On her program on Monday night, Rachel Maddow warned that though it’s already a dark time for the rule of law in the United States, it’s only going to get worse as Donald Trump becomes more desperate.
The MSNBC host pointed to the battle over the president’s tax returns, which is set to hit the Supreme Court next month in the form of oral arguments.
While it’s not yet known whether the Supreme Court will rule that Trump’s financial records should be released, Maddow warned that Trump and Barr could attempt to use the weight of the Justice Department to prevent the release of the president’s tax returns – even if the court rules that they should be disclosed.
“If this attorney general is still in place, the president at that point could promise a politically motivated persecution, courtesy of Bill Barr,” the MSNBC host said. “‘I’ll roll in the FBI on you unless you defy the Supreme Court here.’”
It’s a scenario that would only worsen the constitutional crisis that Trump has created.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) February 18, 2020
Next month is when the Supreme Court is going to hear oral arguments on that matter. We don’t know how those arguments will go, we don’t know how the Supreme Court will rule. But we do know about President Trump’s hyperdesperation to avoid the exposure of records like this. There is nothing that he has fought harder or on more fronts or at more personal expense than his various legal battles to stop his taxes from becoming public and to stop his financial records from becoming public or from being handed over to investigators. So if the Supreme Court does rule that those kinds of records ought to be released, it is not at all hard to imagine that the president would flip the proverbial bird to the Supreme Court and just say no. Now that said, the way most of those cases are structured, it actually wouldn’t be easy for him to do that. Because it wouldn’t be the president himself who would be in the position of deciding whether or not to hand over the records. The subpoenas, remember, are directed to third parties. They’re directed to an accounting firm and to a bank called Deutsche Bank. And it is those institutions that would ultimately have to decide whether they are going to obey a court order and hand the material over. At which point there’s always the possibility that the president would lean on the accounting firm and lean on the bank and tell them not to, tell them to defy the Supreme Court or else. I mean, heck, if this attorney general is still in place, the president at that point could promise a politically motivated persecution, right, courtesy of Bill Barr. I’ll roll in the FBI on you unless you defy the Supreme Court here. That’s how banana republics work, right? I mean we are in a bad place now when it comes to the rule of law and the rule of law being perverted to serve the president instead of to serve impartial justice. I mean it’s bad enough that, you guys, the judges are having an emergency meeting together tomorrow. That’s how bad this is.
The constitutional crisis is already here
The threat of a constitutional crisis has been real since the day Donald Trump set foot in the Oval Office.
But after Republicans in Congress signaled loud and clear that he is essentially a king, the president has wasted no time in shredding what’s left of the rule of law in America.
The reason that federal judges are calling an emergency meeting this week isn’t because they’re concerned that a constitutional crisis could be on the horizon.
It’s because that crisis is already happening.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.