By J. D. Heyes, editor-in-chief
(National Sentinel) Precedent: There have been rumblings and mumblings over the past week regarding special counsel Robert Mueller’s “threat” to subpoena President Donald J. Trump to ask him a set of inane questions that — if those leaked questions are accurate — have nothing to do with the original mandate of “Russian collusion.”
They mostly go to Trump’s state of mind and his emotional condition when he fired then-FBI Director James Comey, which, of course, was perfectly proper and legal under the Article II of the Constitution, which lists presidential powers.
But the Constitution doesn’t seem to be on the minds of too many people today who are making all sorts of comments and wild predictions about Trump’s ‘perilous’ state, especially on cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC, where hosts and guests seeth nightly about this or that latest Trumpism.
The Constitution matters, however, as does legal precedent and Justice Department policies — all of which are on the side of the president, regardless of what Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, and Chris Matthews think.
No one knows all of this better than former Reagan Justice Department official and constitutional expert Mark Levin, who has discussed this at length on his own radio and TV networks and in interviews with Fox News‘ Sean Hannity.
If you’re not conservative, that’s fine, but put aside your biases for a moment and read, think about, and absorb what Levin is saying because it applies not only to Trump but to all U.S. presidents.
Levin maintains that a sitting president is not above the law but that he also cannot be indicted, thanks to legal interpretations by the Justice Department spelled out in a series of memorandums, where were last updated in 2000 by the Clinton Justice Department.
In part, they state:
In 1973, the Department concluded that the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. We have been asked to summarize and review the analysis provided in support of that conclusion, and to consider whether any subsequent developments in the law lead us today to reconsider and modify or disavow that determination. We believe that the conclusion reached by the Department in 1973 still represents the best interpretation of the Constitution.
Mueller is an employee of the Justice Department and as even The New York Times acknowledged last year, thus subject to the department’s current rules, procedures, and guidelines. So if the department’s Office of Legal Counsel has determined that a president cannot be indicted, that’s off the table no matter what Mueller uncovers.
“So all this talk about whether Trump personally is under investigation for obstruction of justice, or whether Trump violated the law, it will never go to court … if Robert Mueller should seek to indict Trump, a sitting president, in the end, the Supreme Court would throw it out,” Levin said in June 2017.
Levin went through this again on Hannity’s program last month.
“What are we doing? Did they issue another memo over there at the Justice Department reversing these two memos during the Nixon administration and the Clinton administration? No,” Levin said.
He also gave Trump some legal advice.
“Mr. President, don’t sit down with this special counsel. This special counsel doesn’t have the power to indict you, and for good reason,” he said.
Some of those “good reasons” include the fact that presidents are unique in our system of government; they are the head of one of three branches of government and vital to its proper function.
In addition, indictments would place an undue burden on the office of the presidency and become a dangerous distraction, preventing him from fulfilling the functions and duties of his office. I made a similar argument last week when I argued that this “witch hunt” probe by Mueller has become a national security threat.
Also, indicting a president based upon the decision of a single federal court — over which the president has plenary power as head of the Executive Branch — would mean he is subject to the authority of a subordinate.
What’s more, as the Justice Department has explained and as legal and constitutional experts have argued, the indictment of a president is a legal act that, if successful, would ultimately overturn the will of the people and the results of a national election, something the framers never supported in any period writings.
So, as Levin and other experts note, the proper constitutional remedy is the removal of the president either by way of national election or impeachment, the latter of which should only be used in the most extreme cases. So far as we’ve seen reported, nothing that Trump has done rises to that level, in normal times.
But of course, these aren’t normal times; if they were, Mueller would never have been appointed.
What’s he trying to do, then? Surely — as a longtime employee of the Justice Department in various capacities over the years — he is aware of these policies.
What’s he doing?
His ‘investigation’ isn’t aimed at indicting the president.
His objective now is, in fact, to set up some smoke-and-mirrors ‘case’ against the president that would turn the public against him, tank his poll numbers, and give Congress the political cover to impeach him.
Yes, that’s a congressional option that isn’t supposed to be taken lightly or abused.
But such is the level of hatred for this president. The establishment and Deep State want to send the message to future “outsider” candidates, ‘Don’t even think about trying to run — you remember what we did to Trump and those close to him?’