I lived through one. A constitutional crisis that is. It resulted in the resignation of a president (Nixon). And now it appears we’ll be living through another one, except this one will be worse.
All along, I’ve thought President Trump would fire the special counsel if there was any wrongdoing in Mr. Trump’s past. There is no way I could be sure there was any wrongdoing, although, based on what we know about Mr. Trump’s character, it seemed likely there would be skeletons in the closet. But there’s no way to be certain.
Suspicions have been heightened, of course, by Mr. Trump himself. Over the past year, he certainly has acted like someone who’s guilty of something. I’ve represented some bad actors in my day, but I’ve never had anyone act so guilty as our president has acted these past 14 months.
And then this weekend unfolded. First, Mr. Trump’s lawyer called for the firing of the special counsel. That’s bizarre behavior for any lawyer. The only explanation is that he was instructed to float this trial balloon by his client. And, to no one’s surprise, it’s didn’t take long for that to become obvious.
On Saturday evening, Mr. Trump tweeted this:
The president followed this up the next day (Sunday morning) with three tweets attacking the F.B.I. One of his tweets cited Fox and Friends as supporting authority. (Yes, that’s what we’ve come to.)
It’s obvious the president is feeling the heat. And it’s just as apparent he thinks he or his family are in deep trouble should the special counsel be permitted to complete his investigation. Therefore, it seems equally apparent to me that it’s only a matter of time before the president has the special counsel fired, thereby triggering a constitutional crisis. The alternative is to do nothing and allow the justice system to do its work. But if one fears that means jail or impeachment, the risks associated with firing the special counsel are worth it.
The only thing that might keep him in check would be a Republican leadership that would not countenance such shenanigans. And I suspect that’s what this weekend’s tweets were designed to test. Not surprisingly, the Republican leadership resembled crickets. They’re a pathetic bunch. They care more about power and their own political fortunes than the country.
In short, I have no expectation the Republican House of Representatives will do anything to stop a constitutional crisis, which is more likely today than it was last week at this time. If anything is to be done, it will have to await a change of control of the House next January, assuming the electorate choses to throw out those who are complicit and install the opposition party. If they don’t, then nothing will be done.
But even if nothing is done, the crisis will not be contained. It will trigger a correction in or collapse of the stock market and possibly the bond market, too. It may even trigger a recession, although I’m less certain of that. There will be a myriad of other consequences, both domestically and in foreign affairs. Adversaries will be emboldened by a U.S. government in a state of crisis. For all intents and purpose, the Trump presidency will be over. But we might have to live through several more years of it just the same.
Most of us don’t have any say over what happens with Mr. Trump, the economy, or stock market, but we do have say over how we choose to invest our savings. And whom we vote for. But that process takes time to unfold. Constitutional crises don’t wait. They happen in real time. And on their own schedule.
Don’t be surprised if one is coming our way. Soon.
P.S. 3/19/18 – This morning’s tweet from the child king:
P.S. # 2 – It has only just begun.