Executive Power

If Either Party Cared About Limiting Executive Power, Trump's Presidency Would Be Toast

Extreme partisanship and the desire for power will play as big a role in saving Trump's presidency as his aides did by ignoring his orders.

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If either major political party in American politics cared an iota about limiting executive power—and preventing the abuses that inevitably spring from such nearly unlimited power—Thursday's release of a redacted version of Special Council Robert Mueller's report would probably be the end of the Trump presidency.

Whether that end came via impeachment or through a Nixonesque forced resignation following a collapse of public and congressional support, it doesn't really matter. In a normal political environment, the Mueller report would have been a damning, un-survivable bombshell for the administration—even without the special counsel finding evidence of collusion with Russia or choosing to bring charges of obstruction.

Instead, Trump will survive Mueller's report (and has even declared victory) in the same way he survived every other major scandal—from the Access Hollywood tape to Stormy Daniels—of his short political career. He'll survive because partisan interests dictate that he must, and partisanship now rules everything.

"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state," the report says. Lacking that exonerating information, Mueller kicked the question of whether Trump committed obstruction—and therefore the corollary question of whether he should be impeached—to Congress. That's the right thing to do, given that Department of Justice precedent states a sitting president cannot be charged with crimes and that impeachment is a fundamentally political, not legal, process.

What will Congress do with the Mueller report? Likely not much, beyond fundraising off of it.

Republicans have already circled the wagons around Trump. "If Bob Mueller in two-and-a-half years of investigation—which includes both the FBI and special prosecutor's time—doesn't bring charges, I don't know how much longer we need to be talking about collusion and obstruction," Rep. Mark Meadows (R–N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and one of Trump's closest congressional allies, told Politico. The ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), said the Mueller report's conclusions meant a "sad chapter of American history is behind us." Would they be saying anything like that if a Democratic president the subject of Mueller's report?

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) has effectively ruled out impeachment. That makes sense too. Democrats have a strong short-term incentive to campaign against a weakened Trump in 2020.

But beyond those acute short-term interests, neither party has much of an interest in setting a precedent that could be used to limit presidential power in the future. It's possible both that Trump did not commit a crime and that he ought to be removed from office, but setting that standard would hang a cloud over every chief executive to come—and both parties desire to wield the power of the presidency more than they fear what the other would do with it.

The result: Saving Trump's presidency makes sense for both parties in Congress, even as it undeniably deals another blow to the legislature's status as a co-equal branch of government.

Intense partisanship and the desire for power, in short, will save the president from the political reckoning he probably deserves.

To be fair to Trump, he did not create the current hyper-partisan environment—though he does contribute to it and benefit from it. It's the same symbiotic relationship, nurtured by the media, that birthed Trump's presidential aspirations, germinated them into reality, and (if the details of the report are to be believed) guided many of the president's near-obstruction actions over the past two years.

Let's be clear about the content of the Mueller report: Trump made multiple attempts to obstruct the investigation, only to be stopped from doing so by his own subordinates—often because they ignored or contradicted his explicit orders. "The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests," the report states.

As Reason's Peter Suderman put it: "The picture emerging from the report is one of a temperamental and inexperienced president whose managerial bumbling and self-destructive instincts are kept at least partly in check by more experienced staff."

In doing so, Trump's underlings may have saved him (and others in Trump's inner circle) from prosecution or impeachment. But that does not excuse the actions of the president. In a less toxic political environment, Republicans might admit to themselves that the man residing in the White House often seems unfit for the job—and is clearly unable or unwilling to recognize and respect the constitutional and legal limits of his office.

Again, Trump is not to blame for expansive powers granted to the modern presidency. Congress and the White House have worked for decades to build the executive branch into the leviathan that it is today. Impeaching Trump or otherwise forcing him from office would not undo all those mistakes—even though, as Gene Healy has argued persuasively, a more robust use of impeachment over the past 200 years would have improved the nation's political state, "given how many bastards and clowns we've been saddled with over the years." If only we had a time machine.

Allowing Trump to skate would not only add to this legacy of congressional acquiescence to executive misbehavior. It would set the bar so high that no future president would likely ever qualify for removal—or at least we would certainly hope so.

The next time a president abuses his or her powers the way Trump has, the country might not be so lucky to have him or her surrounded by aides willing to ignore direct orders.

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118 responses to “If Either Party Cared About Limiting Executive Power, Trump's Presidency Would Be Toast

  1. Let’s be clear about the content of the Mueller report: Trump made multiple attempts to obstruct the investigation, only to be stopped from doing so by his own subordinates—often because they ignored or contradicted his explicit orders. “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report states.

    No he didn’t. The President had every right to fire Mueller and shut down the investigation. This was a special counsel not an independent counsel. Meuller worked for the AG who worked for Trump.

    If reason had any staff who had any brains or principles, they would do something besides repeat the same lame journolist talking points in article after article on this.

    1. The Attorney General works for the government, not for Trump.
      Unless John is now going full-on “L’etat c’est moi” mode.

      1. The Attorney General works for the government, not for Trump.

        Every time I come here for lulz you’re here being depressingly stupid.

      2. Doesn’t the AG work for the people?

        1. No, the AG works for the government.

          1. And yet, historically and practically, he’s the President’s guard dog. Holder was the same.

          2. ” the AG works for the government.”

            Which Constitutional branch of the government?

            Who does the Constitution specify as being ultimately in charge of that branch?

            Lord you are stupid.

      3. “Unless John is now going full-on “L’etat c’est moi” mode.”

        Much as you go full kiddie raper you sick fuck?

        1. I believe the proper term is *rapist.

          1. Raper is frequently used in a colloquial manner as I employed it, but yes, ‘rapist’ is more formally correct.

      4. “The Attorney General works for the government, not for Trump.”
        You’re wrong. All executive power is vested in the POTUS. So, while the AG technically doesn’t work for the President, he definitely works for the Presidency.

        1. Trump isn’t the presidency, you half-educated bigot.

          1. “Trump isn’t the presidency, you half-educated bigot.”

            Is it your goal to prove what a fucking ignoramus you are? If so, you’re doing great.
            Trump is POTUS and the AG is employed at the pleasure of the POTUS. And ignoramuses like you are confused by that.
            Fuck off, bigoted asshole.

            1. Arty doesn’t understand things. Instead he pukes out Media Matters and Thinkprogress talking points. Then he closes with the same retread insults, no matter how glaringly repetitive they sound.

      5. The AG is a member of the Executive Branch.

    2. Tell us, John, can you think of a hypothetical case in which you think the president could be guilty of obstruction of justice?

      1. John, like the rest of us, is only going to stoop to acknowledging you on slow news days.

        Now move along. Your desperate need for attention is showing.

        1. As is Pedo Jeffy’s desperate need to see American children brutally raped

          1. Shoo, pest

        2. Oh hilarious. So you don’t answer the question and just offer insults.
          Maybe you could offer any hypothetical situation in which you think the president could be guilty of obstruction of justice.

          1. An investigation by a co-equal branch, i.e. congress. The president, by definition, can not obstruct an investigation that he has the legal authority to end, which is any investigation- by the executive branch. It’s really not that complicated.

            1. It is wen you’re oedo Jeffy and have limited cognition.

          2. Yeah, hypothetically if he could be proven to have ordered his employees to collect and destroy evidence under subpoena, or suborned perjury, or perjured himself…

            You know, that stuff ’42’ was proven to have done, and the Democrats insisted it was no big deal?

            Heck, even if he used one of the powers of his office in a provably corrupt way, that could be obstruction. But, as he’s as much entitled to the presumption of innocence as anybody, you’d actually have to prove that his motives were corrupt, not just presume them corrupt.

            Which is really, really hard to do if the underlying action is legal, and any even remotely plausible non-corrupt motive is available.

            Like, say, thinking that somebody who’d lied to the President and FBI was adequately punished by being fired, and didn’t need to be hounded further?

      2. If the president directs someone to lie to the court or the investigation, they would be guilty. If he destroyed evidence under subpoena he would be guilty. Using a constitutional power is not one of those cases. Are you really this fucking stupid Jeff? Courts already went through this when Austin Democrats tried to criminalize Rick Perry’s use of his state constitutional powers. Stop being so fucking dumb. There are not conditions on constitutional powers. Nixon was under obstruction charges for the Saturday night massacre, butner directing agents to lie. Stop being so fucking stupid.

        1. Pedo Jeffy will never stop being stupid.

  2. Intense partisanship and the desire for power, in short, will save the president from the political reckoning he probably deserves.

    Reason never said once that Obama deserved to be removed from office despite Obama using the IRS to go after his opponents, starting an illegal war in Libya, ordering the assasination of an American citizen, lying to the country about the nature of NSA spying, and a host of other crimes too long to list withing the character limit.

    But Trump wanted to fire a special counsel who was investigating him for something he knew he didn’t do and that we now know he didn’t do and reason wants him out. Tell me again why you people are not fucking leftists who hate taxes and love pot?

    1. I swear, sometimes I think Reason writers have absolutely no concept of what goes on in real life.

      1. The bigots and malcontents seem cranky today, even though their hero dodged a prosecution (by virtue of being a Republican).

        1. “The bigots and malcontents seem cranky today, even though their hero dodged a prosecution (by virtue of being a Republican).”

          Indeed they do, bigoted asshole. None of the lefty ignoramuses (you included) seem capable of reading.
          BTW, fuck off, you pathetic excuse for humanity.

        2. How does one ‘dodge prosecution’ without an underlying crime involved? No criminal activity was found to have taken place.

          1. Not by the president anyway. Hillary is guilty of a myriad of federal crimes if the feds bothered to rosecute her.

  3. “Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) has effectively ruled out impeachment. That makes sense too. Democrats have a strong short-term incentive to campaign against a weakened Trump in 2020.”

    She refuses to use her Democratic majority in the House to impeach Trump, because that would only make him stronger? If so, we have to ask why such a politically-inspired impeachment would help Trump.

    1. Because the impeachment would be unsuccessful and Trump would emerge bolder and crazier than ever?

      1. This got an audible chuckle out me.

        For maybe the first time in my lifetime we have a President who refuses play the game the way it has been set up. Who cares if it is out of ignorance or intelligence? The swamp creatures are in a frenzy because their power has always been based on complicity within the Executive branch.

      2. You also have to remember that the someone would get to cross-examine all those people who claimed Trump said this or said that. The defense would also get to bring in rebuttal witnesses and possibly get to put people under oath like Bruce Ohr and his wife, and Strozk and his girlfriend to ask them about “insurance policies”. The defense then gets to run, broadcast on all 3 networks and all cable news networks, with alternate theory that people in the Department of Justice and intelligence agencies were conspiring to get Trump even before he was elected. Carter Page will get to testify about his contacts with agents of British Intelligence. Papadapolis gets to do the same thing. CIA directors will be brought up to explain Crossfire Hurricane. Unredacted FISA warrants will be brought into evidence. And so on.

        The President will likely be allowed a vigorous defense as the Republican controlled Senate has final say on how the trial is conducted. To quote a Vox article, “In this trial, the House of Representatives acts as a prosecutor – designating certain impeachment managers to argue their side in the Senate. The president’s lawyers are the defense team – the president does not have to appear in person and historically has not. The chief justice of the Supreme Court presides and is responsible for making procedural rulings during the trial – however, the Senate can vote to overrule his decisions.”

        1. Very true. I imagine that many of the people who were ‘witnesses’ would not care to be cross examined under oath, nor to be subject tot the discovery process.

          They have a lot to hide.

    2. Well its pretty much a forgone conclusion the Senate will never convict if the House impeaches, so we can assume he will remain in office despite any attempt to impeach.

      So lets look at what happened the last time we had a politically-inspired impeachment: Bill Clinton

      After his acquittal by the Senate his approval ratings hit a career high of 73%, and he left office with an approval rating of 63% the highest of any president since Truman. If Trump saw numbers like that (or even comparable improvements on his own current approval rating) it would basically be handing him a second term on a silver platter

  4. Wouldn’t it be fun if they did these investigations on all administrations?

    1. NO! Sometimes they’d go after Democrats but sometimes they’d go after Republicans.

    2. Seriously. Appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate everything about every president, as soon as they enter office. The results of this report would have been no worse than anything under Obama, Bush, or Clinton. Arguably they would have uncovered a lot more, because unlike Trump they were actually competent and could keep secrets.

  5. >>>It would set the bar so high that no future president would likely ever qualify for removal

    bar set at “assassinated an American” … T’s not anywhere near yet

    1. +100

    2. Used intel agencies to spy on political rivals seems awfully bad, too. Far worse than “wanted to fire an employee of the Executive branch”

  6. I think that happens in every organization.

    Boss has a dumb idea and it gets buried down the line. Trump says whatever he is thinking or feeling at the moment.

    Remember the big beautiful military parade?

    “Oh and don’t forget Friday is Hawaiian shirt day. So if you want to wear a Hawaiian shirt go ahead.”

    1. No way. When Hawaii sends us their shirts, they’re not sending their best.

      1. Plus it takes them so long to get delivered by train.

      2. There’s probably a few good ones, I guess.

  7. Boehm just dunked all over Suderman and Sullum. Honestly I’m not sure “the president shouldn’t be allowed to fired people attempting a coup” can even be topped. Is this peak Reason? I’ll keep clicking to find out.

    1. I thought we had hit peak Reason with Nick declaring Open Borders Uber Alles the core principle of libertarianism.

      But Boehm outdid him with “Libertarians for the Deep State Coup”.

      As much contempt as I have for Reason, I didn’t see that coming.

  8. Republicans have already circled the wagons around Trump. “If Bob Mueller in two-and-a-half years of investigation—which includes both the FBI and special prosecutor’s time—doesn’t bring charges, I don’t know how much longer we need to be talking about collusion and obstruction,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R–N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and one of Trump’s closest congressional allies, told Politico.

    I stopped reading at this point. It is pure partisanship to refer to making an astute observation as “circled the wagons”. At least 3 of the writers for Reason are gaslighting anyone with shred of integrity with their by implicating anyone who thinks this was a giant waste as a Trump partisan.

    Fuck you, Boehm.

    1. God, why did I read the rest? I did come across this gem of an observation:

      As Reason’s Peter Suderman put it: “The picture emerging from the report is one of a temperamental and inexperienced president whose managerial bumbling and self-destructive instincts are kept at least partly in check by more experienced staff.”

      Remove the snark and you have exactly what Trump told us we would get. He said he would hire the best people. Damn you Boehm, and damn Suderman and Sullum. You have managed to prove that Trump, with all of his narcissism and compulsive braggadocio, is exponentially more honest than the Democrat party and the bulk of the sycophantic press.

    2. by implicating anyone who thinks this was a giant waste as a Trump partisan.

      Except that’s the Trump partisan position. Minus of course the screaming caps about WITCH HUNT!!!!.

      1. chemjeff radical individualist
        April.18.2019 at 7:45 pm
        “Except that’s the Trump partisan position…”

        Which happens to be true, but facts? Who needs facts when you have a raging case of TDS.
        Seek help, you pathetic piece of shit.

        1. Oh, Sevo. Never change.
          Don’t you have more young’uns to chase off your lawn?

          1. “Oh, Sevo. Never change.
            Don’t you have more young’uns to chase off your lawn?”

            Oh, jeff, keep posting lies and bullshit and trying to misdirect attention. Keep ignoring those horrible ‘facts’ which prove you to be at least brain damaged.
            You are among the fucking worst of the lefty ignoramuses who post here.
            Don’t you have some Easter eggs you’ll try to find in the lawn? And fail…

            1. Jeff applauding political investigations is just more proof hes the real libertarian and not an authoritarian shitbag.

            2. If Pedo Jeffy is much over twenty he’s got to be the biggest buffoon here, outside of Rev. Arty.

  9. How would they be able to get around the precedent of the Senate acquitting Bill Clinton?

    “Perjury in a civil suit,” where Clinton was deposed under the terms of a law he himself had signed (Molinari Amendment) allowing the little people to be examined about their sexual history. So don’t give me any “this was just about a private affair,” Clinton helped adopt the standards to which normies would be subject, then he felt himself above obeying these standards himself.

    But that’s not enough to convict.

    In contrast, unsuccessfully asking your people to block an investigation into a noncrime.

    So are they going to invoke the “But Trump!” exception to the impeachment clause? Are they going to say that Clinton, in hindsight, should have been convicted?

    1. Easy for them to say, after the fact, that he should have been.

  10. All the fucking cry baby democrat progTard commie sore losers should thank Woodrow Wilson and FDR, 2 punk ass democrat progTard commie losers who made the federal fucking government the envy of the USSR.

    Fuck off sore losers. Go sniff Hillary’s undies.

  11. This is worth a careful read:
    “Trump made multiple attempts to obstruct the investigation, only to be stopped from doing so by his own subordinates—often because they ignored or contradicted his explicit orders. “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests,” the report states.”

    Parsed:
    From the start, Trump knew full well that claims of “collusion” were so much bullshit, and turned into a fishing expedition besides, as finally attested to by the investigators. He attempted to stop the (totally bogus, per the investigators) investigation, but was prevented from doing so by his agents. But if he had, he would have been guilty of something?
    ‘If you keep me from finding out you did nothing wrong, you’ll be guilty of keeping me from finding out you did nothing wrong!’
    Pretty sure ‘tautology’ is the operative term here.

  12. I think I’m done with Reason. I’m surprised that the sentiment has arisen when there hasn’t been a Shikha article for a while. Aside from maybe 3 writers who don’t touch the major news stories it’s been nothing but TDS and horribly reasoned analysis lately. If I wanted to read a left wing rag I’d go to Vox or one of the other dozen big ones that offer the exact same content I’m getting here. Check your bias. It’s not worth even glancing at these shitty articles just to reach the comments (which remain interesting and better reasoned)
    MRLA – Make Reason Libertarian Again

    1. If I wanted to read a left wing rag

      If you think Reason is a “left wing rag” then you aren’t reading actual left-wing rags.

      If you just want a website that confirms your pro-Trump anti-left bias, then just say so.

      “Libertarian” does not mean “run interference for Trump and fight against the left at all times in all ways”.

      1. chemjeff radical individualist
        April.18.2019 at 10:54 pm
        “If you think Reason is a “left wing rag” then you aren’t reading actual left-wing rags.”
        I’m sure you not only keep tabs but repeat every talking point they provide. It’s obvious from your constant bullshit.

        “If you just want a website that confirms your pro-Trump anti-left bias, then just say so.”
        If you want a website which confirms your TDS, don’t bother mentioning it; we know.

        “Libertarian” does not mean “run interference for Trump and fight against the left at all times in all ways”.
        Beat on that strawman, jeff! It also does not mean “TDS welcomed here” as you seem to believe.
        Oh, and please fuck off.

        1. Pedo Jeffy should really consider harming himself. As should all enthusiasts and boosters of the violent sodomy of toddlers. Like PB.

      2. BTW, the handle is typically lefty bullshit; you’re about as ‘individualist’ as Maduro. If it ain’t group-think, you want no part of it.
        Why do lefties always lie about their beliefs? Do they really hope it’s true, or are they just ignoramuses who don’t know the difference?
        I’m going with the latter.

    2. “I think I’m done with Reason.”

      I was here before the Progressitarian invasion. I see no reason to leave. Lots of libertarians still come here, and Reason provides us great grist for the mill of 2 Minutes Hate.

      “MRLA – Make Reason Libertarian Again”

      It still is in some of the comments.

      1. What would a libertarian say?

        About a President who has people in his White House checking out information from wiretaps of the opposing party’s campaign?

        About a prosecutor who holds decades-long prison sentences over the heads of family members in order to avoid a trial and obtain a guilty plea?

        About a prosecutor who pushes decades of prison time for a “crime” that had already been investigated by his own FBI and DOJ and declared “not a crime”?

        About a debate process so corrupt that not only is the libertarian candidate excluded, the DNC is working with the moderators of the debates to ensure smooth sailing for their preferred candidate?

        About politically motivated prosecutions of elected officials?

        One could go on… there’s a fairly large volume of grist for a Libertarian mill out there right now.. unfortunately it seems to be going unused, while the Libertarian mill is busy grinding grain for the socialists.

      2. buybuy’s version of “Libertarianism” is basically a slightly less unhinged version of Lou Dobbs.

    3. i enjoy reason,especially the comments agreeing anf disagreeing with the articles.

    4. “I think I’m done with Reason.”

      I laughed. But there’s always Glibertyville if you require 100% echo. It’s the ultimate safe space for frustrated Trump fellators.

    5. Seriously :/

  13. The best thing about all of this is it has kept the politicians and President distracted thus minimizing the potential damage they would otherwise be doing.

    Politicians are like children stuck in the house on a rainy day.

    If you do not give the kid something to do they will find it. Disassembling dad’s prized shortwave radio for example.

    I recall my mom had many tricks for this. Some of us may remember those trading stamps you got every time you bought something. She kept a drawerful of them. On those days she would sit me at the table to paste them into the booklets they gave out. Then she could go back to watching Days of Our Lives.

    We need something like that.

    1. Sad but true. They more time they spend fucking with each other the less time they have to fuck with the rest of us. The whole premise of this piece is just silly.

  14. More extreme segments of libertarianism argue against the existence of police at all, but even the most modest libertarians typically argue that process crimes like “obstruction of justice” are statist circle-jerks that ought not to exist.

    Now here we have an ostensibly “libertarian” publication with the audacity to claim that other people are being hypocrites because they don’t support removing a president from office over the POSSIBILITY that he MIGHT have ATTEMPTED to commit obstruction of justice?

    That’s a lot of layers of hypocrisy.

    Sorry, “Eric Boehm”, but you’re the last person to lecture anyone about putting partisanship over principle. Your obvious TDS has you arguing that a person should be removed from office for allegedly attempting to commit a victimless process crime in an effort to protect himself from a witch hunt over accusations that even the witch hunters couldn’t find any evidence for.

    You shouldn’t be employed by a libertarian website.

    This sentence is particularly absurd: “It would set the bar so high that no future president would likely ever qualify for removal.”

    Actually, the bar isn’t set that high at all. All that would be needed is actual evidence of a crime.

    1. “You shouldn’t be employed by a libertarian website.”

      He’s not.

      1. Click his name, and it says “Reporter for Reason.”

        It also quite unsurprisingly says that he was involved in the 2008 Democratic National Convention, while apparently in college.

        1. A Venn diagram of “Reporter for Reason” and “employed by a libertarian website” may show some overlap, but only because there are actual libertarian websites.

    2. So you are a JD.

      I am not.

      The only reference I saw to impeachment was this.

      “Lacking that exonerating information, Mueller kicked the question of whether Trump committed obstruction—and therefore the corollary question of whether he should be impeached—to Congress. That’s the right thing to do, given that Department of Justice precedent states a sitting president cannot be charged with crimes and that impeachment is a fundamentally political, not legal, process.”

      Please explain how that correlates to your conclusion. There was no evidence of a crime and even that is not grounds for impeachment. It is right there.

      It is a political process. It is very possible for the president to be legally liable for a crime and not be impeached. It is also possible to be convicted of no crime and still be impeached.

      I do not favor impeachment of Trump at all. Please explain your opinion here.

  15. “Libertarians for a Deep State Coup.”

    What a shithole this has become.

    1. Not become, merely revealed to be.

      They were entirely comfortable with the other guy doing it, precisely because he was so aligned with the Deep State.

  16. Ok, so we are worried about concentration of power in the executive and abuse of said power. And we are delighted to have unlimited investigations that cannot be supervised to ferret out such abuses.

    So…

    So…..

    Are we going to start calling for investigations of the coordination between the Clinton campaign, the DNC, the White House, the DOJ and the FBI, along with Fusion GPS and the Russian government?

    I mean, from what we already publicly know – sans investigation – the HRC for President campaign coordinated with and controlled the DNC and colluded with members of the media to rig the Democrat Primary. During this time the DNC actively discussed pushing Trump’s candidacy in the Republican primary and used their influence in the media to accomplish this – remember the debates where Trump got 50% of the air time in a 17 way race?

    At the same time, we had an investigation into Russian attempts to foment chaos by pushing Trump (and Sanders). Interestingly, the DNC and the Clinton campaign were working with Fusion GPS to funnel dirt on Trump from Russia. Now, we don’t know what other coordination was taking place with Russia, but we do know that they invested millions in the relationship.

    Next we know that an attorney from Russia called the Trump campaign to offer dirt on Trump. That attorney has been framed as representing the Russian state, but she was working with Fusion GPS at the time. For what purpose, we know not. Also, the FBI and DOJ began working with Fusion GPS.

    That meeting has been cited as the trigger for a counter-espionage investigation. Members of the DOJ and FBI as well as the Obama Administration have publicly stated that they had concerns that Russia was attempting to infiltrate the Trump campaign. (notice that they did not choose to do anything to stop this attempt. Something they easily could have done with a simple phone call. “Hey, guys…. we see that the Russians are trying to infiltrate your campaign!” Problem solved)

    Then the FBI sends over at least two operatives who attempt to infiltrate the Trump campaign and plant information with Trump campaign officials. This information is then obtained by different operatives and used as a pretext for more “surveillance” of the Trump campaign.

    Information from this “surveillance” was passed on to political operatives in the White House, where information about US citizens was illegally “unmasked”.

    Meanwhile, the people at the center of the “counter-intelligence investigation” are messaging each other like crazy about how they are going to get Trump, keep Trump out of office and how they love them some HRC.

    Then Trump wins. HRC is not going to be the next president.

    And the Obama White House took a bunch of classified information obtained from FISA wire-taps about US Citizens (who are never supposed to be targeted by these warrants) and declassified it specifically for the purpose of distributing it around the government so that it could be leaked after the inauguration – with the specific intent of sparking an investigation of the President….. the same investigation that they’d been running for nearly 6 months at this point.

    So, let’s tally that up, OK? We have an outgoing administration spying on the opposing party’s presidential campaign with the assistance of their own party’s campaign in producing a pretext for that spying. We have the outgoing administration actively and openly sabotaging the incoming administration.

    And we aren’t going to ask any questions about any of that? Even 2 years later, after having cleared out any obfuscating allegations and ongoing investigations? No?

    Yeah, I suppose the important thing is that the nut-job currently in the White House asked a couple of his officials to do something about an investigation that had long since ceased investigating anything to do with Russia and was now having 2 levels of meta-investigation looking for what someone said about a prosecution they did that had nothing to do with Russia but was entirely intended to squeeze people into giving them “dirt” on Trump.

    That certainly is one way to respond to all the information you’ve been given.

    There has been a ton of abuse of power here. And near as makes no difference, none was coming from the Trump camp. And by “near as makes no difference” I mean literally, makes no difference. As in, asking people to properly supervise an investigation that their job requires them to supervise, but then those people decided not to do it so nothing at all happened makes no difference. But sure, let’s have another round of investigations into why the investigation didn’t work to put HRC in the White House. That’ll be great.

    1. Well, you can write much longer posts now. What’s the word limit now on Neo-Reason Evangelion?

    2. I would pay you to read shit like this. Gonna need a new home soon anyway.

  17. Both parties want to USE executive powers when in power. They only want to limit it when out of power. The politicians don’t have the foresight to realize someday they will be out of power. The Republicans in Wisconsin tried to limit the Governors executive powers when only the Democrats were in power in an illegal session, but the courts rightly threw that out.

    1. Democrats should just wear blue shirts that say “it’s ok when we do it”.

  18. Add this to the list of Things Reason Never Said About President Pen and Phone.

  19. I’m telling you guys, it really has become a religion for these people. Mueller was supposed to deliver redemption from their electoral purgatory, but he didn’t. So now they are trying to find it themselves.

    1. That it happens to be Passover/Easter season is totally not coincidental.

      1. I mean, everyone else is getting their redemption/promised land, why aren’t they?

  20. Please do limit his power. Congress needs to ascend to the authority invested in it more. They’ve increasingly ceded authority over basically my entire life.

    1. Congress can best rein in executive overreach by eliminating as much federal law as time allows.

      But they wont.

  21. How would making Trump toast limit the power of the presidency?

    The current president authority is often based on the expansion of power from the previous president. This is why I find it funny when people complain about Trumps use of EOs when Obama’s use of them triggered SNL to do a spoof of the School House Rock’s I’m just a bill.

    1. And, just think about how bad it had to be for SNL to have thought a Democrat’s abuse of executive orders was a worthy topic for mockery.

      1. Of course, back then it was a noble way to outwit those dastardly Republicans holding back progress!

  22. Two things: One it seems Trump wanted to obstruct justice but was held back by his staff, (so he did not actually obstruct justice), and is this not the same Reason that has printed articles saying that Trump has done a better job that Obama and Bush at not abusing Executive Power. This Author is a LIBERAL masquerading as a Libertarian.

  23. The Thought Of another four years of Trump scare me to death.

    1. the thought of more authoritarianism scares me

    2. Try 4 years of Bernie and you’ll really shit your britches.

  24. […] up the works. I trust my Reason colleagues (Scott Shackford, Peter Suderman, Jacob Sullum, and Eric Boehm), each of whom argues to varying degrees that if President Donald Trump isn’t technically […]

  25. This author disays the logic and reasoning skills of a twelve year old. I don’t see how reason can survive as an extension of the left. Crowded territory.

  26. The author needs his mommy.

  27. “The next time a president abuses his or her powers the way Trump has, the country might not be so lucky to have him or her surrounded by aides willing to ignore direct orders.”

    We weren’t; it was called the Obama administration.

  28. […] up the works. I trust my Reason colleagues (Scott Shackford, Peter Suderman, Jacob Sullum, and Eric Boehm), each of whom argues to varying degrees that if President Donald Trump isn’t technically […]

  29. Would they be saying anything like that if a Democratic president the subject of Mueller’s report?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Sorry.
    Not.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  30. […] There’s also the very relevant point that expecting the president to follow “the rule of law” rather than the precedent of an ever-more-powerful executive would put limits on the president’s power, regardless of which party he or she is in. Both parties crave the powers of the executive more than they fear what the other party would do wit… […]

    1. “Congress can validly regulate the President’s exercise of official duties to prohibit actions motivated by a corrupt intent to obstruct justice,” the report said.

      1. How can there be “corrupt intent” (if it is a constitutional duty to hire and fire executive branch employees) when no crime was committed to cover up? Perhaps the intent was to save the taxpayers 25 mil.

  31. Further confirmation that your average Congresskritter runs from being held responsible for anything – which is why they delegate all of their workload to the Executive.

  32. “In a normal political environment, the Mueller report would have been a damning, un-survivable bombshell for the administration”

    In a normal political environment, there wouldn’t have been a Mueller report, because there wouldn’t have been a Mueller investigation, because the prior administration wouldn’t have been spying on the incoming administration’s campaign, and nobody in the FBI would have been trying to frame the President in order to get him removed from office.

    So don’t give us this “in a normal political environment” crap. The political environment hasn’t been “normal” for years, and Trump isn’t the one who screwed it up, he’s just the latest target of the abnormality.

  33. […] “If Either Party Cared About Limiting Executive Power, Trump’s Presidency Would Be Toast,” by Eric Boehm […]

  34. […] I wrote at the time, Mueller was clearly—and correctly—kicking the question of obstruction (and […]

  35. […] I wrote at the time, Mueller was clearly—and correctly—kicking the question of obstruction (and the […]

  36. […] I wrote at the time, Mueller was clearly—and correctly—kicking the question of obstruction (and […]

  37. […] I wrote at the time, Mueller was clearly—and correctly—kicking the question of obstruction (and the […]

  38. That’s the new libertarians: making excuses for the deep state, attacking separation of powers, and siding with leftists.

    There are many areas where Trump and other presidents have engaged in executive overreach. Trump’s conduct during the Mueller investigation isn’t one of them.

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