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LETTER: Trump and the law

U.S. President Donald Trump. — Reuters file photo

I wish I could find it amusing, all these lawyers of long experience and high repute pretending they don’t know the difference between criminal law and constitutional law. Any first-year law student in the United States could tell them that “high crimes and misdemeanours” are not statutory crimes, but misuses of presidential power.

My own familiarity with the law is minimal, confined to a couple of years teaching “Canadian law” to Grade 10 students in Newfoundland, but it’s enough to cause me to dismiss the disingenuous claims of U.S. President Donald Trump’s defence team.

Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of democratic government in the new republic, gave several examples of what would constitute a “high crime.” He left very little room for argument such as we are seeing today.

My own preference from among the high crimes of which Trump may be guilty is “wanton dismissal of meritorious officers.” The president has summarily dismissed every official who has dared to act lawfully, or to suggest that he should do the same.

Perjury and obstruction are also used as examples of constitutional crimes by early commentators on the foundation document, and it’s hard to see how Trump could honestly plead not guilty to those. But then, we’re not talking about honest people, are we? So we needn’t expect an honest outcome.

Ed Healy

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