“Democrats investigating Trump firing of State Department watchdog”
News 5 WCVB
By Matthew Lee, AP Diplomatic Writer, May 16, 2020
“The ouster is the latest in a series of moves against independent executive branch watchdogs who have found fault with the Trump administration.”
“Democrats in Congress immediately cried foul, with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee suggesting that Linick was fired in part in retaliation for opening an unspecified investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
“’If Inspector General Linick was fired because he was conducting an investigation of conduct by Secretary Pompeo, the Senate cannot let this stand,’ said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. ‘The Senate Foreign Relations Committee must get to bottom of what happened here.’”
“Trump’s emergency powers worry some senators, legal experts”
Deb Riechmann, Associated Press, May 16, 2020
The concern raised in this article is when a national emergency is declared, dozens of statutory authorities be available to the President. President Trump was mistaken when he claimed that he has total authority over State Governors in deciding when their State country should “Open Up”. The Constitution does not give this authority to the President, even during a national emergency.
This so alarmed 10 Senators that they requested the see this administration’s Presidential Emergency Action Documents, which should clearly spell out the authorities that the President believes he has. There is increasing concern that the President doesn’t accept Constitutional limits on his power. An example of one such overreach occurred when, by proclaiming a national emergency, he took 3.6 Billion from military construction to build a southern border wall. Allocating money and determining its use is a responsibility of the Congress.
“Will the Supreme Court crown Trump king?”
By: Damon Linker, Senior Correspondent at TheWeek.com, May 13, 2020
“The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in three cases touching on presidential immunity from congressional and grand jury investigations. If a majority of the justices side with the sweeping arguments made by Justice Department lawyers — and even more so if they are persuaded by the especially radical claims put forth by President Trump’s personal attorneys — then the U.S. will have taken a big step toward elevating the presidency into a monarchical office. In this new world, the president would not only be, in effect, an elected king. He would also be a king with two bodies — more like the absolute rulers of pre-modern Europe than the head of one of three co-equal branches in a system of republican government.”
The article points out how close we are to giving the President kingly powers. If the Supreme Court decides in the favor of the President, the Congress will have no power to prevent the President from criminal activity. It will not be able to perform its constitutionally mandated congressional oversight.
Read the full article: https://theweek.com/articles/914093/supreme-court-crown-trump-king
“Lawsuit Seeks Removal Of Trump Lands Appointees”
By Kirk Siegler, May 11, 2020
“In a federal lawsuit filed Monday, conservation groups allege the Trump administration’s continued use of temporary appointees to lead large federal lands agencies is a violation of federal law and the Constitution’s “advice and consent” clause.
The suit, filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility or PEER and the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project, takes aim at the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. Neither agency has had permanent, Senate-confirmed directors during the entire Trump presidency.
“They’re just freewheeling around the Constitution and allowing these lower level political appointees to be running the show,” says Peter Jenkins, senior counsel at PEER.”
Read the full article: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/11/854067337/lawsuit-seeks-removal-of-trump-lands-appointees
“How Trump Has Filled High-Level Jobs Without Senate Confirmation Votes”
By: Joel Rose, March 9, 2020
There’s the deputy director exercising the authority of director for the National Park Service, and the senior official performing the duties of the director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
This is how President Trump is filling dozens of high-level jobs in the federal government without Senate confirmation. The administration leaves key jobs vacant at a given agency, while delegating the authority of those positions down to subordinates who do not need to be confirmed or even nominated for the jobs.
Trump has often said he likes installing “acting” officials because it gives him more flexibility. His administration has been sued over this, and recently lost a court case over the practice, when a federal judge found that it hired a top immigration official unlawfully.
Federal Judge Randolph Moss ruled last week that the Trump administration violated the VacanciesAact when it filled the top job at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In that case, the administration hired immigration hardliner Ken Cuccinelli for a job that didn’t previously exist, then immediately promoted him to run the entire agency as Acting Director.
Read the full article: How Trump Has Filled High-Level Jobs Without Senate Confirmation Votes
“The clock is ticking on President Trump’s temporary appointments”
The Washington Post
By Mitchell Robertson, Ph.D. candidate at Oxford University, January 17, 2019
“Earlier this month, President Trump said he was “in no hurry” to appoint Cabinet secretaries, telling the media that “I like acting [secretaries].” And he does. Six of the 24 Cabinet-level positions are held by temporary appointees.”
“Trump — untutored in the ways of government and accustomed to the autonomy to hire and fire granted by the private sector — sees temporary appointees as a more efficient option that puts more power in his hands. They are quicker to make and do not require congressional oversight. And they seem to come at no cost to Trump’s agenda: With positions such as the Interior Department secretary and the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Trump can safely advance his deregulatory goals, weakening government oversight of the environment through these acting appointees.”
“… the Constitution unequivocally granted the Senate an “advise and consent” role in key executive appointments. This “considerable and salutary restraint,” as Alexander Hamilton described it, provides a critical check on presidential power. Without it, the Founders’ check on presidential “favoritism” and the appointment of “unfit characters” would be eroded, and much of the balance between legislative and executive would be thrown off.”
“Congress Desperately Needs to Call Out Trump’s Authoritarianism”
By: John Nichols, April 21, 2020
“His claims of monarchical powers don’t just politicize the Covid-19 fight. They also threaten our constitutional democracy. Donald Trump’s disregard for the Constitution has been evident from the day he took office. Yet the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis that extends from it have seen Trump go to new and exponentially more troubling extremes. The president is twisting the founding document and the laws of the land to fit with a warped world view in which he imagines himself as precisely the sort of monarchical leader that the initiators of the American experiment sought to avoid.”
Read the full article: https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/congress-trump-authoritarianism-tweet/