The current crisis has been unfolding since the waning days of the 2016 campaign, when Trump refused to say whether he’d be bound by the election results if Hillary Clinton won.
It continued through March 4, 2017, when Trump claimed, without evidence, that Obama had wiretapped his phones in the Trump Tower during the campaign.
It deepened in May 2017, when, by his own admission, Trump was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he decided to fire FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading the bureau’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and then admitted to Russian officials that firing Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him “because of Russia,” according to a document summarizing the meeting.
A constitutional crisis becomes especially dangerous when a president of the United States tells the public it cannot trust the government of the United States.
Over the last few weeks, Trump has done just this.
First he accuses the FBI of sending a spy to secretly infiltrate his 2016 campaign “for political purposes.” Then he “demands” that the FBI investigate the spying — resulting in the Justice Department sharing portions of the FBI investigation with Trump’s allies in Congress.
Trump blames the entire Mueller investigation on a conspiratorial “deep state” intent on removing him from office. He uses pardons to demonstrate to those already being investigated that they shouldn’t cooperate because he can pardon them, too.
He claims he has the absolute right to pardon himself and can thereby immunize himself from any outcome, and he asserts that he has the power under the Constitution to end the investigation whenever he wants.
The only legal way to constrain Trump is to vote for a Congress this November that will stand up to him. And then, in November 2020, vote him and his regime out of office.
If he refuses to accept the results of that election, as he threatened to do if he lost the 2016 election, he will have to be forcefully removed from office.
Friends, we are no longer trying to avert a constitutional crisis. We are living one. The question is how to stop it from destroying what’s left of our democracy.