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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/13/19

To Save the Republic, Some of Trump's Allies and Appointees Will Have to Face Federal Prosecution

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From Common Dreams

The biggest danger Trump poses to America is normalizing corruption for future administrations.

Mitch McConnell Is Confident Voters Will re-elect Trump
Mitch McConnell Is Confident Voters Will re-elect Trump
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To save our republic, some of Trump's enablers and political appointees may have to go to jail, just like happened with Nixon's people.

Trump's policies are inflicting massive damage on the working class, the environment, minorities, and our economy. And the damage he's doing to our body politic will certainly alter our form of government if there aren't legal consequences.

Trump and his cronies have shown present and future politicians how much corruption the Republican Party and the public will tolerate, and it's a very bad sign for the future of the American experiment.

Trump has put the interests of foreign governments with whom he and his family have or hope to have business relationships above the interests of America; flagrantly violated the Constitution's emoluments clause; welcomed foreign interference in our elections; lied to the American public and the world on a daily basis; committed campaign finance violations that landed his lawyer in prison; repeatedly broke obstruction of justice laws; and put children in cages, causing lifelong PTSD.

And that's just since he's been in office: his crimes from housing discrimination to sexual assault and rape to felony tax evasion to running a fraudulent university to real estate tax fraud are all, as of this moment, largely or entirely lacking any serious law enforcement oversight.

America has never before seen such breathtaking corruption in the Oval Office.

While this has rightly sparked an extended conversation about impeachment and the powers of the executive branch, a more important conversation -- that's entirely lacking in mainstream media -- is about the people enabling Trump's corruption and criminality. If he and the people enabling him are not held to account, future Trumps are pretty much inevitable.

Numerous countries have grappled with this issue in the past; the most famous are Germany after World War II and South Africa after the fall of apartheid.

It was this cycle of corruption that both the Nurnberg Tribunal and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission sought to interrupt. Today the Colombian government is running a War Crimes Tribunal specifically to warn future politicians and their functionaries from repeating the crimes committed during that nation's previous administration.

In America, congressional investigations into the Teapot Dome Scandal nearly brought down the Harding administration (it was widely believed that President Harding died as a result of the stress), and Congress launched an impeachment proceeding against President Bill Clinton for lying about consensual sex with Monica Lewinsky, as then-Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia said on the floor of the House, "in order to establish a precedent that will prevent future Presidents from engaging in similar conduct."

By holding current-day accomplices accountable all up and down the chain of command, future enablers of corrupt or despotic leaders think twice before saying "Yes" to requests to bend or break the rules.

At its core, this is the essence of the rule of law.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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