How Trump’s Recklessness Could Empower The Constitution

Searching for the good in Donald Trump’s irresponsible governance there is the chance that we get the presidency back to its proper constitutional limits.

Powerful, effective and popular presidents, for all the good they might have done, also burst through the barriers intentionally put in place by the nation’s founders. There’s a reason they almost entitled the job simply “Magistrate in Chief.” It was only out of respect for George Washington that they gave it a loftier name, if not the tools to match it.

Perhaps a butt-head in office will give rise to rival institutions, the courts, Congress, and yes, even the media. Already we’ve seen a handful of liberal judges out West trim the sails of his ignorant xenophobia (although that fight is long from over).

The news estate seems to be taking up Trump’s challenge, at least no longer shying away from calling him a liar. That’s a start.

But can a Republican-controlled Congress stand up to him? Against his will they are inching forward with probes into Russia’s possible entanglements with his campaign. It was also noteworthy that, unlike what might have happened with a legitimate leader accusing the intelligence community of breaking the law, GOP leaders (and just about anyone else who matters) mostly dismissed his latest conspiracy theory that the Obama Administration wiretapped him.

Trump is trying to build on past presidential usurpations of power with executive orders. But, as in the travel ban, he’s going about it in such a ham-fisted way that in the end the courts might better define the constitutional limits of this much-abused authority.

The best and brightest results might come if and when Trump commits troops somewhere without a declaration of war. A disrespected president, especially among his own party’s lawmakers, might just give Congress the will to reclaim its voluntarily abandoned war powers.

What Trump doesn’t seem to understand is that the presidency really isn’t like running his own company, a thinly-veiled dictatorship. Past over-reaching has moved it in that direction, but the truth is that the job’s actual constitutional powers are technically quite limited. Meaning that the nation tends to only allow questionable expansions of presidential powers based upon an intangible authority rooted in widespread popularity and earned trust.

Trump has neither. Which could be a good thing, if you believe in putting the presidency back into its constitutional box.

[Cross-posted via The Huffington Post]


73 thoughts on “How Trump’s Recklessness Could Empower The Constitution”

  1. So after 18 hours in committee the house ways and means committee passed the 1% care bill – without a CBO analysis. Who needs numbers in ways & means?

    And Hawaii files suit against the new Muslim ban signed by the dumpster. Go HI. Supposedly Steven Miller is featured in the suit.

  2. another name for the obamacare replacement (and for any or all of his proposed legislation or exec orders as a convenient catchall title) is trumpdon’tcare.

    might as well throw in the constitution in that trumpdontcare pile. there’s move afoot by that gang to call constitutional convention to scrap those pesky inconvenient parts that they don’t like. … you know, that crap establishing the “socalled judges” and enemies-of-the-people press and protecting all those not-white not-christian not-male-hetero terrorists.  first things to go will be all the bill of rights except the 2nd amendment.

  3. “The best and brightest results might come if and when Trump commits troops somewhere without a declaration of war.”


    -nothing a good ol’ fashioned war can’t solve, eh?  God, help us.

  4. bink, war is an aphrodisiac as well as an answer for drumpf & co.  it also sells oil at a higher price, makes weapons sorps richer and is a jimdandy distraction for the proletariat.  speaking of oil….

    cbs: How Russian oil giant Rosneft could claim U.S. oil

    Rosneft, an oil corporation majority-owned by the Russian government, says it has the right to claim an ownership stake in U.S. oil company Citgo Petroleum if Citgo’s cash-strapped parent company defaults on billions in loans, according to a lien Rosneft recently filed in Delaware. If that claim succeeds, Rosneft, which is run by one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies, would own a sizable chunk of a company that is among the 10 largest petroleum refiners in America.

    Russian ownership of a large portion of a U.S.-based oil company would be unprecedented, according to experts contacted by CBS News. Those experts also emphasize that the White House has the power to block the deal — either on national security grounds or simply by leaving in place Obama administration sanctions against Russia.


    Rosneft, with $86 billion in annual revenue, is the world’s largest public oil company in terms of reserves and output. But it is barred from acquiring U.S. holdings because of sanctions imposed by former President Barack Obama’s administration after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March 2014. 

    However, as a candidate for president, Donald Trump expressed an openness to relaxing those sanctions, which include a ban on business transactions with dozens of companies and officials, including Rosneft and CEO Sechin.

    A former British spy’s 35-page dossier about alleged communications between Trump associates and a Russian official, which has gained credibility among law enforcement, includes claims that in July Sechin met with energy industry investor Carter Page, who at the time was a foreign policy adviser to the Trump presidential campaign. Page and Russian officials have denied the meeting occurred.

  5. Holy pussy hat!  I celebrated late into the night…perhaps the last day for women in some time!

    Forget about the constitution!  thiel’s future vision of the US of AA.   These are the males running females out of global politics and pushing a nationalist agenda.  Just like the speech to congress…optics of saving white women as represented by Ryan’s wife and the spartan macho cheering?  14 words to describe it!

  6. top of the pussy hat…it arrived from china two days ago.  In December, I wanted a pussy hat almost as bad as the women’s card, but our head crocheter, my sister, is a trump voter.  My beloved sister who made baby blankets for my grandkids?  Now lost to the dark side.   In December, pussy hats were hard to find at a cheap price and I went online china where there were abundant pussy hats.   Mine is a linen fedora crushed by the weight of cheap freight to US customs.  My sister?  Lost and it was Faux News that first turned her hubby’s head and she went along…her coping pattern over a lifetime!

  7. jace, thought you shouldn’t miss this from a  review in wapo: Andras Schiff graces the faithful with a recital akin to a religious experience

    In his readings, Schiff ensured that no musical thought went without comment and that no expressive point was missed by the audience. The pianist’s impressive technique — his rounded tone, limpid clarity and astonishing control over color and articulation — was all in service to a kind of musical pedantry. Even in moments of great beauty — and there were many breathtaking passages — one seldom forgot that one was beholding an exquisitely wrought artifact, like a medieval altarpiece.

    quite a critique. might want to consider him in your next serendipity search.


  8. good point

    wapo editorial board:

    [….] It is entirely appropriate for Mr. Rosenstein to do what any good prosecutor would — refuse to prejudge a law enforcement question before reviewing the full record, including information that is not publicly available.

    We believe that Russian interference in the election is a matter of such grave public importance that appointing a special counsel would add to the Justice Department’s appearance of independence and integrity. But we respect Mr. Rosenstein for refusing to pre-commit. So should the Senate.

  9. no one has been able to stop trump, not even his own party.  this will continue until these crooks are out-of-office…unless c0mey plays the trump card because as he said, we are stuck with him (comey.)  too bad james is stuck with jeff-boy, his shady boss.  Let us hope that comey is the one putting bracelets on the WH crew — and not the kind ivanka sells.

  10. a fun sample from a funny must-read

    James Comey is actually Jimmy Hoffa and other truths: Garrison Keillor

    My guiding principle from the beginning has been Make Earth The Center Again. Not the sun. Earth First.

    Ever since Pope Urban VIII failed to shut down Galileo and the fake science of Copernicus, Judeo-Christian civilization has been in steady decline. It’s the plain truth. That’s why the Pilgrims came to the New World, to escape solar-centrist ideology.

  11. locally, the trump junta is having an effect.  Bid proposals went out for the wall last week.  El Paso businesses, all seven of them. put in a request for work on the wall.  Both Albuquerque and El Paso are beefing-up with immigration lawyers.  Many immigrants being targeted…a transgender immigrant applying for a protective order in El Paso?  Arrested and she wasn’t trying to go to the bathroom, but texas is working on that.  And Susana, our gov, has once again vetoed the industrial cannabis bill.  She injured her knee skiing with the repug govs…she also lost her fight on the death penalty.  A loser in her own party which rejects anything mexican and she fights for the wrong causes for the citizens of NM.  Thankfully, she is termed-out.

  12. As it stands now, many of us here, including me, believe Trump to be mentally disabled. Scholars, the Congress, and, most significantly, the Congressional Research Service have pondered the issue of succession specifically in the context of disability. Here is the summary of the CRS’s findings:

    Presidential Disability: An Overview
    (name redacted)
    Analyst in American National Government
    Government and Finance Division
    In the original document, Article II, section 1, clause 6 of the Constitution provided that, in the event of the President’s “Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties” of his office, “the Same shall devolve on the Vice President.” This language was superseded by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1967. Although there were several Instances of severe presidential disability between 1789 and 1967, no Vice President sought to assume the chief executive’s powers and duties during this period. Sections 3and 4 of the 25th Amendment currently govern cases of presidential disability. Under section 3, if the President declares (in a written declaration to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate) that he is disabled for any reason, the Vice President assumes his powers and duties as Acting President. Section 4 provides for cases in which the President may not be able to transmit a disability declaration. In these circumstances, the Vice President and the cabinet or “such other body as Congress may by law provide” (a disability review body) can, by majority vote, declare the President to be disabled. It also empowers the President to declare his disability ended, again by written declaration, and resume his powers and duties. If, however, the Vice President and a majority of either the cabinet or a disability review body, rule otherwise, then Congress decides the issue. A vote of two-thirds of both houses within 21 days is required to determine the President to be disabled and continue the disability; otherwise, he resumes his powers and duties. Neither section 3 nor section 4 has been invoked since the amendment was ratified. This report will be updated if events warrant. For information on sections 1 and 2 of the 25th Amendment, which provide for presidential succession, consult Presidential and Vice Presidential Succession, CRS Report 98-731 GOV

  13. Based on the CRS’ findings, I believe that there is no way that the President will be found disabled absent some major calamitous event. The criterion of mustering two-thirds of both houses of Congress to sustain the finding of disability is, IMO, insurmountable.

    We had better start seriously looking towards charging him with felonious assault against our Constitutional rights.

  14. BW – My Lady is in love with your pink fedora pussy cover! I dig it too. In fact, we might get one for each of us. Then when my health permits, we can get out to some protests properly and nattily covered.

  15. thank you, Mrs. Travis…summertime pussy hat.   Make pussy great again!

    and I had to wear sunglasses so you could not see the blood in my eyes….I was up late!

  16. I hope some read the above article I posted from the Register regarding thiel and bannon…these are the guys driving trump policy.   notice the war on libertarians — this is what will tear apart the congressional goppers as they are not in charge, but drunk with power anyway.

  17. Holy spud!  space potato cam.  Are martian fries a food of the future?  Eating on Mars…I remember commenting once that Mars was a great place to eat, but no atmosphere!

  18. BW – The sunglasses will definitely complete the look. I’m due for a new pair of aviators…perhaps for my birthday coming up next month. I see how this can become quite the fashion statement.

  19. one amendment I think essential to tack on to the trumpdontcare bill (aka ahca) is that no member (active or retired/former) of the house or senate be eligible to receive/be provided the health care benefits established for  the non–elected congressional and other federal employees and officers.  for healthcare insurance purposes they should be considered self-employed and on a par with other self-employed americans purchasing such insurance.   this may help to open their eyes to the real world they are about to impose on the rest of us.
    either that or give everybody the hc benefits they’ve been enjoying.

  20. speaking of hats
    ny times: Trump St. Patrick’s Day Hats Disappear After Shamrock Mix-Up
    St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us, and Team Trump would like you to know that for just $50 you can purchase a green “Make America Great Again” hat embroidered with a symbol that has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day.
    The hats went on sale last week in advance of the holiday, celebrated on March 17, and had a four-leaf clover — instead of a three-leaf shamrock — stitched on the back. A four-leaf clover is not a symbol of Ireland. It is just a plant.
    On Wednesday afternoon the hats disappeared from Mr. Trump’s online store….
    Social media users, especially those in Ireland — where Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular — were quick to pounce, as was the news media there. The Irish Independent, a popular daily newspaper, described the four-leaf clover as “a sugary, oat piece that you’ll find in a box of Lucky Charms cereal” that “has nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day or Ireland.”

    another case of alternative facts

  21. Why is this man Laughing?

    —Esquire Magazine

    now we know.     He could see into the future.

  22. While running around at lunch today I caught part of Ryan’s power point presentation on trumpdontcare to … wavering members of … his party?… drumpf?…. us?  Anywho, one thing was crystal clear from his “seminar” – he should from this day forth be called Lyin’ Ryan.  I haven’t heard so much bullshit being slung since drumpf’s address to Congress.

  23. cnn: FBI Director James Comey meets with Congress ‘Gang of Eight’

    FBI Director James Comey went to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with eight members of Congress who represent those who have access to the most highly classified intelligence information, a source told CNN.
    In the Senate, that includes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence committee, Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner respectively.
    The House members included House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and House Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff.
    As of 4:15 p.m., Comey has met with the Senate members and is planning to meet with the House members shortly.

    Warner told CNN that the Senate committee is getting access to classified intelligence usually reserved for the “Gang of Eight,” part of an effort to dig into the deeply into the issue of Russia’s meddling with the US election last year.

  24. I see on facebark that Kansas City is building “tiny village” for homeless vets.  I wonder how someone came up with the idea to do something decent.

  25. TrumpDon’tCare is a great name for the bill. Talk about making American Slogans Great Again, TrumpDon’tCare does it.

    Also, the rippers Act that allows mentally ill folks to buy guns should be called the Guns4Maniacs Act.

  26. Not a Borsalino, alas, but a Scala……hand made in Italy since 1921……then you flip the tag over and it says ” made in china”.


  27. Why was a Russian bank  looking up the contact information for an address registered to the Trump Organization?    This smells worse by the minute.

  28. Ms Dallas, Moscow’s Alpha Bank had a server that did only one thing, talk to a server at trump center in trump tower that only talked to Alpha Bank in Moscow. This servers’ exclusive romance may still be a hot item.
    Btw, you are on the right track, the problem of russian moles in the trump junta is the biggest issue by far.

  29. As little as 10 yrs ago I coulda faked it, but now there ain’t nothing but mush……..

  30. But if I were to write one……it would be about 1965 being such a momentous and pivotal year.

  31. In 65 we were working this joint on Savannah Hwy. for 30 bucks per night each for fri and sat, pretty good jack for a high school kid in 65……,,,called the Ole Heidelberg…..Douglas had just come back from Vietnam……

  32. Douglas, who had chosen sort of to remain in the seventh grade for several years rather than quit and have to go to work somewhere……

  33. If you’re bleeding to death & don’t have healthcare, the white bandana can be used as turnoquet.

    Sew them together to make  a death shroud.

    We surrender, already.

  34. xrep- Reports say that most activity to that Trump address was a bank in Russia & a medical entity owned by the DeVos family.   Hmmm.

  35. Sorry, Ms Dallas, I inadvertently lied. The trump server was apparently in Pennsylvania, not the black tower.

  36. Never met him, sturg, but caught him at the Oporto Armory – where I first saw Dwayne, Greg & Jaimoe. As you said, the rest is history.

  37. From Wapo

    Scott Pruitt, the nation’s top environmental official, strongly rejected the established science of climate change on Thursday, outraging scientists, environmentalists, and even his immediate predecessor at the Environmental Protection Agency.


  38. bid, re white bandanas, signaling surrender was my first tho’t.  they will come in handy tho’ as bandages and I can see protest performers using them for gags and ear plugs in honor of 1st amdt.

  39. pogo, sometimes you have to click on dashboard at upper left, copy your post in the quick draft box on far right, click “save draft”, then bring draft back up and click “submit for review”

    poobah might be stranded with only his phone and unable to copy your email to the trail. or maybe he’s being trump tortured with thumb screws right now.

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