We can stop predicting arrival of a constitutional crisis
by Tom Sullivan
Marvel's heroes dissolved into dust in seconds. The Republican party is dissolving democracy just as publicly, but less noticeably because they are doing it over time and across states. Frogs and boiling water, the slow, steady dissolution of American democracy and the system of checks-and balances and separation of powers that has sustained it for generations goes unchecked.
Approaching five hundred former federal prosecutors have signed a statement asserting that Donald Trump's actions outlined in the Mueller report would precipitate multiple felony charges of obstruction if committed by any other American not the president. The list of former career prosecutors is extensive and bipartisan, the Washington Post reports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday notified House Democrats he would not deliver Donald Trump's business and personal tax returns House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) had requested under law. Mnuchin claimed it the request serves no legislative purpose and informed the committee the Department of Justice would issue a formal legal opinion justifying his action.
John Yoo once issued another legal opinion for the George W. Bush administration justifying torture.
House Democrats have drafted a resolution for holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report including supporting evidence. House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said, "The Attorney General’s failure to comply with our subpoena, after extensive accommodation efforts, leaves us no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings in order to enforce the subpoena and access the full, unredacted report." Nadler has scheduled a vote for Wednesday. The resolution reads in part:
The investigation into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Donald Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration and related concerns is being undertaken pursuant to the full authority of the Committee under Rule X(l) and applicable law. The purposes of this investigation include: 1) investigating and exposing any possible malfeasance, abuse of power, corruption, obstruction of justice, or other misconduct on the part of the President or other members of his Administration; 2) considering whether the conduct uncovered may warrant amending or creating new federal authorities, including among other things, relating to election security, campaign finance, misuse of electronic data, and the types of obstructive conduct that the Mueller Report describes; and 3) considering whether any of the conduct described in the Special Counsel’s Report warrants the Committee in taking any further steps under Congress’ Article I powers. That includes whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the President or any other Administration official, as well as the consideration of other steps such as censure or issuing criminal, civil or administrative referrals. No determination has been made as to such further actions, and the Committee needs to review the unredacted report, the underlying evidence, and associated documents so that it can ascertain the facts and consider our next steps.Former White House counsel Don McGahn faces a Tuesday deadline for furnishing the House Judiciary Committee with 36 sets of documents it subpoenaed. The White House may claim executive privilege to delay their release, possibly triggering another contempt citation.
But Republican lawmakers in several states have gone even further, using legislative majorities to strip constitutional authority from newly elected Democratic executives. Republicans in Kansas introduced legislation earlier this week that would strip the recently elected Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, of her power to fill vacancies in top state offices.In Wisconsin and in Michigan, Republicans passed laws aimed at preempting incoming Democrats on the council of state from undoing damage outgoing Republicans had wrought before them.