Donald Trump and the Double-Plus Imperial Presidency

Remember this? Those were some good times, weren't they?Scott Stantis/Chicago Tribune

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It’s a slow Monday, so everybody is yakking about President Trump’s insistence that he can pardon himself and Rudy Giuliani’s insistence that Trump could gun down Robert Mueller at high noon and not be indicted for it. Whatever. But this is really the weird one:

Huh. If I recall correctly, it was Trump’s own Department of Justice that appointed Mueller. Or, as Trump now likes to call it, the Department of “Justice.” In any case, I wonder who filled his brain with the notion that appointing a special prosecutor is unconstitutional? Ronald Reagan tried this wheeze and was batted down by the Supreme Court 8-1. Scooter Libby tried it a few years ago and was also batted down. Was Dinesh D’Souza on Fox & Friends this morning or something?

Anyway, Trump and his surrogates have now variously claimed that:

  • He cannot be indicted for anything, even murder, while he’s in office.
  • Special prosecutors are unconstitutional.
  • The president can pardon himself.
  • The president, by definition, cannot obstruct justice because he is Justice.

In other imperial presidency news, Trump has claimed that he has effectively unlimited power to socialize industry in the name of national defense, as well as unlimited power to levy tariffs on the same grounds. Isn’t that something? Do you remember the days when Republicans were outraged about President Obama’s wanton seizure of power just because he decided not to prosecute and deport kids who were brought across the border when they were infants? Seems like decades ago. Today, the rule is simpler: as long as the president keeps sending over conservative judges for confirmation, the Constitution allows him to do anything he wants.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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