“I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

James Madison

Attorney General Barr concluded the “Mueller Report” exonerated President Trump, his associates and campaign of collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign and opined there was no evidence of obstruction of justice by the president.

Reading of the Report, however, suggests Trump “sought to use his official power outside of usual channels.  These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and reverse the effect of the Attorney General , to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation, to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony.” 

Mueller’s decision not to recommend prosecution was based on an opinion of the Office of Legal Counsel; “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the constitutional separation of powers.”

There is no Constitutional language granting any sitting president immunity from criminal prosecution!

Moreover, there has always been a fundamental belief in American that no individual is above the law.

With the cloud of potential prosecution lifted, an emboldened president has launched an aggressive 2020 re-election campaign, buttressed around legitimate claims of a sound economy, historically low unemployment and a booming stock market.  But, there is little mention of the exploding national debt ($22 trillion and growing) fueling this economic growth. 

Is the current strength of the economy alone justification to reelect a president who panders solely to his base, shows disdain for our constitution and denounces his critics as unpatriotic?

Believing he is above the law, Trump refuses to recognize Congress as a co-equal branch of our government; using a trumped-up border crisis to circumvent Congress’ appropriation authority, declining to provide documents requested or subpoenaed by Congressional oversight committees,  preventing current and former Executive Department officials from appearing before Congress, and circumventing the “advice and consent” role of Congress  by reliance on “acting secretaries” to run several Cabinet Departments rather than having nominees face formal confirmations.

While apologizing for white Supremacists, the president rails against Democrats, everyone critic who questions him, immigrants, Muslims, other marginalized groups, “Fake News” (any opinion or criticism that he disagrees with) and even the NFL as an “enemy of the people” and a threat to America.  More concerning are his relentless attacks on many of our country’s most vital and trusted institutions (the Media and Journalists, the FBI, the CIA and more recently Judges).  He accuses members of Congress who did not applaud his every State of the Union utterance as “un-American” and perhaps “treasonous” for expressing their free speech rights by remaining silent.

The president is again orchestrating renewed effort to permanently dismantle the Affordable Care Act on which millions of Americans depend with no plan to replace it, debunks climate change in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence and would probably see a gun distributed to every child when they are issued a social security number.

Internationally, President Trump defends Putin’s claims of Russian non-interference in the 2016 and 2018 elections and accepts Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud’s laughable claims of no knowledge of the assassination of Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi  in direct contradiction to the opinion of every US intelligence agency, has been “played” by Kim Jung Un and floats the spector of a unconstitutional military adventurism in Venezuela and other countries.

As neither truth (Washington Post calculates the President made 9,541 misstatements/lies in his first 801 days in office), the Constitution (which he swore to “support and defend “ but clearly doesn’t understand or respect) nor civility appear to be of concern to a president whose obsessions seem to revolve around the compulsive appetite for public attention, portraying himself as a tough guy negotiator,  being the smartest person on the planet and governing by Tweet.

Trump’s rhetoric echoes that of autocrats who claim to champion the downtrodden and forgotten people, promising the revival of yesterday’s jobs, a return to the “good old days” (which were rarely that good), making grandiose promises to appease his MAGA base and then placing the blame on “our” enemies when his ill-conceived and unrealistic promises cannot realized.

America’s promise isn’t always easy to achieve and our nation has serious problems.   

However, Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, tactics of scaring people and telling them who to blame for their misfortunes, demonizing his critics and his simplistic agendas will not result in realistic solutions.   More important, his willingness to circumvent our Constitution and sacrifice public institutions and individual liberties represent a clear and present danger to our nation, freedoms and way of life.

The fundamental question in 2020 is, what type of America do we really want?