Should a Constitutionally Illegitimate Presidency be Annulled?
By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
I’ve been saying it for more than a year, but almost everyone thought I was a crazy person. I’ve believed for a long time that Donald J. Trump is a Russian asset who was carefully groomed by Russian Intelligence for more than a decade. Months ago when I started saying it out loud, my theory was met with cross-eyed looks of pity for a woman addled by conspiracy theories and delirium.
Even for me, recent headlines have been jarring:
For the record, those headlines aren’t coming from conspiracy ridden fringe thought news sources. Trump might want to call it fake news, but that’s the mainstream media ringing the bell like it’s a five-alarm fire because it is.
Robert Mueller is finishing his report and while it hasn’t yet dropped, this is where we are. Truth is stranger than fiction and we are in a constitutional crisis of epic proportions. The framers of the constitution couldn’t have known that one day the President of the United States would be an operational asset of a hostile foreign power who used him to delegitimize the presidential election and then run him like a pawn on the board to destabilize geopolitics globally.
But it happened and the wild conspiracy theories that were once the refrain of those on the edges of political fiction are now a reality. We have a lot of problems and the biggest of them is that sacred document that has guided the course of our nation, the constitution, isn’t big enough for the colossal crisis we find ourselves in.
Most political scholars are wrangling two significant questions:
Can or should a sitting president be charged and/or tried for a crime?
Will we find our way to the first ever removal of a president through impeachment?
While those are empirically good questions, they may not be the questions we should be asking.
Whether or not Trump is prosecuted for his crimes has little to no effect on the damage he’s done to democracy while in office.
Impeachment was framed into the constitution for the censure or removal of a president. That said, no sitting president in the history of our nation has been removed from office via impeachment. It’s unlikely that any findings would move this Senate to the action of removing Trump, no matter how grotesque the evidence might be. We all know that.
Best case scenario, while impeachment might address Trump’s High Crimes and Misdemeanors, possibly even including treason, it is not broad enough in its remedies to address the acts of an illegitimate presidency.
What the founders didn’t consider was the possibility that someone could move into the White House fraudulently. In other words, if the person in the highest office in the land isn’t a legitimate president because the election is was rigged, influenced, or stolen by a hostile foreign power, the impeachment clauses of the constitution that would govern that potential effort would not apply.
If the Special Councils report shows that Donald J. Trump conspired with a hostile foreign power to rig an illegitimate election, neither impeachment or prosecution goes far enough because the Trump presidency itself would be illegitimate, therefore all acts under his administration including appointments would also be illegitimate.
In the event that the Special Council report demonstrates conclusively that Trump sold himself and our nation in the process to Putin and Russia, we have no choice but to consider the unthinkable, the annulment of an unconstitutional presidency. And let me be clear, we’d be making it up as we go along because the constitution doesn’t address what the framers couldn’t imagine.
However, the fact that the constitution of the United States doesn’t provide the remedy of presidential annulment doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider it. The constitution is and always has been an evolving document. Since the birth of our nation and the inception of the constitution, it has been amended twenty-seven times.
The most commonly used word to describe this presidency is “unprecedented”. The unprecedented behavior of an unhinged authoritarian in our nations highest office has become so routine we’ve almost become numb to it. However, in a political landscape that is so unstable that we no longer know who are allies are and we no longer recognize our values in our policies, the fact that annulment is unprecedented doesn’t make it unthinkable. It makes it just another day in the history of a falling democracy trying to right itself.
Mark my words, while a presidential annulment might seem like political fantasy, it will be in the headlines sooner than later because we have a traitor in the White House who is squatting there illegitimately and there is no other remedy that can address that reality in totality.
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Lisa M. Hayes, Senior Editor of Confluence Daily.
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