Trump’s coup d’etat to protect himself from Mueller should worry investors and businesses
The coup d’etat sprung by Donald Trump on Wednesday to protect himself from the Mueller probe ought to worry every investor, every businessman.
By firing Jeff Sessions and installing as acting attorney general a mediocre lackey whose only qualification is his willingness to stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible illegal activities by Trump’s campaign, family and friends, Trump has put one of America’s greatest accomplishments — the rule of law — in jeopardy.
Although our justice system is far from perfect, our capitalist system has been nurtured by the promise that no person and no company is beyond the law. Fair, merit-based competition is impossible in a corrupt system, where loyalty and tribute to the leader is the surest path to success.
Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government and others to illegally interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Indictment by indictment, guilty plea by guilty plea, Mueller has been patiently and professionally following the evidence, working his way up from the foot soldiers in this scheme to the top of the Trump campaign, including his son, Donald Trump Jr., who reportedly told friends that he expects to be indicted soon.
Our democracy — and our capitalist system — would be gravely wounded if the president could block Mueller’s independent investigation. No person, especially not a president, should control an investigation into allegations of misconduct by his associates.
This much is obvious: Trump fired Sessions and replaced him with a willing toady because he wants to stop the Mueller investigation. Trump has admitted this desire in public countless times, and now he has put someone in place who has promised to do what his president wishes. There is no mystery to this appointment.
Of course this is obstruction of justice, which is not only wrong, but also a “high crime and misdemeanor.” But who will stop the president from shutting down an investigation into credible allegations of criminal activity by his close associates (and perhaps by himself as well)?
Will the courts step up and let justice proceed, unencumbered by the selfish desires of a conflicted president? Or, as Newt Gingrich so eloquently put it, will we see if the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the Supreme Court was worth it?
Kavanaugh, you remember, has written that the president needn’t comply with the law. And he also pointedly refused to promise to recuse himself if this issue came before the court. We can only pray that, of the many, many lies Kavanaugh told in his confirmation hearing, this was one of them.
Will the Congress take its obligation to defend the Constitution seriously? It’s doubtful. The House is still controlled by supine Republicans until January, while the Republican majority in the Senate was expanded in this week’s midterm elections. Remember, it would take two-thirds of the Senate — 67 senators — to convict.
Even if the incoming blue-wave House found a smoking gun in Trump’s hand, would it have the courage to act, knowing that the Republicans in the Senate would never — as Barry Goldwater did with Richard Nixon — abandon their leader, even if the evidence were undeniable? Knowing that a vote for impeachment would further inflame our political divisions?
Yes, this is a constitutional crisis. But it’s also a moral crisis, particularly for business leaders who held their nose and averted their eyes to the reality of Trump’s disdain for the law and for the norms of society. The tax cuts and deregulation, you see, made up for everything else — the coarse discourse, the corruption of his Cabinet, the bumbling trade wars, the neutering of the intelligence community and the justice system, the shakedown of businesses who seek exemptions from his tariffs, the raw racism of his politics.
At what point, we have to wonder, would the U.S. Chamber of Commerce break with Trump?
The Chamber is the premiere institution representing big business in Washington. Its headquarters has the prime real estate in Washington, right across Lafayette Square from the White House.
Big business likes some aspects of Trump’s takeover of the U.S. government: the lower taxes, the lighter hand of the regulator, the defense contracts.
But big business also knows that the darker aspects of Trumpism are toxic to prosperity. Kleptocracy weakens a vibrant win-win capitalist economy and replaces it with a kind of feudalism found in the stagnant, “shithole” parts of the world ruled by the tinpot dictators that Trump identifies with. You can get fabulously rich in such places, but you always have to watch your back, because you never know when it’ll be your turn to rot in a prison cell. Just ask Prince Al-waleed bin Talal.
Big business also knows that blatant racism isn’t good for business. Big business is slowly learning, the hard way, that embracing diversity is profitable as well as proper. It knows that America has always benefited from the flow of immigrants, who bring fresh blood, boundless energy, new ideas, new companies, and new customers for new markets. And that giving opportunities to women, African-Americans, Muslims, gays and lesbians, and others isn’t bleeding-heart charity, it’s smart management.
For months, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has displayed two large banners on the sidewalk facing the White House that celebrate the economic virtues of diversity and immigration. It’s a kind of in-your-face rebuke to Trump, who lives right across the way.
In an image that could have been lifted right out of a United Colors of Benetton ad, a collage of multihued faces from the past and present floats above the headline: AMERICA. BUILT BY DREAMERS.
I have a question or two for the big businesses in the Chamber of Commerce: Can America be built by a corrupt and racist president? And when will you back up your own beliefs and repudiate someone who’s bound to destroy everything that we’ve created?
Source: Read Full Article