What if Donald Trump does the unthinkable and fires Rod Rosenstein or Jeff Sessions or Robert Mueller; or all three? What if he tosses the Constitution into the crapper and flushes 242 years of what makes America truly great — our rule of law — down the sewer?
What if Trump, assuming the mien and mantle of a dictator/tin-pot tyrant, believes himself to be above the law and actually tries to end multiple, legally constituted investigations?
Let’s begin this contemplation with what the Founding Fathers said in the Declaration of Independence about tyrants (like Trump), “A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Firing Mueller, Rosenstein or Sessions is the act of a tyrant, and makes Trump unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
So I ask, good reader: What are you going to do about it?
For sure, his 30-percent base will applaud and cheer his lawlessness as they watch Fox News praise him with dog-whistles.
Congressional Republicans will do nothing. Sure, they’ll wring their hands, say a few vague, well-chosen words, and then cower in the corner.
Congressional Democrats will invent new words and rock the Richter scale, voicing their abhorrence of his actions. But in the end, they are powerless — until after the mid-terms.
And people, millions of people, will take to the streets in rage and fear, protesting the degradation of our democracy and calling on their elected representatives to do their duty to “Protect and Defend” the Constitution.
So I ask you again, dear reader, what will you do?
I know I will rage and rant and roar in protest and defiance over the destruction of principles I cherish.
I’ll march; and the last time I marched for anything was in uniform, with a rifle on my shoulder, in readiness to defend my country. Looks like I’ll be marching again, but this time carrying a sign, not a weapon. And I’ve discovered — in Edmonds, Everett, Shoreline, Lynnwood, on Bainbridge Island, in Bellevue, and Seattle — sites already identified as rallying points should Trump commit this unspeakable act.
I will also return to political action, contributing time and money to elect worthies who oppose Trump, oppose Trumpism, and promise to defend the Constitution. And of course, I’ll vote. (I thought I’d done enough in the years I worked in and for good government, so I “retired” and passed the torch on to another generation. I was mistaken. One can never retire from guarding against the likes of Donald Trump.)
Now some readers might ask, “Why now? Let’s wait and see what happens.” But friends, when it happens it will be too fast and too late for dithering. Now is the time to plan ahead, like planning for a disaster, because firing Rosenstein or Sessions to fire Mueller is a constitutional disaster unlike anything seen in this country since Richard Nixon.
Because this is a conscious, deliberate act; a repudiation of the rule of law. Trump and his goons are contriving to discredit the FBI, the Department of Justice, and honorable men and women. Trump will do anything; say anything; destroy anyone who threatens to expose him to the world, the law be damned.
I watched Donald Trump last Monday and saw a man at the periphery of control, acting frantic, rabid, near-irrational. But his words and body language gave us a true picture of a man who should not be in control of nuclear weapons.
He said, of the FBI’s seizure of Cohen’s records, “It’s a disgrace; it’s frankly a real disgrace; it’s an attack on our country in a true sense.”
No, it isn’t. Not in any sense. It is a legal process, a lawful process, undertaken by federal prosecutors (led by a Trump appointee), approved at DOJ’s D.C. headquarters (also led by Trump appointees) and authorized by an impartial federal magistrate, after DOJ lawyers showed legally sufficient probable cause for a warrant. It wasn’t an attack. It was the rule of law in operation.
And Donald Trump is not “our country;” he’s not even president for a majority of the American people. If he feels under attack, well, maybe he should. But he’s ignored the real attack, where the Russians hacked our elections. And he’s ignoring the coming attack, when the Russia will try it again.
Some believe this a “witch hunt,” and Trump’s bleat, “They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia, the reason they found it is there was no collusion at all. No collusion.”
But that’s a lie. Collusion hasn’t been identified because the investigations aren’t over. No one, not even congressional Republicans, have pronounced there’s “No collusion.”
I did, however, hear one encouraging Trump statement last Monday. He said, “We’ll see what happens.” We will indeed.
Tom Burke’s email address is email@example.com.