Speaking about the GOP memo, President Trump said on Friday: "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that."

President Donald Trump often complains that he doesn’t get enough credit for the important things he does. He’s right; so here are a few things that we need to thank him for.

The American public thought that, after Richard Nixon’s humiliation and disgrace, no president being investigated for wrong-doing could have veto power over who was doing the investigating, that it must be illegal or something. Wrong. Donald Trump has revealed that, more than 43 years after President Nixon, we still haven’t figured out how to put a stop to the preposterous suspense: “Will he or won’t he fire the special prosecutor?” He must not have the option. We thank Mr. Trump for reminding us, and Congress, that we need laws in place to prevent such scurrilous nonsense.

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“Can a sitting President be indicted for a crime while he (or she) is still in office?” Are you serious? Let’s say the president commits murder, knocks over a gas station, or is just caught selling weed on a street corner, it must be possible to indict him or her! Yet esteemed legal scholars consider this a subtle and debatable point. Again, without Mr. Trump to show us the importance of getting it straight, we’d continue to be blissfully ignorant of the flaw in our system that leaves any doubt here.

The Framers realized that a president running a business could be influenced by foreign governments, or other foreign “actors,” deciding to buy its wares (or finance its debt), and so they put the emoluments clause into the U.S. Constitution, so a president wouldn’t be tempted to weigh personal financial interests against the interests of the country. The Framers probably imagined that the clause would preclude a president from running a secretive business while in office.You would think! But no, apparently the Constitution isn’t entirely clear about this, and hundreds of years of legal opinion have not resolved it either. Who knew? Mr. Trump, that’s who. So, to remove the potential for high-level corruption, can we please have a law, Congress?

And who but Donald Trump could have made it so blatantly plain why the American people need to know – as a matter of right and as a matter of law – exactly where a president’s money comes from and who owns a president’s debt before he or she takes office? We need to see a president’s whole tax returns; pieces and promises are not enough. Once again, we must be grateful to Mr. Trump for calling these urgent matters to our attention.

Finally, thanks to him, we are also reminded of what a terribly important, though abstract-sounding, crime “obstruction of justice” really is. Obstruction of justice is, in a way, the first and most important crime – without it there is no rule of law and, with no rule of law, no country that we’re all so proud of.

For these lessons, and many more, Thank you, President Trump (“Trump lashes out at Schiff over Russia probe memo,” Feb. 5)!

Bradley Alger, Baltimore

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