In 2018, Trump signed an executive order that placed the United States in a state of emergency with regard to foreign interference in our elections.
This was signed without a great deal of fanfare at the time, but it would have been hard for the Democrats to make anything of it because they were in the middle of claiming that some Russians had destroyed our democracy through buying a handful of Facebook ads. They were on a crazed foreign interference jag, and so they weren’t really in a position to say that such an executive order wasn’t all that necessary.
That executive order is active now and, if acted upon in a particular way, it could result in a monumental crisis.
The executive order stipulates that 45 days after the election (which would be Dec. 18), a number of high-level officials (e.g. Attorney-General, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, et al.) will deliver a report to the president that informs him whether or not there was foreign interference in our election. This is perhaps a cliff-hanger, because the Electoral College is scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 — though I don’t believe that date is set in stone.
If interference is discovered to have been [happening], then the president can take decisive action, including the seizure of any assets of any players in said interference. An obvious target of this would be a company like Dominion, but it could ratchet up to entities as big as Twitter.
Of course, the problem is that not acting on confirmed interference could result in a monumental crisis also, see the previous section [on election fraud]. Such is life. …
There are some indications that his executive order was a trap that he set and baited for those in the grip of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
In the speech that Trump gave the other day about the election, there were some phrases that sounded, you know, kind of lawyery, and it did seem like he was setting the stage for legal action on the basis of that executive order. About thirty minutes into the speech, he said, “The only conceivable reason why you would block commonsense measures to verify legal eligibility for voting is you are trying to encourage, enable, solicit or carry out fraud.” The only thing missing there is the whereas, and the to wit, and the parties of the first part.
Now if he does take action on the basis of the executive order, and does so in a way that simply kicks the issues involved into the courts, then I have no real problem. That really would be benign. That would not be arbitrary government.
But if he just up and seizes Google’s assets, however much that makes us want to clap our tiny hands with joy as far as Google’s comeuppance is concerned, the simple fact is that this would be arbitrary government. Maybe some of the editors that Lincoln arrested were actually bad men. Maybe, but that doesn’t matter. That’s not how you do it.
hat-tip Stephen Neil