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Tue Dec 18, 2018, 08:52 PM

What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency - The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418/

(My emphases/bold)

In the weeks leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump reached deep into his arsenal to try to deliver votes to Republicans.

Most of his weapons were rhetorical, featuring a mix of lies and false inducements—claims that every congressional Democrat had signed on to an “open borders” bill (none had), that liberals were fomenting violent “mobs” (they weren’t), that a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class would somehow pass while Congress was out of session (it didn’t). But a few involved the aggressive use—and threatened misuse—of presidential authority: He sent thousands of active-duty soldiers to the southern border to terrorize a distant caravan of desperate Central American migrants, announced plans to end the constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship by executive order, and tweeted that law enforcement had been “strongly notified” to be on the lookout for “ILLEGAL VOTING.”

These measures failed to carry the day, and Trump will likely conclude that they were too timid. How much further might he go in 2020, when his own name is on the ballot—or sooner than that, if he’s facing impeachment by a House under Democratic control?

More is at stake here than the outcome of one or even two elections. Trump has long signaled his disdain for the concepts of limited presidential power and democratic rule. During his 2016 campaign, he praised murderous dictators. He declared that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, would be in jail if he were president, goading crowds into frenzied chants of “Lock her up.” He hinted that he might not accept an electoral loss. As democracies around the world slide into autocracy, and nationalism and antidemocratic sentiment are on vivid display among segments of the American populace, Trump’s evident hostility to key elements of liberal democracy cannot be dismissed as mere bluster.
The moment the president declares a “national emergency”—a decision that is entirely within his discretion—he is able to set aside many of the legal limits on his authority.

It would be nice to think that America is protected from the worst excesses of Trump’s impulses by its democratic laws and institutions. After all, Trump can do only so much without bumping up against the limits set by the Constitution and Congress and enforced by the courts. Those who see Trump as a threat to democracy comfort themselves with the belief that these limits will hold him in check.

But will they? Unknown to most Americans, a parallel legal regime allows the president to sidestep many of the constraints that normally apply. The moment the president declares a “national emergency”—a decision that is entirely within his discretion—more than 100 special provisions become available to him. While many of these tee up reasonable responses to genuine emergencies, some appear dangerously suited to a leader bent on amassing or retaining power. For instance, the president can, with the flick of his pen, activate laws allowing him to shut down many kinds of electronic communications inside the United States or freeze Americans’ bank accounts. Other powers are available even without a declaration of emergency, including laws that allow the president to deploy troops inside the country to subdue domestic unrest.

This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country’s best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up. But what if a president, backed into a corner and facing electoral defeat or impeachment, were to declare an emergency for the sake of holding on to power? In that scenario, our laws and institutions might not save us from a presidential power grab. They might be what takes us down.


It seems likely that this is part of his playbook (how do you say that in russian?)

7 replies, 1412 views

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Reply What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency - The Atlantic (Original post)
erronis Dec 2018 OP
northoftheborder Dec 2018 #1
MineralMan Dec 2018 #2
erronis Dec 2018 #4
roamer65 Dec 2018 #3
erronis Dec 2018 #5
Ferrets are Cool Dec 2018 #6
erronis Dec 2018 #7

Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 09:02 PM

1. stomach churning ideas

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 09:20 PM

2. He could also be impeached and removed in a couple

of days. No problem.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 09:34 PM

4. Glad you are sure of the suit in the House and conviction (66%) in the Senate

And it really takes more than a couple of days.

(Oh, now I understand that you were being a tad sarcastic.....)

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 09:25 PM

3. Immediate grounds for secession from the union.

There would be a repeat of the Hartford Convention of 1814.

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Response to roamer65 (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 09:38 PM

5. Which group seceding? I'm sure there will be some asundering

but I'm not sure where the rifts will develop.

This is probably the intent of the agents that are trying to damage the US democracy.

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 10:24 PM

6. Very scary stuff. I want to put my head in a hole.

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Response to Ferrets are Cool (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2018, 10:53 PM

7. Please don't. We need our heads to be observant and our voices to be heard.

I have become tired - fatigued - from the constant drips of evil that come from the repuglicons and this administration. It has been really tempting to step away from the hourly/daily/weekly news feeds and chatter that tell me how these bastards have worked to undermine democracy.

I've never stopped caring and listening. The last couple of weeks have given me hope that the crap is being cleared and we can finally "clean his swamp", and clean his clock.

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