’t do something they believe is illegal, but none of the firings were doing that. Yates was asked to make a Constitutional argument for the travel ban that she did not agree with, but which was a valid argument and her duty as a lawyer was to make her client’s argument, and Alan Dershowitz agrees with me.

    If lawyers start making the decisions that judges are supposed to make, instead of making the best argument they can for their side, they are pre-empting the judicial system, creating divided loyalties and factions in the government, and create a precedent for a real mess.

    Bharara is just a show boat who is clearly running for office. Who cares about him?

    Comey doesn’t seem to have actually disagreed with Trump on anything leading to his firing. He’s been trying to walk a middle ground instead of standing up for anything strongly for a year. His firing was overdue.

    1. Comey’s firing was due the moment he went beyond being an investigator. He was in a difficult position with the Obama justice dept. His options were to do his job or resign. Door number three was to get fired. Too bad those that believe Comey being fired is wrong aren’t fired themselves.

      We will probably never know the extent of the pressure Comey was under and it doesn’t matter one iota.

      The saddest thing is all the talking heads that skipped out on civics.

  3. Still nary a peep from the media about Hillary’s (and staff) direct ties to Russia, the DNC’s long history of being Russian stooges, or even that Democrat’s preferred policies are beneficial to Russia. Trump doesn’t have a press secretary whose house is plastered in Soviet propaganda posters either. But someone on the Trump campaign was on RT and had dinner with a Russia official.

    None of the conspiracy theories even come close to the reality of Lynch and Clinton meeting to stratigize torpedoing prosecution of Hillary.

    How many Democrats have been on RT? Al Jezeera? Is Larry King now a Russian agent?

    1. If Trump told Putin on a hot mike that he’d have more flexibility after another election… “IMPEACH TRUMP!!!” would be the whole news 24/7.

      If Trump gave the Russians a huge percentage of limited nuclear resources it would be “TRUMP TREASON REQUIRES FIRING SQUAD!” again 24/7 on the news.

      The media is the enemy of America.

      1. For all of this anti-Slavic hysteria, I have just one word for the Democrats.


        1. Sacramento CA has a huge Russian and Ukrainian population. Los Angeles as well I hear, but the ratio in Sacramento is much higher. Around Sacramento (opposite of San Francisco) is mostly conservative.

  4. I offer humorous remarks to lighten things up, but I am quite serious here. This is Slavophobia, and it goes back to the Bosnia War if not earlier.

    Mr. Trump is friends with Russia? What if he were? Are Slavic people, Slavic Orthodox Christians, are they the remaining people to whom one can assign nefarious purpose and motives in polite circles?

    1. “This is Slavophobia, and it goes back to the Bosnia War if not earlier.”

      Hmmm. Why focus on just the Bosnian theater of Yugoslavia’s civil war? The overwhelmingly Slavic nation of Croatia won its independence with Operation Storm, the largest land battle in Europe since WWII. Paul, how involved do you think the USA was with Operation Storm?

      Paul, how many Slavic nations are currently in NATO?

      1. Also, before you point out that current Slavic NATO members are predominantly Catholic, please account for the push for the predominantly Slavic Orthodox Christian nation of Montenegro to join NATO. There is no anti-Slav or anti-Orthodox sentiment here.

        As for Russia, last night I had the pleasure of seeing Condoleezza Rice in person describe what it was like to be a Kremlinologist for George H. W. Bush at the end of the cold war. She expressed warmth for the Eastern European and the Russian people, and she spoke in rather direct terms about her disgust with Putin. She characterized Russia as currently, unfortunately, once again being our adversary. I think she spoke for the majority of Americans, including the majority of Democrats and Republicans.

          1. Many Serbs complain that the US planned Operation Storm, trained and armed the soldiers, gave the order to “go”, supplied intelligence in real time as the fighting was carried out, and some even say the US participated in the shooting. Many Croatians say the same thing, because they are proud of it.

            In any case, Croatia and US embraced each other once it became clear that the Serbia’s government was the problem, and my point is that the US readily makes military alliances with Slavic nations.

  5. “It would help if we had an educational system that actually taught about the Constitution. And a president who had read it.”

    We didn’t have one for 8 years. Why start now? /sarc

      1. C’mon Rand, in preparing for lecture, the professor has their own prepared notes and doesn’t read the text. I thought everyone knew that.

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