10.6 C
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
HomePoliticsManhattan grand jury votes to indict Donald Trump, proving that he, like...

Manhattan grand jury votes to indict Donald Trump, proving that he, like all other presidents, is not Imperial King


A grand jury in Manhattan voted on March 30, 2023 to indict former President Donald Trump for his alleged role in paying porn star Stormy Daniels hush money.

Trump attorney Joe Tacopina confirmed the charge.

The New York Times reported that it is not yet clear exactly what charges Trump faces, but a formal charge is likely to be issued in the coming days. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is the first prosecutor ever issue an indictment against a former president. Trump is still at the center of it several ongoing investigations with respect to other alleged criminal activity, including actions taken while in office.

American history is replete with presidents who have used their office to expand executive power.

Presidents are not kings. George Washington think about this distinctionsaying, “I’d rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.”

But American politicians and scientists of the presidency – me included – worried about it for a long time the idea of ​​an imperial presidencythat is, a president which seeks to exercise a level of control beyond what the Constitution requires.

Trump was just another example of a president pretending to be king by another name.

People protest in Manhattan in April 2022 demanding the indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Pablo Monsalve/VIEWpress

Expanding the role of the Presidency

While some early presidents, notably Andrew Jackson And abraham lincoln, as the executive branch expanded, most were limited by the dominance of the legislature in their time.

The growth of the executive branch in terms of size and power began in earnest in the 20th century.

Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court to overcome the opposition to him New Deal legislationa series of public works and spending projects in the 1930s.

Roosevelt wanted to add a justice for every existing judge on the court who did not retire at age 70 – but it was a transparent effort to change the composition of the court to further his agenda, and the Senate shot it down.

Richard Nixon decided to seize money authorized for programs simply because he disagreed. Nixon had vetoed the Amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 but was overruled by Congress. He… still withheld moneythat eventually culminated in a Supreme Court case in 1975in which the court ruled against Nixon.

Other presidents tried to influence more mundane aspects of life too much.

In August 1906, for example, Theodore Roosevelt an executive order issued forcing the Government Printing Office to adopt the new 300 word spelling – including “although” and “fixed” – to simplify them.

After widespread public criticism of this plan, Congress has voted to reject these proposed spelling improvements in 1906.

A black and white photo shows two men sitting opposite each other in armchairs.
Richard Nixon speaks with journalist David Frost in 1977, three years after Nixon resigned.
John Bryson/Getty Images

Trump’s turn

Trump’s actions and words during the presidency also suggest that he believed the office gave him overarching power.

This is how Trump reflected on his power over states to force them to reopen during the COVID-19 crisis, said in April 2020, “When someone is president of the United States, the authority is total.” But governors actually retained control over what remained open or closed in their states during the pandemic.

Trump has also treated the independent judiciary as an inferior branch of government, under his control.

“If it’s my judges, you know how they’re going to decide,” said Trump of its potential judicial appointees in 2016.

Chief Justice John Roberts rejected Trump’s view on the matter in 2018, saying: “We don’t have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. … What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges who are doing their utmost to give equal justice to those before them.”

It’s classified

There is a rigorous procedure when presidents decide to release information. This complex process means that all classified material is reviewed by the competent government agencies and experts of the National Archives.

But Trump claimed at one point all the documents he took home had already been released.

He later claimed, “There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it. … You are the President of the United States, you can release just by saying it has been released, even by thinking about it.

These comments underpin Trump’s belief in his absolute authority. There are specific procedures in place to manage declassification where no psychic forces are involved.

A real superpower

If the US presidents have one superpower, it is the power of pardon. US presidents can pardon people, and the legislature and judiciary cannot prevent it.

Past presidents have used pardons largely in the service of justice, but sometimes also to reward personal friends or connections. But Trump went even further, seemingly using this power as a way to do just that reward his loyal supporters – And says he will seriously consider pardoning the January 6, 2021 Capitol rioters if he is re-elected.

Trump apparently thought about that too assign itself pardoned as a way to avoid prosecution for his involvement in the Capitol bombing.

A self-forgiveness could also land any president in constitutionally troubled waters.

a 1919 Supreme Court ruling stated that a pardon “entails an imputation of guilt and acceptance of an admission of it”. So if Trump had forgiven himself for anything, he would have admitted to committing a crime — for which he may still be subject to impeachment or investigation under applicable state law, which is not covered by a presidential pardon.

People are seen in a large conference or other official-looking room, looking at a large projection screen detailing government pardons and January 6.
Private communications regarding presidential pardons are shown at a January 6, 2022 commission hearing.
Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images

After office

Trump has done just that since leaving office tried to claim post-presidential executive privilege, independent of the current administration. But President Joe Biden — who must first give Trump this privilege — never extended it to his predecessor.

Trump’s defense that he was allowed to store secret documents at Mar-a-Lago as a result of executive privilege largely unsuccessful in the courts.

Trump has also used his time as president to avoid lawsuits that arose after he left office.

In January 2023, a federal judge shot down Trump’s attempt to dismiss a 2022 defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, who says Trump raped her in the 1990s. Trump denied the rape in 2019.

In court, Trump argued that everything he said as president should be protected and he should be granted immunity during that time.

Although a ruling is still pending, Carroll pleaded in court that immunity would only apply if Trump was talking about presidential matters, not personal matters.

A white man in a blue suit walks past a row of American flags with the words
Former President Donald Trump speaks at an event at his Mar-a-Lago home in November 2022.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Everyone is held to the same rules

U.S. presidents serve a limited amount of terms before returning to the ranks of the general population.

Those privileged to hold the highest office in the US are still citizens. They are bound by the same laws as everyone else and, according to the founders, should never be held above them.

Throughout history, many presidents have pushed the boundaries of power for their own personal preferences or political gain. However, Americans have a right to push back and hold these leaders accountable before the laws of the land.

Presidents have never been monarchs. If they ever act that way, I believe people should remind them of who they are and who they serve.

Latest stories