Teri Kanefield
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (UC Berkeley) My threads are here: terikanefield-blog.com/ NBC News Opinion contributor Impeachment notes: impeachment-trump.com/ Nov. 01, 2019 2 min read

(Thread) The Institutions are Holding Out

This morning's thread is already long (I don't know how many people made it to the end) but I'll expand on this and explain what it really means to say the institutions are holding strong.

It means people don't give up their power . . .

1/ Let's take the idea that the Supreme Court stuffed with right wingers will allow Trump to become a dictator.

Right now, Supreme Court justices have a lot of power, more than a lot of people realize. (1/3 of the government is divided only 9 ways)

2/ If, say, SCOTUS rules that nobody can hold the president accountable, what would stop the president from having someone murder a Supreme Court justice? He could wink at the crime, order the DOJ to bury the evidence, obstruct Congress, pardon himself and pardon the murderer.

3/ If the Supreme Court allow Trump to do what he pleases and says he isn't accountable, the justices, instead of being powerful, would be at the mercy of his tantrums.

They're not going to do that.

Checks and balances and federalism means its that power is spread around.

4/ Prosecutors, for example, have a lot of power.

In autocracies, the autocrat decides who to investigate and prosecute.

A democratic institution is that prosecutors decide.

They are used to having power.

Maybe one or two oddballs (like Barr) are willing to give it up. . .

5/ . . . and enable a dictator, but enough will push back. Look at the SDNY, for example.

Career diplomats also have power.

The reason those career diplomats are marching to Congress to testify against Giuliani and Trump is because Trump and Giuliani sidelined them . . .

6/ . . . they tried to strip their power away.

When Trump held back the security aid to Ukraine he was stripping Congress of its power.

States also have a lot of power. For example, states control their own elections. Elections are not monitored nationally.

7/ States, prosecutors, diplomats, Congress, federal judges have power.

Trump is trying to take power from all of them and they're resisting.

That's what it means to say the "institutions" are holding out.
They'll clearly hold out another year.

But probably not 4 more.

This is precsely why we are in a crisis.
I've been saying the problem isn't [just] Trump.
The problem is that Trump is being shielded by a major political party.
Had the GOP done what it should have, in 2017, at the first sign that Trump was. . .

. . . in cahoots with the Russians, the GOP members of Congress would have held meaningful investigations.

Instead, they shielded a lawbreaking president—which, of course, is because the GOP transformed from a conservative to a reactionary party.

And here we are.

You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.


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