It is unbelievable that as a Mexican immigrant living in the United States I need to take up some space on my blog to give Donald Trump a very basic lesson in US civics. All of you reading this know that the United States is governed by three branches of government. Interestingly, this is one of the first questions you are supposed to know the answer to when anyone takes the citizenship test. As you know, the three branches of government are the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Apparently Donald Trump does not know this as evidence by his threat to seek a special prosecutor to look into Hillary Clinton.
As some of you know, during the second presidential debate on Sunday night, Donald Trump stated;
“I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your (Clinton) situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”
Clearly and unequivocally, Donald Trump does not understand that even if he were president he cannot order a prosecution of Hillary Clinton because prosecutions on reserved for the judicial branch of government. Even in my Mexican education, we were taught that the executive branch of government, the one Donald Trump would belong to, is tasked with carrying out the laws created by the legislative branch of government. The legislative branch of government, better known as Congress, is the one that makes laws. It is the judicial branch of government where the laws are prosecuted and violators are punished. It is the judicial branch of government that investigates whether laws were broken. Before the Constitutional experts chime in, yes Congress appoints special prosecutors to investigate the other two branches of government. It is basic Constitutional law that children are taught from grade school on up and immigrants are expected to know in order to become US citizens. Clearly Donald Trump does not know this so I’m force to give him a basic civics lesson – you know a Mexican immigrant that much to his chagrin is not a “rapist” or a “thief” who also happens to know more about the basics of government than Trump does.
As president, Donald Trump would have “presidential powers” to make appointments, i.e. ambassadors or judges. Trump would also have the power to make treaties with other countries or international entities and presumably supplant an existing international agreement, like NAFTA, through a treaty or executive order. Trump, as president, could also veto a bill from Congress. And, yes, Donald Trump could issue pardons to criminals. But nowhere in those presidential powers does a president have the authority to order a criminal investigation of others.
The best well-known prosecution of a politician by a special prosecutor was Richard Nixon who was impeached as president. Obviously, he did not appoint the special prosecutor. Archibald Cox was appointed by Attorney General Elliot Richardson to look into the Watergate scandal.
Although many media outlets, scholars and political pundits are focused on the “despot” angle of Trump’s threat to jail Hillary Clinton, their rhetoric misses the most basic reality of the US government.
Donald Trump cannot directly appoint a special prosecutor to jail his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Doing so erodes the separation of powers on which the United States constitution is based on.
I understand that the evidence points to Hillary Clinton receiving special treatment from prosecution and fully understand the anger that this generates. I also understand that Hillary Clinton is also not “fit” to be president of the United States.
But come on! Does a Mexican immigrant, who is unable to vote in this election, really have to be the one to point out that Donald Trump would violate the basic tenet of US Constitutional Law by threatening to throw Hillary Clinton in jail!
So much for the “Mexican thing”.