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A threat to American democracy

Melvin B. Miller
A threat to American democracy
“The orders from the top are to let the Russians through.”

The most important task of the nation’s president is to be an effective commander-in-chief. When Hillary Clinton ran for office to become America’s first woman president, misogynistic critics mistakenly asserted that her gender prevented her from being effective in that role. However, Bob Mueller’s recent testimony on his federal investigation report indicates that Donald Trump’s ineptitude, even though he is male, has placed the whole country at great risk.

While Mueller’s presentation was not as dramatic as Democrats would have liked, he was lucid on Donald Trump’s passive response to the Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller concluded that Trump welcomed the interference by a foreign power into America’s democratic process. Mueller also reported that the Russians had interfered with the election to enable Trump to win. Mueller’s assertion was based on the findings of American intelligence agencies.

It should be of great concern to all Americans that Trump has rejected the conclusions of all the U.S. intelligence security agencies in favor of the insistence by Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, that his government did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

A possible reason for this bizarre relationship between the president of the United States and one of the country’s greatest adversaries is money. Mueller’s investigation disclosed an enormously lucrative real estate transaction in Moscow that involved Trump even as he was seeking the presidency. Trump was pursuing this venture even though the U.S. Constitution forbids the president from being involved in commercial transactions while he is in office. The president’s total concern is supposed to be the business of the people.

The Founding Fathers were well aware that the personal involvement in the world of business could induce the president to enhance his net worth at the expense of the people. For that reason, it has become a practice for candidates seeking high office to disclose their income tax returns, in order to enable voters to be aware of existing financial interests. Trump refused to do so in 2016 when he was a candidate. Voters accepted his demurral then, because the disclosure of a candidate’s taxes is not required by law.

However, the situation has changed now. There are several financial transactions that Congress has every right, in fact a duty, to investigate. In order to determine whether there have been violations of the “Emoluments Clause” of Section 9 of the Constitution that prevents the president from accepting any present from “… any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

Despite an unambiguous statute that enables Congress to demand and receive from the IRS the tax returns of any tax payer, Trump has ordered his Secretary of the Treasury to deny the congressional request. One wonders what information in his tax returns that Trump is trying to conceal. The Mueller Report cites several occasions when Trump was guilty of the crime of obstruction of justice.

Good criminal investigators believe in the strategy of following the money. Even Trump’s most ardent supporters should want to be assured that there is no evidence to suggest that Trump’s obsequious demeanor toward Putin has been financially rewarded.

Trump has shown little interest in preventing foreign digital intervention in America’s voting process. Unreliable elections will undoubtedly lead to the loss of citizens’ interest in democracy in America. The decline of democracy is cited by some experts as a Russian objective.

Far from protecting Americans from foreign invaders who now come with digital weapons, Trump has opened the door. He has failed to provide the protections expected of a commander-in-chief. Americans should be afraid. They should be very afraid. 

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