10 Mai 2017

Trump and the FBI: Four very quick questions and answers from SANFORD LEVINSON

US President Donald Trump, to the bewildered horror of many, has dismissed FBI director James Comey in the middle of an investigation about his aides‘ ties to Russia. Some even call this situation a constitutional crisis. We have shot Constitutional Law professor Sanford Levinson four very quick questions and received four equally short answers:

Is this a constitutional crisis? 

No.  The constitutional crisis is having an ignorant narcissist like Donald Trump as President without the opportunity of dismissing him with a vote of no confidence. But the firing itself does not raise serious constitutional problems. 

Will this evolve into a constitutional crisis?

It could be transformed into a constitutional crisis if he hesitates to nominate a successor or if the successor is unable to gain Senate confirmation. Furthermore, I am cautiously hopeful that some Republicans will develop sufficient backbone to join Democrats in subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns. Should he fail to honor such a subpoena, that could provoke a constitutional crisis and impeachment. 

What could Congress do about it?

Congress has the investigatory power, including subpoena authority, should it choose to use it. 

Do you expect it will?

It’s hard these days to have any stable „expectations“. But it would not surprise me if a few Republicans developed some backbone, not least because Trump is threatening to generate an electoral disaster for the Republicans ocme 2018 and, even more certainly, 2020. 

Questions by Maximilian Steinbeis


SUGGESTED CITATION  Levinson, Sanford V.: Trump and the FBI: Four very quick questions and answers from SANFORD LEVINSON, VerfBlog, 2017/5/10, https://verfassungsblog.de/trump-and-the-fbi-four-very-quick-questions-and-answers-from-sanford-levinson/, DOI: 10.17176/20170511-121330.

3 Comments

  1. Bernd Lauert Do 11 Mai 2017 at 17:20 - Reply

    Comey starts investigations against Clinton „ohy my god fire him he is helping Trump!“

    Comey stops investigations against Clinton „He is doing a good job!“

    Comey reopens investigations against Clinton „ohy my god fire him he is helping Trump!“

    Trump fires Comey
    „Poor Comey, impeach Drumpf now!“

    You cannot make this up.

    Also:
    „Trump is threatening to generate an electoral disaster for the Republicans ocme 2018 and, even more certainly, 2020. “

    On what planet is this man living?

  2. Leser Fr 12 Mai 2017 at 10:19 - Reply

    I’m not an astronomer, but I’d Earth. But apparently, such basic facts have become a topic of political discourse, just as some people have questioned which galaxy Theresa May lives on.

    Maybe be should send somebody up very high in the air to find out if we’re living on one planet or several – that’s something that should be plainly visible from, let’s say, orbit or even the moon. That should settle it. And we’d also once and for all solve the debate of flat vs. round earth.

  3. Bernd Lauert Fr 12 Mai 2017 at 21:13 - Reply

    That must have been the weakest attempt at humor I have seen in a long time xD

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