Donald Trump’s counter-blast has astonished the United States of America and not the least because of its timing. And seldom in the country’s history has the presidency been mired in the kind of turmoil that it now contends with ~ two years after the presidential election and two days after the midterm convulsion.
The Democrats’ control of the House of Representatives has been greeted by the ebullient President with the dismissal of a pivotal figure in the structure of governance, such as it exists in Mr Trump’s America. The attorney-general, Jeff Sessions, has been removed and replaced with the Trump loyalist, Matthew Whitaker.
The objective is decidedly ulterior ~ to thwart the investigation into the Russian meddling in the Election 2016 to execute Vladimir Putin’s agenda to ensure Hillary Clinton’s defeat and Trump’s entry to the White House. As critical as probing the Kremlin’s interference in accord with special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, is to get to the bottom of last Thursday’s dismissal of Mr Sessions.
The incoming Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, has swiftly let it be known that the twin investigations”must begin immediately, and if not, then a Democratic Congress will make this a priority in January”. America must hope that the White House has got the message, one that has also been conveyed by top Republicans who have warned Trump that the Mueller inquiry must continue.
At issue is the fate of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. A once loyal Mr Sessions had recused himself from that inquiry, infuriating Trump who is now plainly unnerved by the renewed ascendancy of the Democrats in a segment of the US legislature. The President can scarcely be unaware that the investigators could let the cat out of the bag if the probe is carried to its logical conclusion.
The President has his back to the wall post the midterm election, and the dismissal of Mr Sessions is a desperate response of an equally desperate Head of State. It fits a clear pattern of Trump’s interference in the work of the Department of Justice and the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by Mr Mueller.
There is much that is at stake in the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature. And yet responsible presidency lies rather thin on the ground for the past two years. This is a constitutionally perilous moment for America and for its President. Well might Mr Trump imagine that he has the power to hire and fire whoever he pleases, but he cannot take such action if the hidden agenda is to subvert the rule of law and obstruct justice.
If he abuses his office in such a fashion, the implications will be dire. The House Judiciary Committee has compared President Trump’s actions to’a slow motion ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ ~ a reference to former President Richard Nixon’s 1973 move against the Watergate special prosecutor that triggered resignations before the prosecutor’s eventual dismissal.