We have been had. The Trump campaign engaged in fraud during the 2016 presidential race to entice you to give him your vote. Most of us didn’t fall for it, but enough did in the “right” states and the numbers game known as the Electoral College gave the presidency to Donald Trump. Fraud is the knowing misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment. There is intent to deceive and the victim must justifiably rely on the lie.
On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr., then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met at Trump Tower with Russians for the purpose of obtaining “dirt” to damage Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Two weeks later Donald Jr. told CNN’s Jake Tapper in no uncertain terms there was no Russian meddling in the campaign. On July 24, while he was still Trump’s campaign manager, Manafort told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos that neither he nor the Trump campaign was involved with Putin and his regime.
Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe the email chain about and sent prior to the June 9 meeting provided to us recently by Donald Jr. himself mentions the Russian government and its favoring of Trump in the presidential election. Kushner just forgot about the meeting and didn’t mention it when he first filled out his application for a security clearance after his father-in-law won the election.
Do you think some voters relied on the strong statements of Donald Jr. and Manafort that there was no involvement with Russians and, and to paraphrase Donald Jr., the Clinton people were crazy and lower than low to intimate that? What if they had admitted the June 9 meeting back in July 2016 when asked about Russia and candidate Trump said then, as he did after the revelation in July 2017, that anyone would have taken the meeting and it was just opposition research that everybody does? Do you think he would be in the Oval Office today? Do we have fraud here?
In July 2016 the FBI began its investigation into possible ties with the Trump campaign and Russia. By September 2016 it was being discussed within the intelligence community and the upper echelons of the United States government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear his doubts as to the accuracy of the intelligence community’s assessment that there was Russian involvement in our election. He threatened to make it a partisan issue if brought to the American people by President Obama. We, the uninformed people, went to the polls on Election Day.
If the election of Donald Trump is based on fraud and concealment, how is he the legitimate president of the United States? The swearing in of an illegitimate president-elect cannot make him legitimate. Everything he has done in the office is tainted with his illegitimacy. Our divisively partisan Republican Congress, led by McConnell and Paul Ryan, will distract, evade, and tap dance before it will impeach under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. What is the nation’s remedy for a president illegitimately elected through commission of fraud by his campaign and inaction by compliant Congressional leadership? Look to the Tenth Amendment.
The Tenth Amendment was added to appease the anti-federalists who were concerned about a too powerful overreaching federal government and it reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The power to declare an executive illegitimate is not mentioned in the Constitution, nor does the document prohibit states from declaring the commander in chief illegitimate. Impeachment, though, can occur only because of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. It says nothing about the illegitimacy of an executive who took power as the result of a fraudulent campaign.
There is one group of people who have stood up to Trump, and that is the governors. The states fought back about the travel ban and beat back the voter fraud nonsense. Several of the governors are not pleased about the health care debacle we now face. Can the states declare our executive and all he has done while illegitimately holding office null and void, and remove him along with the entire executive branch? Of course not, but that would be a swamp draining like no other.
The United States Declaration of Independence tells us governments are of men and derive power from the consent of the governed. It also says we have unalienable rights to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have been had, and we do not have to give our consent.
SUSAN SURFTONE is a musician who previously served as an FBI agent. Her latest EP is Making Waves Again.