The Question at Large – Who is in Charge? – By Yvonne Sam

The Question at Large – Who is in Charge?

By Yvonne Sam

Is Trump’s White House— really the Right House?

A total of eleven Conservatives in the U.S. House filed a motion to impeach Rod Rosenstein the Deputy Attorney General. Some have criticized this gesture deeming it an outrage. https://www.npr.org/2018/07/25/632489887/house-conservatives-file-impeachment-articles-against-rod-rosenstein. While the latter may hold some fragment of truth let us not overlook how profoundly weird the entire situation is. While the attempted impeachment of an executive branch official is atypical, there is constitutional provision and exemplar for it.     

Under the presidency of Barack Obama some house Republicans attempted to impeach John Koskinen, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/gop-begins-impeachment-process-not-against-obama.Now this current campaign to impeachRosenstein has a stark difference simply because it is not a straightforward encounter between a Congress and White House that assail each other politically.  Rosenstein is the appointee of a president whom the prospective impeachers support.

That is essentially the reason and their ardent support for Donald Trump why they want to impeach his deputy attorney-general. They contend that Rosenstein is not sharing enough information with President Trump’s colleagues in Congress about the Justice’s Department’s handling of Russia’s investigations. Still the President does not need the House to impeach Rosenstein, as he has the legal right to fire at any time. In addition as head of the executive branch, he also has the power to order the declassification of any information he wants Congress to have. Nevertheless, thus far Trump’s interventions have consisted of slagging or critically attacking Rosenstein in interviews and on Twitter.

A common cliché in effect when commenting about the Trump administration is “this isn’t normal”, but the people have concentrated very little on one of the most important norms that Trump has disregarded: the norm that the administration is an extension of the will of the president who heads it.  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-bardella-trump-normal_us_5a7e073ae4b044b3821d56ff.  Notably, Republicans have affirmed the idea that the Constitution confers all executive power in the president. The theorists say that a “unitary executive” is essential so that voters know whoshould be held accountable for the executive branch’s performance;hence the voters’ choice of a president has the full effect that it should.

However, divergence in the Executive is a theme that is evident in several recent controversies involving the Trump administration.  Point in question is the Helsinki meeting with President Vladimir Putin, and its upshot which showed the President alienated within his own Cabinet.

President Trump controverted Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Dan Coats Director of National Intelligence about whether Russia had meddled in the 2016 U. S elections, and whether such an action would be repeated.  Jim Mattis, the Secretary of Defense made a public defense of America’s affiliation with Montenegro; Trump criticized that alliance. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-nato-montenegro-world-war-mutual-defence. Such a degree of public disunity never occurred during, say the Bill Clinton era. The airing of even smaller disagreements would have been dealt with as a major problem for previous administrations, one resolved by a public display of support behind a considered position set by the president. By comparison, the Trump administration hardly tries to tamp the cacophony. The President does not listen to his appointees, who in return do not attempt to give voice to his views. He gets his information from Fox News, whether he is opining about the Justice Department or Russian operations,and not from the people he has put in charge of his law enforcement and intelligence-gathering bureaucracies.

Recently Trump mildly criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. He in turn was also chided for breaking the recent norm of presidential silence about Federal policy.  https://www.npr.org/2018/07/19/630589358/president-trump-criticizes-federal-reserve-for-raising-interest-rates. What really stands out in his statement is that he was criticizing the policy of Jerome Powell a Fed. Chairman, whom Trump himself had recently appointed.  https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/02/trump-picks-jerome-powell-to-succeed-yellen-as-fed-chair.html. Even before Powell was appointed Chairman, he had been implementing that policy as a member of the Fed. Had President Trump required a more dovish chairman, then he should have done so. Instead of taking collaborative action to bring about the policy he appears to want, he then complains from the sidelines, almost as if he sees his position as being the commenter-in-chief.  http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-trump-criticizes-federal-reserve-20180719-story.html

On being questioned about the Helsinki summit, the President stated that he considers Putin responsible for Russia’s interference in the U.S. election just as he considers himself “responsible for things that happen in this country. ”https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/18/politics/trump-putin-election-interference/index.html. Yet he often appears not to be in charge of his own administration.

Trump’s partisans claim that he is being undermined. In essence and harsh reality what really differentiates this presidency from others,  is not how much the permanent bureaucracy has been resisting his agenda, but instead how little effort the president puts into translating his goals into purposeful and unified executive action.

A March 2018 poll conducted by Monmouth University in New Jersey, found most respondents (63%) were unfamiliar with the term “deep state”, but a majority believed that a deep statewhen described as “a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy “likely exists in the United States https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/documents/monmouthpoll_us_031918.pdf/.

The “deep state” may be largely a myth. The shallow presidency is “real”.

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Comments

  • Cyril Persaud  On July 29, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    We had this thing called a election and the Americans decided that Donald Trump should be the president. Liberals are apoplectic
    That crooked Hillary lost.

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