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Donald Trump's stonemason is a massive attack on accountability



Traditionally, Trump ignores established practices of governance and personal transparency, seeking to maximize his personal influence and consolidate power within the White House while opposing external control.

"The context in which this occurs raises some questions to serious questions about the willingness of the White House to comply with long-understood norms of democratic governance," said Rudy Mehrbani, senior adviser to the Brennan Center for Justice.

In an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday, Trump made it clear that this was the case He has no intention to cooperate with investigations led by House Democrats. He expressly says he does not want his present or former aides to testify to committees called by the Democrats.

"There is no reason to move on, especially in Congress where it is very biased ̵

1; obviously very biased," he said.

"I do not want people to say a party, because that's what they do when they do that," Trump added.

Just a few hours earlier, the government had missed the deadline of another Democratic committee for handing over six years of tax returns on Tuesday, which was likely to trigger a new legal fire.

"Although the federal law does not set a deadline for an answer We expect the committee to present your proposal with a final decision by 6 May, after receiving the legal conclusions of the Ministry of Justice," said Minister of Finance Steven Mnuchin in one Letter to the chairman of House Ways and Means, Richard Neal.

Democrats argue there is no legal leeway for the administration to dispute a federal law stating that the Treasury should provide taxpayers with three designated congressional officials.

Trump's lawyers request an injunction to stop another House committee from forcing its accounting firm to hand over documents from its business empire.

And the White House has just ordered a summoned former Chief Officer at a house panel hearing examining the security clearance process for top officials not to appear.

"Because of these acts, the President appears to be of the opinion that the Constitution in his White House is inapplicable to command wills to violate their legal obligations, and that he could prevent Congressional attempts to supervise," said Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight.

In the midst of a flood of oversight lacking in the days of the GOP majority lawsuit In the midterm elections, Democrats have just issued a summons to McGahn to testify about possible presidential power abuses revealed in the Mueller report last week ,

"They do not want to get to the truth, they want to thank this president," White House Deputy Speaker Hogan Gidley said on Tuesday, reaffirming the White House's argument that the Democrats' demands are not accidental

Last Challenges

This quarrel only presents the most recent challenges to the notion that the White House should be accountable to Congress , and voter voters only in the last few days.

They are a small selection of numerous government attacks on accountability, starting with Trump's refusal to be more open about his finances, including his foreign policy management and how his White House is using another body of control – – the media.

According to the Washington Post, the president has lied more than 8,700 times, often to avoid the consequences of his own actions and statements.
He has raised undisputed demands of executive power His frontier wall, when Congress refused to fund him for constitutional reasons for open reasons, that the legislator and not the president has the power of the purse. As the Mueller investigation revealed, Trump has ordered that the subordinates have lied to the press and the Pentagon. The White House and the State Department rarely deliver regular briefings.

In July 2017, questions were raised about the Trump team's mysterious contacts with Russians during the year. During the previous year's campaign, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, "Every day, we do our best to provide the most accurate information give that we have. "

"Our goal is to be as transparent as possible."

However, just a few months ago, as Mueller announced, Sanders lied to the White House reporters when she said "countless" FBI agents said they were grateful that the president had former FBI chief James Comey dismissed.

There are far fewer public violations of transparency.

Reports and revelations about snug relationships between appointed Trump Cabinet members and industry lobbyists disagree with the president's claim that he drains the Washington swamp.

His attacks on family members raise questions of nepotism and he has refused to conduct a bipartisan attempt by the Senate to present a report on the murder of the Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

President Jared Kushner's son-in-law embodied the government's attitude to accountability when he stated on Tuesday that the investigation had "much harsher effects on our democracy" than the interference of Russian elections.

And Trump has barely made a secret of another of his efforts to put an end to running around Congress – his fondness for "theatrical" Cabinet members who are unconfirmed to maximize his own power.

"I like to act," Trump told reporters in January, "which gives me more flexibility. Do you understand that? I like to act. "

Failure to ratify Cabinet officers – as incumbent Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan or Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt – not only rejects the Senate's constitutional advice and approval, it also shuts off power from its agencies and hammering the moral between civil servants devoting their careers to the government.

Some confrontations are constitutional

Confrontations between a president and Congress are written in the US constitutional system – and in many ways It is a sign that the system of shared political power is functioning properly.

President Barack Obama's Attorney-General, Eric Holder, was disregarded by the then Republican House for failing to issue documents for the fasting and fast-acting are more angry Scandal about illegal arms sales. President George W. Bush has dueled with Congress after attempting to block public testimony over a dispute over the dismissal of federal prosecutors.

There are also often legitimate disagreements between a president and Congress over the separation of powers and the privilege of the executive.

But the extent to which Trump refuses to comply with the basic standards of transparency is so endemic that Trump raises concerns that Trump might set precedents that would rewrite the constitutional principle of control and balance.

The escalating legal trench warfare between the Democrats is at the root of a dispute over the extent to which a president is obliged to the voters to be above reproach and mistrust.

Trump has shown that he does not have much time for such rituals.

His insult to transparency began Before he took office, he refused to resist the demands that he release his tax returns – a tradition that has been followed by presidential candidates for decades.

Tr umpp then refused to divest himself completely of his family business empire to assure Americans that his economic and national security decisions were not a conflict of interest.

This omission led to a case that was brought to court by the courts, which reproached the President for failing to take ownership of his hotel in Washington against the fee clause of the Constitution, according to officials, no gifts or payments from foreigners States may receive. It is possible that Trump could be defended – but it is also impossible to imagine another president going into such a position.

Trump's latest litigation, to stop the publication of business records from its accounting firm, actually requires an effort by the executive branch of the government to thwart the constitutionally-supervised oversight.

The committee would like the paper to examine the allegations of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that his former chief in financial statements has either inflated the price of corporate assets to obtain loans or receive downsized real estate assets in insurance schemes.

Trump Organizing Council Alan Garden called the subpoena "an unprecedented reach of the congressional authority."

The challenge of Trump and his sons now leading the company, however, shows no recognition Public confidence, such as the presidency, is also faced with transparency standards that it would not face in public life.

In send When he puts his lawyers into action, the president once again activates the kind of process reclamation reflex he often enjoyed as a tycoon when he participated in thousands of lawsuits.

But his chances of thwarting the house committee may be slim, as his attorneys are setting a precedent from the 1880s, which was replaced by a 1927 ruling.

And Trump's legal team often seems to be looking for retrospective reasons for decisions that Trump made spontaneously.

"I think if you look up word desperation in the dictionary I think you get a picture of Trump's legal team as they desperately try to follow the whims of the boss," said former prosecutor Shan Wu, who is not a legal analyst CNN is.

Trump's resistance to control Congress, in particular, could be an issue surviving this current and delicate period of its presidency. Some analysts fear that this could set a precedent for future presidents – even those less instinctively programmed to test standards than Trump – to exploit.

"What we learn from Trump is that there are a plethora of mechanisms that existed. There were within the executive, and they were not obeyed because they were required by previous precedents and the expectation was that they would be followed, "Mehrbani said.

"If this expectation no longer exists, the abuse potential is considerable. I think Congress is bound to respond."


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