In order to do everything possible to remove President Donald Trump from power, Congressional Democrats have waged an incessant war on the presidency and Article II of the Constitution itself, taking actions clearly authorized under law — on travel restrictions, the wall, targeting terrorists and engaging in diplomacy — and rendering them as offenses, if not against the law, then against their sensibilities.
And it is harming America.
When President Trump imposed travel restrictions on certain terrorist hot spots in 2017, even though presidents have the power to impose such restrictions under 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), it was an instant ticket to federal court before President Trump was vindicated by the Supreme Court in 2018, as the restrictions were upheld as constitutional and legal.
Same story with the President’s decision to reprogram $6.7 billion of military construction monies to build the wall on the southern border. That was another ticket to federal court for something the President clearly has the power to do under 10 U.S. Code § 2808(a). Ultimately, President Trump prevailed in Congress and in the Supreme Court legally on that question too, and about 500 miles of new and repaired wall will be done by the end of 2020.
There was also the President’s inquiry to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the state of a corruption probe in Ukraine against corrupt natural gas firm Burisma whose head awarded natural gas rights to himself during the Yanukovych administration that was terminated early when former Vice President Joe Biden had the prosecutor fired in 2016 who says he was looking into the company that Biden’s son served on the Board of Directors.
Here, Democrats sought to have President Trump removed from office, even though profiting off of Ukrainian oligarchs who served in the Yanukovych administration and stole funds is prohibited under Under 22 U.S.C. Section 8904(a) and might be cause to return any profiteering from the company if it is found to be corrupt: “The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, shall assist, on an expedited basis as appropriate, the Government of Ukraine to identify, secure, and recover assets linked to acts of corruption by Viktor Yanukovych, members of his family, or other former or current officials of the Government of Ukraine or their accomplices in any jurisdiction through appropriate programs, including the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative of the Department of Justice.”
In addition, the U.S. and Ukraine have a mutual legal assistance treaty, signed in 1998, that provides for each country to assist the other in legal matters. Meaning, the President was well within the four corners of the law to ask Zelensky about the state of the investigation into Burisma to ensure that it was not cut short as a political favor to Biden in 2016.
Even the targeting of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani as a legitimate military target in Iraq is being legally challenged, even though Congress authorized the use of military force in Iraq in 2002 that has still not been rescinded. Just because somebody is not native to Iraq does not mean they cannot be targeted in Iraq if they are waging war against U.S. and Iraqi forces there. The President was well within his legal authority to target Soleimani.
Congress is busy passing a resolution that would seek to prevent the President from taking further actions against Iran, unless Congress has acted to authorize such actions, which it has in Iraq, rendering such a resolution moot.
President Trump will veto the measure, but even if he didn’t, the targeting of Soleimani would have still been legal under the resolution because Congress still has not rescinded the authorization to use force in Iraq.
To the extent that Iran continues to engage in hostilities in Iraq — which the Pentagon has for years determined Soleimani and Iran were engaged in — the President is fully within his rights to defend U.S. forces.
The war on the President has also reached diplomacy. When President Trump had high level talks with Russian President Vladmir Putin, something all prior presidents have done in communicating with Russian heads of state, it is not the legitimate exercise of diplomacy, but high treason because Democrats falsely convinced themselves that Trump was a Manchurian candidate recruited by Putin himself to do his bidding.
Never mind that U.S. and Russian presidents need to talk to one another if about nothing else then about the thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at one another and keeping us out of an unintentional war. All that is now undermined because Democrats refuse to dignify and legitimize President Trump by suggesting he has the power to engage in such talks, which he clearly does under Article II of the Constitution.
Now, a lot of this can be talked up to the separation of powers and what to expect to a certain extent when you have mixed government with a president in one party and a chamber of Congress run by the other party. But it appears to have gone far beyond that. Democrats want to ensure that Republican presidents cannot do the things that Democratic presidents can do legally. The government is only allowed to function when they are in charge, otherwise all bets are off — even if that means disenfranchising 63 million people who voted for Trump.
Future presidents, especially Republican ones, could be weakened if Trump does not prevail in this struggle. All of which makes 2020 a crucial election as time will tell if the American people take this opportunity to repudiate this assault on the Presidency itself, or if they will succumb to it.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.