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Turmoil at the White House: Now what?

Only Congress has clear path to Trump’s removal from office

In the days ahead, those who care likely will be treated to extensive debate concerning the controversial legalities surrounding the crime of obstruction of justice. That debate may be educational — certainly it’s complicated — but the prospects of a successful criminal prosecution of the president are highly unlikely. The controversy over the conduct of the Trump administration is more political than legal, though of course the culpability of the president is hardly irrelevant to what will determine his fate.

However, only Congress has a clear path to Donald Trump’s removal and, therefore, the calculus for the Republican majorities in the House and Senate will be whether they stand to lose more by forcing Trump out, and enjoying a President Pence, or by sticking with him and his penchant for malfeasance.

It is now clear that the American people, via the Electoral College, made a huge mistake in November. Only political action by would-be voters can convince the elected representatives of the people to rectify it.

Michael Meltsner

The writer is a professor of constitutional law at Northeastern University School of Law.

Trump’s claim of an ‘absolute right’ is a monarchical overreach

When I saw that the president had claimed an “absolute right” (“Revelations shake White House,” Page A1, May 17), I posted to social media that there are no such things. I wasn’t surprised at arguments to the contrary, but I am disappointed at how casually so many of us use the word “right.”

Thomas Jefferson and the Founders meant exactly what they wrote in the Declaration of Independence when they said that rights are endowed on all equally by their creator. That is why they included the claim that certain rights are unalienable —they are not humankind’s to take away. Setting aside the arguments over the existence of a creative being and discerning its will, what they were saying is that rights are beyond the reach of government. They were making a direct challenge to the divine right of kings, which was a component of England’s rationale for imposing tyranny on the colonies.

The president’s claim to an “absolute right” — in this instance, to disclose classified information to the Russian foreign minister — is effectively a return to extraconstitutional authoritarianism.


What the president has is the authority to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the office as enumerated in the Constitution. Nothing more, nothing less. The president does not have a single right more than any citizen. Not one.

The president is elected, not ordained.

Rick Schrenker
North Reading

Our system of checks and balances is working

I read Yvonne Abraham’s May 11 column (“America on the precipice,” Metro) with great interest. She writes of the hope and faith she felt when she became a US citizen nine years ago. I am a firm believer in immigration, and Abraham is a good example of the great contributions immigrants make to our country. However, I found her concern for the future of the country unwarranted.

In fact, President Trump’s ascension to the most important position in the world proves the strength of our system. Whether it’s the minority party, the judicial system, or the freedom of the press, they all have played a part in the checks and balances that our Founders thoughtfully implemented almost 250 years ago. This has been proved in the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, as those checks and balances have been active and effective. Trump, like many of our previous presidents, is no match for a political system that has curbed executive power for centuries.


To Abraham, I would say: Enjoy our freedoms, and please keep writing.

Brett Hawkes

Republicans are our only hope — they need to grow a spine

Zephyr Teachout’s “The art of the lie” (Opinion, May 12) should be printed out and mailed to US representatives and senators in great numbers. Since their offices no longer answer phone calls and the voice mail boxes are full, use snail mail; it will get through.

Teachout’s point drives to the heart of the mess in the White House. We need to stop talking about the various changing stories and versions of events and the justifications by different people. These are diversions and wastes of time.

This week looks like a coup directed at our democracy by Donald Trump. Until he can be impeached, he needs to be neutralized by the Republicans in office in Washington. They need to grow a spine and become patriots and protect us from this authoritarian. At this point, we have to rely on them. This emperor wears no clothes, and they need to take their hands off their eyes and do what is necessary, and call him out and refuse to do his bidding.

Susan Rothstein