The corruption, self-dealing, trampling of the Constitution and gross mismanagement of the federal government of Donald Trump and his family are without precedent. How to hold them accountable once Trump is no longer president after Jan. 20 has been the subject of much conjecture.
James Fallows, a writer for The Atlantic, studied how past presidents have been investigated and concluded that Trump’s criming is such that three separate avenues should be pursued. First, he says that investigation and prosecution of corruption by Trump, his family and businesses ought to be left to the states. The federal pardons that Trump is said to be considering for his adult children and business associates would not shield them from prosecution for state crimes. Investigations into potential bank and tax fraud crimes by Trump and his real estate businesses currently are ongoing in New York state and the district attorney in Washington, D.C., is probing potential campaign spending violations in connection with Trump inaugural ceremonies.
Second, Trump’s actions and inactions that have led to a corrosion of federal government capabilities need to be fully documented and exposed. That would include degradation of the State Department, U.S. Postal Service, National Weather Service and public health agencies.
Lastly, in Fallows’ opinion, national commissions that operate outside of the federal government should be appointed to investigate the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, human rights abuses at the border and attacks on democracy.
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, he says, “there’s what happened, and the certainty that new viruses from new parts of the world will emerge. What have we learned and how can this not happen again?”
For the border and the abuses of immigrants, Fallows noted that John Allen, the retired four star general who is now president of the Brookings Institution, told him the rest of the world views us a state-sponsor of child abuse, so it’s also about America’s standing in the world. That commission needs to look at what went wrong. What brought this country to violate human rights in a such a horrific way and allowed for separating children from their parents and putting them in cages?
Finally the commission on attacks on democracy would look at “the structure of democracy” and what led to white supremacist violence and domestic terrorism.
While some previous investigative commissions have been viewed with skepticism, the work of the Space Shuttle Commission and the 9/11 Commission have resulted in tremendous benefits to the U.S. in helping to prevent similar such tragedies, which is exactly what he feels is necessary to avoid another tragedy like the Trump administration.