Stay in the know! Sign up to get Fauquier County news updates delivered to your inbox.
Advertise on Fauquier Now!
FauquierNow.com
Do you agree with the decision to renovate — rather than replace — Taylor Middle School? Vote!
HOME OBITUARIES NEWS HOME & GARDEN OPINIONS BUSINESS STYLE CALENDAR CLASSIFIEDS
Free classifieds! Members can also post calendar events, news, opinions and more ... all for free! Register now!
Login · Forgot Your Password?
August 20, 2018 · OPINION

The special counsel poses a threat to our democracy

By Lee Smith
Midland

Our founding fathers had vigorous debates about political turmoil and the use of said turmoil to control government. Political turmoil and the abusive use of it on future American soil by some colonists, by the English king, by the English lords and by other European governments was very much at the forefront when our democracy was founded. Political turmoil and the tools to manipulate political turmoil were never greater than when our country was founded.

Our Founding Fathers went to great lengths of discussion and planning to ensure that our democracy was and is based on the control of our government by the people through elections and the Constitution.

The Constitution is clear that we only have three branches of government. Article I established the legislative branch consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Article II established the executive branch and vested the power in the president and Article III established the judicial branch.

The Constitution directly and explicitly provides that the only solution to the dissatisfaction with an elected president is the next election or impeachment. In regards to impeachment, the Constitution is even more clear. The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments.

But now we have the special counsel, the fourth de-facto branch of government that is by effect promoting the impeachment of a president by extrajudicial influence, using a grand jury and the threat of prosecution to produce impeachment witnesses. This process has usurped the constitutional grant of impeachment power solely to the House of Representatives. No part of that power can be ceded to any other branch of government.


On June 20, 1767, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to George Hay where he stated: “The leading principle of our Constitution is the independence of the Legislature, executive and judiciary of each other . . . .” He further stated, “The intention of the Constitution, that each branch should be independent of the others, is further manifested by the means it has furnished to each, to protect itself from enterprises of force attempted on them by the others, and to none has it given more effectual or diversified means than the executive.”

The special counsel is an enterprise of force that has no effective accountability directly, indirectly or solely to any of the three constitutional branches of government. The special counsel operates with nearly unlimited power in secret and with taxpayer funds to use the executive branch (Department of Justice) and judicial branch powers (the grand jury) to set up a case for impeachment the will be delivered to the House and Senate. It has usurped our constitutional separation of powers.

Because of this enormous power that operates in secret, absent any effective influence by the constitutionally-created three branches of government, the special counsel has become a de-facto fourth branch of government.

And that enormous power is directly pointed at the president. In that regard, our Founding Fathers wanted the president to be a high-energy person who spent all of his time exercising the judgment and power of the office. In the previously mentioned Thomas Jefferson letter to George Hay, he said he did not believe a judge should have any power over the president, as that would serve to prevent the full exercise of running the executive branch of our government. In other words, he believed that our elected high-energy president should be only about the business of our country. An enormous job!

This de-facto fourth branch of government is an incredible threat to our democracy. Our Founding Fathers concluded and memorialized in the Constitution that political influence of the president was vested in the voters by an election every four years, to the House for impeachment and to the Senate to try an impeachment. No other provisions for dissatisfaction with the choice of a president is in our Constitution. That was by design to protect against the very turmoil that the special counsel is now creating.

The special counsel is a threat to our democracy.
Member comments
To comment, please log in or register.
workhardgetahead · September 18, 2018 at 10:56 am
James Comey - Fired
Andrew McCabe-Fired
Peter Strozk - Fired
Lisa Page- Resign Ed in Disgrace

Stay tuned, more to come.
Jim Griffin · September 18, 2018 at 9:56 am
Hear, hear!

Facts, no longer allegations, as they've reached numerous guilty pleas. So far in this investigation, which Republicans and Democrats alike supported from the start and now continue to back, this is the criminal scorecard:

1) George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, arrested July 2017, pleaded guilty October 2017, to making false statements to the FBI, a Federal crime.

2) Paul Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign chair, indicted on 25 different counts by Mueller’s team, related mainly to work for Ukrainians and his finances. He had two trials scheduled, first ended in a conviction on eight counts of financial crimes. To avert the second trial, Manafort struck a plea deal with Mueller in September 2018. He admits he is guilty of numerous crimes and is cooperating.

3) Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar criminal charges to Manafort. Agreed to a February plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to false statements and conspiracy crimes.

4) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty last December to making false statements to the FBI, a crime.

5-20) 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies were indicted on conspiracy charges, with some also being accused of identity theft. The charges related to a Russian propaganda effort designed to interfere with the 2016 campaign. The companies involved are the Internet Research Agency, often described as a “Russian troll farm,” and two other companies that helped finance it. The Russian nationals indicted include 12 of the agency’s employees and its alleged financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

21) Richard Pinedo: This California man pleaded guilty to identity theft crimes in connection with the Russian indictments, and has agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

22) Alex van der Zwaan: London lawyer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI -- crimes -- about his contacts with Rick Gates and another unnamed person based in Ukraine.

23) Konstantin Kilimnik: This longtime business associate of Manafort and Gates, who’s currently based in Russia, was charged alongside Manafort with attempting to obstruct justice by tampering with witnesses in Manafort’s pending case this year.

24-35) 12 Russian GRU officers: These officers of Russia’s military intelligence service were charged with crimes related to the hacking and leaking of leading Democrats’ emails in 2016.

Finally, two others Mueller investigated, but handed over to others in the Justice Department. Both eventually agreed to plea deals:

A, Michael Cohen: Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to 8 counts — tax and bank charges, related to his finances and taxi business, and campaign finance violations, related to hush money payments to women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump.

B, Sam Patten: Republican lobbyist pleaded guilty to not registering as a foreign agent with his work for Ukrainian political bigwigs, agreed to cooperate with the government.

That's the tally so far. Manafort's agreed upon asset seizure may well pay all the bills associated with the investigation.
Vickie · September 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm
Here Here! American citizens, we are being railroaded by an out of control investigation that seeks a crime, where none exists, by an group of people intent on overthrowing a legal, binding election of American voters.

People say to allow it to wrap up, with Presidential testimony. But no investigation should be going on, with fake evidence, untruthful leaking, foreign agents and unprecedented power of powerful elites and those in top positions of government that believe they know better than the electorate. This is no less than an attempted bloodless coup. Beware, and expect to rise up and fight to get our country from the crooks running behind governmental power run
amuck.
workhardgetahead · September 11, 2018 at 9:50 am
Rover, both systems of government were bad. I'm probably better educated than you. But it sounds to me you may be a fan of Communism. I'm 100% Capitalist, seriously, what form of government do you prefer?
Rover 530 · September 7, 2018 at 12:11 am
Wow! 'workhardgetahead' sounds like a real sick puppy. Bad upbringing perhaps or being off the meds. Does not know the fundamental differences between German National Socialism and Russian Communism. Probably undereducated. Will never understand.
workhardgetahead · September 2, 2018 at 9:18 am
I'm having a lot of luck right now as is this country with a humming economy and prosperity everywhere. Vote Democrat and it's a vote for Communism Light and it all comes tumbling down. MAGA!!!!
BJ · August 31, 2018 at 3:13 pm
workhardgetahead- Well aren't you special! Lot of I, I, I's in there just like Trump. Money over people never ends well for anyone. But good luck with that!
workhardgetahead · August 30, 2018 at 10:42 am
Big Johnson - Nazi stood for National SOCIALIST Party and Hitler murdered millions, Stalin was Communist who was the leader of the Union of SOviet SOCIALIST Republics, he also murdered millions. The Castro's are Communist/Socialist, look at Cuba. Hugo Chaves and Maduro of Venezuela were and are SOCIALIST, Daniel Ortega is a SOCIALIST, and yes, Bernie Sanders is a SOCIALIST. Out of all of the Socialist that I named, only Bernie probably hasn't killed anyone but he did Honeymoon in Russia. Socialism is better defined as Communism Light. Go ahead and pull the lever for these types. You get what you vote for. I voted for Trump and I got a humming economy with more money in my pocket and prosperity everywhere I go.
BJ · August 29, 2018 at 3:47 pm
workhardgetahead - LOLOLOL, grasping at straws. The only thing I ever called Senator McCain was "Sir". There is a big difference between socialists and murderers.
Lee Smith · August 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm
Thank you.
jhunt48 · August 27, 2018 at 3:28 pm
I like your opinion Lee.
workhardgetahead · August 27, 2018 at 9:33 am
Hitler=Nazi, which was a SOCIALIST party
Stalin=Communist, also leader of Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics
Sanders= Socialist

I know you are a Bernie type Big Johnson. You also probably called McCain a Fascist and Nazi back in the '08' election because to you, all conservatives are fascist and Nazi's. But you are the real fascist and Nazi. Look it up Antifa Blaine
BJ · August 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm
Oops, I meant PEESHAW!
BJ · August 26, 2018 at 10:55 am
workhardgetbehind - Pee-shah, a bully's got to bully. Have a wonderful day and hope your life is "be best" along with your other heroes - Hitler, Stalin, Nero.
workhardgetahead · August 25, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Blaine, learn how to write.
BJ · August 25, 2018 at 8:21 am
You know what they say about assuming. workhardgetahead is a it again.
workhardgetahead · August 24, 2018 at 7:51 pm
Blaine Johnson is your typical liberal.
BJ · August 22, 2018 at 8:25 pm
After reading over workhardgetahead comments, I believe he is possibly mentally ill, and needs help. Allegedly a danger to either himself or others. Don't know, don't care, but I for one am no going to engage him any further on this forum.

Blaine Johnson
sshrader · August 22, 2018 at 11:30 am
Also, you said "Democrats would be bad because they want to give it away for free (meaning you and me will be paying for it) there wouldn't be a reason for the loans anymore if the Dems took charge of everything."
My husband and I both had Pell grants in order to afford college. "A Pell Grant is money the government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. Eligible students receive a specified amount each year under this program."
So, we are exactly the people you take issue with. We still had student loans. But guess what, that money that the government used to help us become educated allowed us to prosper and now we can pay for our kids to go to school, we pay more taxes, we buy more goods, etc etc etc. Putting government (taxpayer) money towards increasing education opportunities helps people, therefore it helps the US in so many ways.
sshrader · August 22, 2018 at 10:14 am
Read the first article from my below post:
"Data shows a surprising campus free speech problem: left-wingers being fired for their opinions
Does “political correctness” really crush conservative speech on campus? The data suggests no."
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/8/3/17644180/political-correctness-free-speech-liberal-data-georgetown
"What Ungar is suggesting here is that the “campus free speech” crisis is somewhat manufactured. Conservative student groups invite speakers famous for offensive and racially charged speech — all of the above speakers fit that bill — in a deliberate attempt to provoke the campus left. In other words, they’re trolling. When students react by protesting or disrupting the event, the conservatives use it as proof that there’s real intolerance for conservative ideas.

The other key thing that emerges from the Georgetown data, according to Ungar, is that these protests and disruptions don’t just target the right. “Our data also include many incidents, generally less well-publicized, where lower-profile scholars, speakers, or students who could be considered to be on the left have been silenced or shut down,” he writes."

Additionally, read: https://niskanencenter.org/blog/there-is-no-campus-free-speech-crisis-a-close-look-at-the-evidence/
"What remains are 45 cases from 2015 to 2017 where a faculty member was fired, resigned, or demoted/denied promotion due to speech deemed by critics as political. Of these, more than half (26) occurred in 2017, the clear majority (19) being over liberal speech. This disparity persists even after removing terminations occurring in private religious institutions."

It s oversimplified to not take into account all parts of a system. Colleges and student loans are interdependent, colleges have control over who they hire and fire. If you think that they want professors whose ideals do not mesh with their own, and therefore what works for student loan companies as well, then you are naive.
Additionally, higher ed is full of choices- students get to pick where they go, what classes they take, even their professors. Students are not forced to go and get "indoctrinated", it is an insult to students to imply that they are just empty, thoughtless vessels waiting to be manipulated.
workhardgetahead · August 22, 2018 at 9:28 am
Shrader, there is a difference between College loans and professors. Loans pay the way for the student to receive and education. Professors brain wash the students. Of course Student loans companies are going to donate to Republican candidates. If they donated to democrats it would be suicide for their industry. Democrats would be bad because they want to give it away for free (meaning you and me will be paying for it) there wouldn't be a reason for the loans anymore if the Dems took charge of everything.
sshrader · August 22, 2018 at 9:07 am
workhardgetahead- "The only threat to this Republic are the tools of the democratic party I.e College professors and high school teachers indoctrinating our youth"
That is a misconception.
read this article:
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/8/3/17644180/political-correctness-free-speech-liberal-data-georgetown

Additionally, read about the student loan industry-
"The student loan industry is a major player in money in politics, but was not as active in 2016 as it has been in the past. For the 2016 election cycle, student loan companies gave just over $982,000 in contributions to federal candidates, parties and outside groups. The industry reported more than $1 million in contributions for both the 2014 and 2012 cycles.

Roughly three-quarters of the industry’s contributions for 2016 went to Republican candidates and parties. The student loan industry has allocated more of its contributions to Republicans than Democrats in every cycle since 1996."
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/08/the-politics-behind-student-loans/

If you really think that colleges and universities support and desire the far left ideal of affordable and accessible higher education for all then you do not understand the business of higher ed.
workhardgetahead · August 22, 2018 at 8:34 am
Blah Blah Blah Blah, all of your fools comments are tiresome. The Special counsel is a tool of the Clinton Political machine, bought and paid for by the Clinton Global initiative. Also, The DOJ was politicized so badly under Chairman Obama. I would love to see an honest investigation into the Clintons and Obama's. There would be so many people thrown in jail there wouldn't be enough room to hold them all. This who Special Counsel investigation is a sham. Basically it's a SHow me the man and I'll show you a crime. They had to dig, dig dig to finally find something potentially dangerous to the President and all of these fools on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and NBC shouting about Russian Collusion are beginning to look like total fools. The only threat to this Republic are the tools of the democratic party I.e College professors and high school teachers indoctrinating our youth, Antifa, BLM and any card carrying democrat liberal among many other things.
martinkus · August 21, 2018 at 12:54 pm
Mr. Trump IS the main threat. He is the poster child for the 25th Amendment, period!
BJ · August 20, 2018 at 8:08 pm
Don't you mean the current POTUS and the limp Republicans ARE A THREAT to our democracy, no posing about it. The best thing for this country is for Trump to RESIGN ASAP!

Blaine Johnson
phoaglan · August 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm
What is a threat to our democracy is the President's rhetoric and undermining of our institutions. We also need to find out if he is a Russian asset. So Robert Mueller's investigation must continue to see where it leads us.
Jim Griffin · August 20, 2018 at 6:51 pm
Did you take this same position with regards to the special counsel who investigated Bill Clinton?

Remember Richard Nixon? Little difference in his list of excuses:

http://bit.ly/2MLf05v

History reveals special counsels investigating many presidents, yet our democracy (repeatedly) survives your dire prediction. Ulysses Grant? James Garfield? Warren Harding? We needn't recount them all to realize special counsels are a key element of preserving democracy, not threatening it.

No one is above the law, including the president of this great country. Equal treatment before the law is a cornerstone of justice and democracy rests upon adherence to it.

Fourth branch of government? This special counsel has broad support of the House and the Senate, has survived numerous court challenges. Only the Executive branch objects, little wonder, but even this is new: Trump originally praised Mueller's appointment.

Trump claimed today he could fire Mueller and run the investigation himself. Is this the stuff of a fourth branch of government? Of course not.
Lee Smith · August 20, 2018 at 5:17 pm
Editorial Correction by Lee Smith:

On June 20, 1807, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to George Hay . . .

Constitution Note: The constitution was written to go into effect when it was ratified by 9 of the 13 states. The 9th state, New Hampshire, ratified it on June 21, 1788. It was not ratified by all 13 states until Rhode Island ratified it on May 29, 1790. It went into effect on the first Wednesday in March 1789.
see https://www.usconstitution.net/ratifications.html
Facebook comments
Enter your email address above to begin receiving
news updates from FauquierNow.com via email.
Monday, September 24
Using register system “glitch,” Elizabeth Lauren Webb stole money 35 times from Warrenton restaurant
Monday, September 24
Motorists should expect delays and detours for two months at Warrenton’s southern gateway
Monday, September 24
Delaplane home brings $1.45 million; Fauquier real estate transfers for Sept. 14-21
More Fauquier news
© Copyright 2011-2018

50 Culpeper Street, Suite 3
Warrenton, Virginia 20187
540.359.6574
Crime Log
Obituaries
Business
Add Your News
The Big Picture
Ellen’s Kitchen
and Garden

Features
Real Estate
For Sale
Employment
Automotive
Announcements
Legal Notices
Post an Ad
Advertise
Terms of Service