Jack Goldsmith writes: The Trump Presidency is a strange combination of menacing and impotent. It is also fractured internally like no presidency in American history.
The menacing element is plain. Trump sets everyone on edge with incessant verbal attacks and relentlessly indecorous behavior. The maelstrom that is his presidency seems like it could at any moment push the country off the rails—massive pardons to kill the Russia investigation, a Justice Department meltdown as a result of firings and resignations, a North Korean miscalculation, or who-knows-what-other-crazy-thing. Many people worry how the impulsive Trump will handle his first crisis.
As for impotence, Trump has accomplished nothing beyond conservative judicial appointments. His administration is otherwise a comedy of errors in the exercise of executive power. What is most remarkable is the extent to which his senior officials act as if Trump were not the chief executive. Never has a president been so regularly ignored or contradicted by his own officials. I’m not talking about so-called “deep state” bureaucrats. I’m talking about senior officials in the Justice Department and the military and intelligence and foreign affairs agencies. And they are not just ignoring or contradicting him in private. They are doing so in public for all the world to see. [Continue reading…]