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User Info: darkknight109

darkknight109
4 weeks ago#231
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

It's actually an open question as to whether or not he is.

The Department of Justice has a standing policy that they don't indict sitting presidents, but that is simply a policy - it's not law, and no one has ever tried to indict a sitting president to see if it's legal. The constitution is mum on the matter - there's no mention of a president specifically being immune from prosecution (although the fact that it specifically mentions that the remedy for "high crimes against the state" is impeachment, not indictment, could be construed to mean that the framers did intend for that, rather than standard law enforcement, to be the remedy for a president who ran afoul of the law).

The most convincing argument I've heard arguing for presidential immunity from prosecution is one that I believe was originally published in an Office of Legal Counsel memo and which touches on a highly philosophical concept but which nonetheless manages to produce a compelling case. Consider the question: where does the right to rule the people come from? In the old monarchies, the most common answer to that question was Divine Mandate - that God Himself had imbued the rulers of nations with divine lineage that granted them His authority in their rulership (which, when you think about it, is actually a pretty solid rationale, as long as you buy the underlying argument). The US was one of the first nations in the modern era to cast off that idea and propose a different one: that the power to rule was granted by the people themselves.

If you accept that then it's also worth acknowledging that the President and Vice President hold a particularly notable distinction as the only two officials directly elected by the entire electorate (Congress as a body can also claim that distinction, but individual congresspeople cannot). That makes them the most concrete expression of the people's will, a manifestation of the right to rule as granted by the electorate. With that in mind, the argument goes that the will of the people cannot and should not be overturned by an (unelected) prosecutor and grand jury; the only body with concordant authority to remove the President or Vice President is Congress, which is similarly imbued with the electoral will of the people.

That being said, while the President's immunity (or lack thereof) to prosecution has never been tested in court, related concepts have and none of it bodes well for advocates of presidential immunity.
-In Nixon v. Fitzgerald, Nixon argued that he was immune from civil suit for actions undertaken in office. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that while he was immune for civil damages, he was not immune from criminal charges stemming from official or unofficial acts while in office (this doesn't answer the question of whether or not a *sitting* president can be charged, given that Nixon was no longer the president at the time).
-In Clinton v. Jones, Clinton similarly argued total immunity from civil suit while he was in office. The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that he enjoyed no immunity for any actions done before taking office, nor was he entitled to temporary immunity for the duration of his presidency (i.e. anyone who wanted to sue him did not have to wait until he was out of office).
-Finally, and most damningly, in Nixon v. United States, Nixon made several arguments that he basically enjoyed complete immunity from investigation and prosecution, save for impeachment proceedings, and thus was not required to comply with a judicial subpoena for the Watergate tapes. This was rejected unanimously by the Supreme Court.

Basically, the court has repeatedly affirmed the basic principle that no one is above the law and, based on the precedents above, that appears to apply to the president too.
Kill 1 man: You are a murderer. Kill 10 men: You are a monster.
Kill 100 men: You are a hero. Kill 10,000 men, you are a conqueror!
(edited 4 weeks ago)

User Info: streamofthesky

streamofthesky
4 weeks ago#232
If I recall correctly, that Justice Dept. memo was written by Clinton's Justice Dept. while he was being scrutinized for the scandal of...having an affair. So the whole thing comes across as sketchy when it comes to being an authoritative legal decision.

As for impeachment being the intended remedy by the people who wrote the Constitution...maybe. Can't really be asserted for sure. But those same people also never intended to end up with two all-powerful political parties that exist just to oppose each other. Washington specifically warned about the formation of political parties in his Presidential exit speech. But we do have that now, and it's become quite clear that at least for Republicans, they're so irreparably polarized that they'd protect a criminal President from impeachment. Since it takes a super-majority to impeach a president, that situation effectively makes him immune to repercussions. You argue the founders didn't intend for law enforcement to straight up arrest a sitting president. I argue they didn't intend for Congress to shield the president from punishment for any possible wrongdoing, either.

I'd agree with your point about the President and VP being elected by the will of the people -- if it was decided by national popular vote and not the electoral college, in which case you can have the majority of the populace hate the President and VP and feel they don't represent their political positions on nearly anything.

Again, great analysis. Just some points in it I take issue with...

User Info: BlackScythe0

BlackScythe0
4 weeks ago#233
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

And if he is above the law until his term expires, then we go back to my crazy hypothetical (but w/ Trump...could happen) of him directing Air Force One to drop him off in Moscow in January 2021 then leave without him. Even being so brazen as to liquefy as many of his assets as possible and move them to overseas accounts in the lead up to it. Sure, he'd still lose a lot of money, but it beats going to jail.


I don't think Russia would agree to that. Their intentions are to cause chaos in the US, which they are doing with Trump. If Trump does something that is just blatantly treasonous even if some of his 33% still think he is just escaping the deep state, I have to hope it will wake up at least some of them from their delusion.

Russia doesn't win by protecting him, I feel like they would benefit more from having Trump be a martyr. Sitting in prison doing interviews trying to fire up his base.

User Info: Doctor Foxx

Doctor Foxx
4 weeks ago#234
BlackScythe0 posted...
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

And if he is above the law until his term expires, then we go back to my crazy hypothetical (but w/ Trump...could happen) of him directing Air Force One to drop him off in Moscow in January 2021 then leave without him. Even being so brazen as to liquefy as many of his assets as possible and move them to overseas accounts in the lead up to it. Sure, he'd still lose a lot of money, but it beats going to jail.


I don't think Russia would agree to that. Their intentions are to cause chaos in the US, which they are doing with Trump. If Trump does something that is just blatantly treasonous even if some of his 33% still think he is just escaping the deep state, I have to hope it will wake up at least some of them from their delusion.

Russia doesn't win by protecting him, I feel like they would benefit more from having Trump be a martyr. Sitting in prison doing interviews trying to fire up his base.

If you want to get into that, Russia would really love Trump to defect to their state. Could you imagine a US President that betrayed his country and left for Russia? That would be a thing beyond what they could have hoped for years ago. At this point I can't rule out Trump fleeing prosecution.
Never write off the Doctor!

User Info: Doctor Foxx

Doctor Foxx
4 weeks ago#235
The worst attorneys

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426202-guiliani-says-trump-might-have-talked-to-cohen-about-his-testimony-so

Getting it in front of the non story? The Buzzfeed leak may have been pretty close to the mark
Never write off the Doctor!

User Info: streamofthesky

streamofthesky
4 weeks ago#236
Doctor Foxx posted...
BlackScythe0 posted...
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

And if he is above the law until his term expires, then we go back to my crazy hypothetical (but w/ Trump...could happen) of him directing Air Force One to drop him off in Moscow in January 2021 then leave without him. Even being so brazen as to liquefy as many of his assets as possible and move them to overseas accounts in the lead up to it. Sure, he'd still lose a lot of money, but it beats going to jail.


I don't think Russia would agree to that. Their intentions are to cause chaos in the US, which they are doing with Trump. If Trump does something that is just blatantly treasonous even if some of his 33% still think he is just escaping the deep state, I have to hope it will wake up at least some of them from their delusion.

Russia doesn't win by protecting him, I feel like they would benefit more from having Trump be a martyr. Sitting in prison doing interviews trying to fire up his base.

If you want to get into that, Russia would really love Trump to defect to their state. Could you imagine a US President that betrayed his country and left for Russia? That would be a thing beyond what they could have hoped for years ago. At this point I can't rule out Trump fleeing prosecution.

Yeah, I think there's value in Russia's eyes once the jig is up anyway, to have Trump flee there and just rub it in the U.S.'s face that they elected a con man acting as a foreign agent. As long as they have nukes, we're not gonna attack them. And it would do permanent, irreparable damage to our psyche and belief in our democratic institutions.
Whether he's convicted in a court of law and rotting in jail or hanging out in Moscow, at that point any rational person will accept that he is a traitor, and any of his die-hard supporters will never let go of their delusions. He can do more interviews free in Russia than he can imprisoned in the US, and still claim to be a victim of the deep state. You really think one situation or the other makes a difference to the 1/3 of this country that will believe everything he says forever?

User Info: OhhhJa

OhhhJa
4 weeks ago#237
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

I think a lot of the reason for that is because the country wants to save face. It doesnt exactly look good when you have to impeach and remove someone for corruption and potential treason. It makes the country look weak

User Info: Doctor Foxx

Doctor Foxx
4 weeks ago#238
OhhhJa posted...
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

I think a lot of the reason for that is because the country wants to save face. It doesnt exactly look good when you have to impeach and remove someone for corruption and potential treason. It makes the country look weak

Looks a lot weaker keeping a compromised national leader to save face
Never write off the Doctor!

User Info: OhhhJa

OhhhJa
4 weeks ago#239
Doctor Foxx posted...
OhhhJa posted...
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

I think a lot of the reason for that is because the country wants to save face. It doesnt exactly look good when you have to impeach and remove someone for corruption and potential treason. It makes the country look weak

Looks a lot weaker keeping a compromised national leader to save face

Not if you can brush it under the rug

User Info: Doctor Foxx

Doctor Foxx
4 weeks ago#240
OhhhJa posted...
Doctor Foxx posted...
OhhhJa posted...
streamofthesky posted...
Yeah, I really don't like the idea that the president is above the law for as long as he holds office.
No one should be above the law, period.

I think a lot of the reason for that is because the country wants to save face. It doesnt exactly look good when you have to impeach and remove someone for corruption and potential treason. It makes the country look weak

Looks a lot weaker keeping a compromised national leader to save face

Not if you can brush it under the rug

If anyone notices you, it changes things. People are watching America with the broom
Never write off the Doctor!
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