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Congress Must Clean House

Donald J. Trump (DJT) is so mentally and emotionally damaged that 37 psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors and mental health experts have deemed him to be an existential threat to our democracy. Variously, they cite malignant narcissistic personality disorder, extreme present hedonism and arrested emotional development, antisocial personality disorder, bullying, lack of empathy, sociopathy, sadism, paranoia and delusional thinking. Read their book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.[1]

Yet, based upon nothing more than DJT’s bizarre, unfounded claims of massive election fraud, a number members of Congress (including Montana’s Senator Steve Daines) have determined to challenge November’s presidential election results and award the election to the loser.

Recall that, factually, this is the election in which: DJT’s own cyber and infrastructure director testified to Congress that the 2020 election was safe and secure, based on verifiable paper audit trails across the country and on the professionals that conduct elections regularly[2]; election officials in all 50 states certified the election results; multiple re-counts in various swing states confirmed the results of that state’s election; the winner, Joe Biden, beat the loser, DJT, by over 7 million popular votes and garnered 306 electoral college votes to  DJT’s 232 (precisely the same number of electoral college votes by which DJT beat Hillary Clinton and which he declared to be a “landslide” victory; and, all of DJT’s fraud claims have been shown, in some five-dozen court cases (including two before the U.S. Supreme Court) to be totally baseless and without any evidence whatsoever.

While there is little Congress can do about DJT’s paranoid delusions, there is something the second branch of government must do about the shameful conduct of its own members’ “sedition caucus”– conduct which flies in the face of those members’ oaths to support, protect and defend the Constitution and which amounts to enabling DJT’s authoritarian coup attempt to overturn the 2020 fair and secure presidential election, disenfranchise millions of voters and subvert our democratically elected government.

As discussed in an exhaustive article prepared for Congress in 2018 by the Congressional Research Service,[3] the U.S. Constitution, Art. I, § 5 cl 2, empowers each house of Congress to expel a member for “disorderly behavior.” Disorderly behavior has been broadly determined to be basically whatever the particular house determines it to be, with no substantive limiting standards.  For example, to date, five house members have been expelled for disloyalty to the union, bribery, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, racketeering and tax evasion; and fifteen senators have been expelled, all for disloyalty to the union.

To reestablish its credibility, each house of Congress must finally cast off loyalty to a delusional president, who lives in the alternate reality he makes up in his own mind. Congress must re-assert itself as an independent check and balance on the executive, and cease being the president’s lickspittle facilitator. And, under its constitutional expulsion power, Congress must expel those members of each house who have been disloyal to the union, who have violated their oaths of office, who have been accessories to DJT’s seditious attempt to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election, the will of millions of voters, and our democracy itself.

In short, Congress must clean house, or forever live with the ignominy of being an accessory to a delusional president’s attempt to become America’s first dictator.

Notes.

[1] The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, Bandy Lee, M.D., M.Div., Thomas Dunn Books, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2017, 2019.

[2] https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Testimony-Krebs-2020-12-16.pdf

[3] Expulsion of Members of Congress: Legal Authority and Historical Practice, by Legislative Attorneys Cynthia Brown and Todd Garvey, January 11, 2018

James C. Nelson a retired Montana Supreme Court justice. He lives in of Helena.

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