May 21st 2017

Donald Trump Will Not Go Gently

by Charles J. Reid, Jr.

Charles J. Reid, Jr. was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he majored in Latin, Classics, and History, and also did substantial coursework in classical Greek and modern European languages. It was during his undergraduate days that he developed an interest in canon law, doing a year of directed research in Roman and canon law under the supervision of James Brundage. Reid then attended the Catholic University of America, where he earned J.D. and J.C.L. (license in canon law) degrees. During his time at Catholic University, he organized a series of symposia on the bishops' pastoral letter on nuclear arms. The proceedings of these symposia were published under Reid's editorship as "Peace in a Nuclear Age: The Bishops' Pastoral Letter in Perspective" (Catholic University of America Press, 1986). This book was called by the New York Times "among the most scholarly and unsettling of responses" to the pastoral letter (December 28, 1986).Reid then attended Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the history of medieval law under the supervision of Brian Tierney. His thesis at Cornell was on the Christian, medieval origins of the western concept of individual rights. Over the last ten years, he has published a number of articles on the history of western rights thought, and is currently completing work on a book manuscript addressing this question.In 1991, Reid was appointed research associate in law and history at the Emory University School of Law, where he has worked closely with Harold Berman on the history of western law. He collaborated with Professor Berman on articles on the Lutheran legal science of the sixteenth century, the English legal science of the seventeenth century, and the flawed premises of Max Weber's legal historiography.While at Emory, Reid has also pursued a research agenda involving scholarship on the history of western notions of individual rights; the history of liberty of conscience in America; and the natural-law foundations of the jurisprudence of Judge John Noonan. He has also published articles on various aspects of the history of the English common law. He has had the chance to apply legal history in a forensic setting, serving as an expert witness in litigation involving the religious significance of Christian burial. Additionally, Reid has taught a seminar on the contribution of medieval canon law to the shaping of western constitutionalism.  Recently, Reid has become a featured blogger at the Huffington Post on current issues where religion, law and politics intersect.
 
As Donald Trump traverses the Middle East and Europe on his first international trip, there is considerable discussion domestically concerning the possibility that he might be removed from office, either involuntarily through impeachment, or through voluntary resignation.  I am not, however, convinced that he will soon depart office.  I hold to the view, rather, that when he returns from his overseas travels he will embark on a vigorous defense of his position.
 
Here is what I suspect his game plan will be.  First, he will massively reorganize the executive levels of his Administration. He must know that his continued tenure in office is being placed in jeopardy by highly-placed leaks.  Consider the recent leaks surrounding Trump’s meeting on May 10 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.  How many officials would know that Trump shared with Lavrov highly sensitive intelligence provided by a foreign government?  How many would have access to the transcript of this meeting, at which Trump also apparently called former FBI Director James Comey a “nutjob” and hinted that relations with Russia might improve with Comey out of the way?  I am guessing that the number is minuscule and that they are all well-placed.
 
The leakers may have the best of intentions.  They may see the security of the United States as being placed at undue risk by Trump’s ill-considered statements and gestures.  They may feel themselves duty-bound to act.  Certainly, large portions of the American public might well agree with such an assessment.  But it is safe to say that Donald Trump views matters differently.  And he surely believes himself entitled to the loyalty of his senior staff.  And my guess is that upon returning from his international meetings, he will fire those he suspects of leaking.
 
Who then will Trump select to succeed his fired staff?  My guess is that he will draw from three pools.  First, he will likely seek talent from among the true believers.  Expect therefore to see some unknown figures elevated to senior positions, drawn from Breitbart News, perhaps, or the American Conservative, or a faculty like Liberty University.  Pat Buchanan might even enjoy a last hurrah as a senior advisor.  And Steve Bannon will be rehabilitated.
 
Trump will also draw from family.  Look to Jared Kushner to assume even greater responsibility.  Perhaps he will succeed Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff.  Trump will also recruit talent from the New York business community that he knows so well.  Carl Icahn likely will not join the Administration, but don’t be surprised if he recommends some names to Trump.
 
Next, I foresee civil war breaking out between Trump and the Republican establishment.  Republican establishment types are already beginning to talk openly about what they might accomplish with a President Mike Pence and a Republican Congress.  Trump surely hears these conversations.
 
This is not wise.  I expect Trump to launch a scorched-earth response if he comes to feel threatened by the Republican Party leadership.  Trump does not owe the Republican Party establishment in the way a more normal politician might.  He did not rise through the ranks.  Rather, he outflanked the Party leadership by force of personality and the adept use of social media.  Are there any skeletons in Paul Ryan’s closet?  Or anyone else’s?  Trump will surely investigate carefully to learn what is there.  Maybe he has already.
 
Furthermore, I shall surmise that Donald Trump will return to doing what he does best:  Campaign.  I expect him to hit the campaign trail and to remain on it for much of the summer.  He is at bottom an entertainer, and he will gift middle America with an old-fashioned barnstorming tour.  I can easily envision him rallying support in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and all the states and places that have been the hardest hit by trade deals.
 
In the process, he will build a mass movement.  The movement will stand in parallel with the Republican Party.  Trump will ensure, however, that their primary loyalty remains with him.  it will be the “do-nothing” Congress that has failed to take effective action on his agenda.  It will the “Swamp” that is lashing out him through the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.
 
And regarding that special counsel, I am sure that Trump will mount a vigorous defense.  He will challenge the investigation on the merits.  What precisely is being investigated anyway?  He will raise doubts about the substance of the investigation.  He will assert that he himself is blameless.  He will talk about how it is the right of a candidate for president to speak forcefully on the stump and that his call to Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s emails was just a figure of speech.
 
But I suspect he will contest the investigation in other ways also.  For instance, he has already raised ethical concerns about Robert Mueller, the special counsel named to lead the investigation.  Mueller worked for the law firm Wilmer Hale, which also represented Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, in some business dealings.  Can Mueller treat Kushner fairly?  Trump has already asked that question.  Expect Trump’s resistance to the investigation to grow a level of magnitude greater.  He will surely contest every request for information, every subpoena, every deposition.  And the lawyers Mueller hires to assist in the investigation should be squeaky clean.  Trump would not be above investigating them for embarrassing details about their personal lives.
 
If the investigation begins to draw blood, look for Trump to wield the pardon power.  Jared Kushner is especially indispensable to Donald Trump.  If investigators determine that Kushner might be implicated in serious wrong-doing, I would expect that Trump will pardon him.  Michael Flynn knows a great deal.  A pardon might also gain his silence.
 
Trump, furthermore, will not step down, at least not without first waging a hell of a fight.  It is not in his character.  Furthermore, it is not in his interest to do so.  A presidential resignation will not make the investigations go away.  Indeed, a resignation exposes Trump to even greater risk of prosecution in the event some alleged misdeeds are detected.  Trump will not want to feel vulnerable in this way.
 
I anticipate, therefore, that we may be standing on the cusp of a constitutional crisis that could be worse than Watergate.  I write as a Democrat.  I caucused for Bernie Sanders and voted for Hillary Clinton in the general election.  But I would counsel my fellow Democrats to temper their calls for impeachment.  Yes, at some point, it may become necessary to travel down that path.  But we should bear in the mind that to journey will be hard, even traumatic.  And I tremble at the prospect.


For Dr. Charles J. Reid's  web site, please click here.


To subscribe to Facts and Arts' weekly newsletter, please click here.

 


This article is brought to you by the author who owns the copyright to the text.

Should you want to support the author’s creative work you can use the PayPal “Donate” button below.

Your donation is a transaction between you and the author. The proceeds go directly to the author’s PayPal account in full less PayPal’s commission.

Facts & Arts neither receives information about you, nor of your donation, nor does Facts & Arts receive a commission.

Facts & Arts does not pay the author, nor takes paid by the author, for the posting of the author's material on Facts & Arts. Facts & Arts finances its operations by selling advertising space.

 

 

Browse articles by author

More Essays

Sep 16th 2021
EXTRACTS: "Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised chamber. In the chamber, the air pressure is increased two to three times higher than normal air pressure. It is commonly used to treat decompression sickness (a condition scuba divers can suffer from), carbon monoxide poisoning,......" ---- "Blood flow to the brain is reduced in people with Alzheimer’s. This study showed increased blood flow to the brain in the mice receiving oxygen therapy, which helps with the clearance of plaques from the brain, and reduces inflammation – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s." ----- "The researchers then used these findings to assess the effectiveness of oxygen therapy in six people over the age of 65 with cognitive decline. They found that 60 sessions of oxygen therapy, over 90 days, increased blood flow in certain areas of the brain and significantly improved the patients’ cognitive abilities – improved memory, attention and information processing speed."
Sep 14th 2021
EXTRACT: "Hollywood for years called on Charles Boyer to typify one French look –  bedroom eyes, sly maneuverings, the dismissive look. A face of another type, the massive mug and narrow eyes of Charles de Gaulle, provides the same disdain of the foreigner but also a superiority based on his belief in his own destiny."
Sep 12th 2021
EXTRACT: "The burden of loneliness for older people is intimately connected to what they are alone with. As we reach the end of our lives, we frequently carry heavy burdens that have accumulated along the way, such as feelings of regret, betrayal and rejection. And the wounds from past relationships can haunt people all their lives."
Sep 5th 2021
EXTRACT: "Gardens help restore the ability to concentrate on demanding tasks, providing the perfect space for a break when working from home in a pandemic. Natural things – such as trees, plants and water – are particularly easy on the eye and demand little mental effort to look at. Simply sitting in a garden is therefore relaxing and beneficial to mental wellbeing."
Aug 17th 2021
EXTRACT: "Whether or not a person achieves remission, reducing blood sugar levels is important in managing the negative effects of type 2 diabetes and reducing risk of complications. But when it comes to choosing a diet, the most important thing is to pick one that suits you – one that you’re likely to stick to long term."
Aug 10th 2021
EXTRACT: "In our latest study, we show that by taking the microbiome from young mice and transplanting them into old mice, many of the effects of ageing on learning and memory and immune impairments can be reversed. Using a maze, we showed that this faecal microbiota transplant from young to old mice led to the old mice finding a hidden platform faster."
Aug 3rd 2021
EXTRACT: "Fukuyama argued that political struggle causes history. This struggle tries to solve the problem of thymos – an ancient Greek term referring to our desire to have our worth recognised. This desire can involve wanting to be recognised as equal to others. But it can also involve wanting to be recognised as superior to others. A stable political system needs to accommodate both desires." .... "Counter-dominant spite can weaken liberal democracies. During the 2016 Brexit referendum, some people in the UK voted Leave to spite elites, knowing this could damage the country’s economy. Similarly, during the 2016 US presidential election some voters supported Donald Trump to spite Hillary Clinton, knowing his election could harm the US. "
Jul 31st 2021
EXTRACT: "If we want to live in a world that is good for pollinators, as well as the rest of us, big changes are needed in our environment, and our food system. This is why many beekeepers change their diet and their shopping, eating more locally grown vegetables that aren’t treated with pesticides. ...... Being willing to buy fruit and vegetables that may have the occasional insect living in it is better for us and for nature. To live more harmoniously with the natural world, we need to relax about larvae in the lettuce and slugs in the spinach."
Jul 22nd 2021
EXTRACT: "You’d think our brush with mortality through the pandemic would have brought some of this home to us. You’d think it would give us pause for thought about what really matters to us: the kind of world we want for our children; the kind of society we want to live in. And for many people it has. In a survey carried out during lockdown in the UK, 85% of respondents found something in their changed conditions they felt worth keeping and fewer than 10% wanted a complete return to normal."
Jul 20th 2021
EXTRACT: "English artist Damien Hirst’s latest project, “The Currency”, is an artwork in two forms. Its physical form is 10,000 unique hand-painted A4 sheets covered in colourful dots. In the same way as paper money, each sheet includes a holographic image of Hirst, a signature, a microdot and – in place of a serial number – a small individual message. The second part of the artwork is that each of these hand-painted sheets has a corresponding NFT (non-fungible token). NFTs are digital certificates of ownership which exist on the secure online ledgers that are known as blockchains. ---- The way that “The Currency” works is that collectors will not be buying the physical artwork immediately. Instead, they will pay US$2,000 (£1,458) for the NFT and then have a year to decide whether they want the digital or the physical version. Once the collector selects one, the other will be destroyed. ---- So what is going on here, and what does it tell us about art and money?"
Jul 20th 2021
EXTRACT: "Ellison was an abstract expressionist painter, who, having come to New York City from West Texas in 1962, was as he said “unable to find traction” as a painter. At the same time, he began collecting ceramic objects and educating himself about this field of art as he went along. In 2009 he bestowed on the Metropolitan Museum of Art over 300 extraordinary examples of American ceramics, spanning the years 1876 through 1956. Since then, Ellison has gifted to the Museum over 600 works – including a significant collection of European art pottery in 2013, and most recently over 125 modern and contemporary clay vessels and objects – making the Museum one of the most significant repositories of Art Pottery in the world. ---- The current exhibition presents nearly 80 pieces drawn from Ellison’s latest donation, and it is a thoroughly captivating show; even where (or perhaps especially where) the works are outlandish, bizarre, sometimes almost monstrous, but nonetheless enthralling."
Jul 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "Over the course of England’s journey to the Euro 2020 final, one of the most fascinating plays has been happening just off the pitch. Whenever the TV camera cuts to the team’s manager Gareth Southgate, he is occasionally seen standing alone on the edge of the field, urging his team on. ---- But most of the time he is deep in conversation with his assistant Steve Holland. ---- A recent study of English football culture points to a shift away from what the authors term “Beckhamisation”, after the former England captain and Manchester United star player David Beckham – a popular and instantly recognisable symbol of that period of football history (though, it is not suggested the culture was his creation). ---- During the 1990s, the study claims, this “Beckhamisation” saw high octane management practices imported from the corporate world into football. ---- In recent years, this has been replaced by “Southgatism”, a leadership style which that study describes as “modest, self-deprecating, down to earth, diverse and progressive”. "
Jun 30th 2021
EXTRACT: "New York’s Museum of Modern Art is currently presenting an exhibition devoted to an in-depth review of Paul Cézanne’s drawings. If there is any criticism to be made of this extraordinary show, it is that it is frankly overwhelming: with roughly 280 pencil, ink and gouache drawings and watercolors (and even a handful of oil paintings), there is so much to take in that two or three visits to the exhibition may be required to do it justice."
Jun 25th 2021
EXTRACT: "Cognitive flexibility provides us with the ability to see that what we are doing is not leading to success and to make the appropriate changes to achieve it." .... "Flexible thinking is key to creativity – in other words, the ability to think of new ideas, make novel connections between ideas, and make new inventions." .... "The good news is that it seems you can train cognitive flexibility."
Jun 17th 2021
EXTRACT: "Confronting our complex history and ultimately embracing a more equitable, balanced, and humble culture may be a tall order in these fractious times. But that makes it even more imperative that we fully reckon with who we are and who we are capable of becoming."
Jun 11th 2021
EXTARCT: "A further health benefit of hiking is that it’s classed as “green exercise”. This refers to the added health benefit that doing physical activity in nature has on us. Research shows that not only can green exercise decrease blood pressure, it also benefits mental wellbeing by improving mood and reducing depression to a greater extent than exercising indoors can."
Jun 10th 2021
EXTRACT: "“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress,” Mahatma Gandhi said, “can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” If we apply that test to the world as a whole, how much moral progress have we made over the past two millennia? ...... That question is suggested by The Golden Ass, arguably the world’s earliest surviving novel, written around 170 CE, when Emperor Marcus Aurelius ruled the Roman Empire. Apuleius, the author, was an African philosopher and writer, born in what is now the Algerian city of M’Daourouch."
Jun 4th 2021
EXTRACT: "Research we’ve done, which looked at 37 adults with type 2 diabetes, found that over two weeks, prolonged sitting was associated with high blood sugar levels. But we also found that when people stood up or walked around between periods of sitting, they had lower blood sugar levels. Other studies have also had similar results."
May 28th 2021
EXTRACT: "Paul Van Doren's legacy lies in a famous company, and in his advice to young entrepreneurs to get their hands dirty, and to know what goes into making what they are selling."
May 19th 2021
EXTRACT: "May 7th marked three hundred and ten years since the philosopher David Hume was born. He is chiefly remembered as the most original and destructive of the early modern empiricists, following John Locke and George Berkeley." .... " Shocking as it may (and should) sound, Hume is implying nothing less than that the next time you turn the key in your car ignition, you are as justified to expect the engine will start as you are in believing it will turn into a pumpkin. For there is a radical contingency that pervades all our experience. We could wake up tomorrow to a world that looks and behaves very differently to the one we are in now. Matters of fact are dependent on experience and can never be known a priori — they are purely contingent, and could always turn out different than what we expect."