At the end of the 2000 election, the Florida recount had been stayed by the US Supreme Court in an special ruling for this one emergency. Not that it was yet an emergency, except that George w. Bush’s dad wanted his son to be President, and Gore, not. The ruling split down right down party lines. It was decided the recount would take too much time, (because Jeb Bush was working hard to invoke delays). The recount was halted (until long after the fact determined to be won by Gore).
Questions remain today regarding whether or not the Supreme Court even had the jurisdiction to make such a ruling. And it is argued that George W. Bush’s residency at the White House was instigated by unlawful coup. But Clinton was a great compromiser, and did a lot of work extending olive branches across the table to get bills passed. We had good precedent to hope Bush would continue the tradition upheld by Clinton’s administration. At least we hoped that he would recognize that he wasn’t elected by majority, that he would be, as promised, a compassionate conservative, that he’d be a President to all Americans.
What we learned — what I learned, but the media seemed just as surprised — is that once a President is in office, there is no recourse when it is discovered he cheated to get in, or that he’s mind-controlled, or that he’s really an alien disguised as a human being. Once Kang is in office, he’s in.
So if Trump is voted into office by the Electoral College on December 19th, there is pretty much nothing to be done about his administration, except to block it. The CIA could probably direct a rifleman to shoot at Trump motorcade from a library, but really it has other methods to just convince Trump to do what they want. (e.g. Havannah thinks your steaks are stupid…)
It’s not as dark as it sounds, but it’s pretty dark. The courts can try to bust him, say, for an emoluments clause breach. But really, the Supreme Court of the United States cannot make rulings regarding the presidency except in ways the US Constitution actively specifies. Any other action by the Supreme Court that ruled over the President would place the Judicial branch over the Executive branch and violate the separation of powers. However, if they can convince the people that for this one emergency to allow it, it flies.
It’s also possible (though unlikely) for the legislature to vote to impeach the President once he or she is in office. Though this is difficult the same way overriding a veto is in that it involves a lot of collaboration, and this is especially a problem in the police state era when our immense surveillance complex can narrow their focus on our officials and leverage biographical data to pressure them to cooperate with the new regime (id est, blackmail them into submission.) This is a known tactic within the Republican party to keep their own lines neatly toed. During the DeLay-controlled House this sort of pressure was used to embarrassing excess (and success) to push a hard right agenda. It was only under the Obama administration that the CIA and NSA utilized their anti-terror surveillance powers (that’s legal powers. I can’t really speak to their mad haxxor skillz) to spy on senators and representatives and use what they’ve discovered to leverage embarrassment for cooperation.
What it means is that even if Trump is an obvious shill for Russia, he’s going to be president, and we’re going to be Putin’s bitch for four years.
If Trump uses his Presidency to funnel tax dollars into his own familial (overseas) coffers, it’s going to be a slow, difficult and likely ineffective process to remove him from position. And then, there won’t be legal recourse for justice here in the states, any more than there was justice for our torture program against the Bush administrators that endorsed it. (If Cheney ever leaves the US, though…) We can expect that at the end of it, Trump will be very, very rich and probably living in Monaco or Lichtenstein, untouchable as he gropes all the adolescent service girls he wants. And the US will be bankrupt and still in love with Trump the way Argentina still has the hots for Eva Perón
It is possible that the courts can try to intervene, but they’d have to do so again for this one emergency, and if Trump has a good enough lawyer, he’ll find that the congressional attempts to stop him from profiting (as per the STOCK act) cannot apply to the President without changing the Constitution. We already discovered this after the passing of the 1973 War Powers Act which almost caused a Constitutional crisis. We’ve never created a resolution for it, rather Presidents have obeyed the War Powers Act, or rather operated in consistency to) the act so as to prevent such a crisis.
This is how the United States of America is not just fucked by a Trump presidency, but is fucked by it at compounding levels.
Then again, perhaps Trump will handle the presidency with the aplomb and delicate touch of a seasoned statesman. He’ll recognize that some things, such as a nation of 320 million people is bigger and more important than he is. And he’ll know to avoid specific circumstances that might trigger a Constitutional crises, the way he knows to avoid circumstances that might trigger a war with China. And he’ll care enough to bother.
Does anyone believe that?