Trump's Latest Tweetstorm Is Grounds for Impeachment

Robert Reich

Robert Reich Former U.S. Secretary of Labor, Professor at Berkeley

One way dictators take over democracies is by threatening the independence of a nation’s courts. Donald Trump is doing just this. 

Connect the following dots:

1. In January, Trump blasted a federal judge for staying his travel ban. “The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” he tweeted.

2. In February, after the judge made the stay permanent, Trump issued a veiled threat: “Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

3. Last week, after another federal judge issued a nationwide injunction blocking Trump’s travel ban, Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, said, “I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power.”

4. On Tuesday, after another federal judge blocked the Trump administration from enforcing a threat to take away funds from sanctuary cities, the White House issued a statement condemning the judge as “unelected.” The statement charged “this San Francisco judge’s erroneous ruling is a gift to the criminal gang and cartel element in our country, empowering the worst kind of human trafficking and sex trafficking, and putting thousands of innocent lives at risk. This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge.”

5. On Wednesday, Trump said he was considering breaking up the court of appeals for the 9th Circuit, in which these three federal judges hear and decide cases. "There are many people who want to break up the 9th Circuit,” he said. “It’s outrageous.” The 9th Circuit Court covers Arizona, California, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Hawaii, as well as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Eighteen of the court’s 25 judges were appointed by Democratic presidents.

It is the job of the Justice Department to provide a reasoned case for overruling a federal judge’s decision. In condemning individual judges and threatening to break up the court of appeals instead, Trump is attacking the foundations of the separation of powers in the Constitution. 

This assault on the federal judiciary is an abuse of Trump’s constitutional authority – yet another ground for impeachment.

***

Reposted from AlterNet.

Robert Reich served as the nation’s 22nd Secretary of Labor and now is a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. His latest book, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future, is now in bookstores. His earlier book, “Supercapitalism,” is out in paperback. For copies of his articles, books, and public radio commentaries, go to www.RobertReich.org.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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