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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Will They Succeed in Removing Trump from Office?


If the Pentagon and the CIA stepped in, removed Trump from office, took control, and promised a new election within a reasonable period of time, my hunch is that there would be a lot of established types, especially within the mainstream press, who would be ecstatic. They would lament that a coup had become necessary but they would justify it as necessary to save the country from Trump. And they would emphasize that the national-security establishment was paving the way toward a transition to democracy.

Of course, what they would be ignoring in the process is that the national-security establishment would have destroyed democracy in order to save it.

The Constitution provides two means by which to involuntarily remove a president from office: by defeating him in the next election and through impeachment. In order to be removed from office through impeachment, the president must be convicted by the Senate of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

There is no doubt that liberals, the mainstream press, and the Washington establishment want to see Trump removed from office long before 2020, perhaps even as early as this year. That’s what the special counsel is all about. His job isn’t to investigate whether a particular crime has been committed. His job is to go on a giant fishing expedition to see if Trump has committed any crimes.

The one that most of these people seem to be hoping for is “obstruction of justice.” They are hoping that when Trump purportedly asked former Attorney General James Comey to drop his investigation into the Russia brouhaha, that could be considered “obstruction of justice” which they could then call a “high crime or misdemeanor” on which they could base their impeachment proceeding.

It’s clear that Trump doesn’t buy into all the anti-Russia brouhaha. What’s wrong with that? Doesn’t a president have the right to make friends with whatever foreign regime he wants to make friends with? What if he favors normalizing relations between the United States and Russia? What if he doesn’t see anything wrong with making friends with Russian officials, both before the election and after the election? What if he wants to lift sanctions against Russia? What if he’s convinced that no crimes have been committed by himself or any other person in his administration? What if he believes that his attorney general is engaged in a big, expensive, needless investigation into nothing but a political difference with people within the Pentagon and the CIA?

Given such, what’s wrong with asking his attorney general to drop the whole thing? If asking an attorney general to drop what Trump considers a groundless investigation, then does that mean that every criminal defendant whose attorney asks the prosecutor to drop the charges against him is also guilty of obstructing justice.

Look, I’m no fan of Donald Trump. The guy is statist to the core, as reflected by his allegiance to both the welfare state and the warfare state. But I also don’t believe in coups, including those engineered by the national-security establishment and its supporters and acolytes within the mainstream media and the Washington establishment.

Let’s ask ourselves a basic question: Why are these people so intent on removing Trump from office before his term is up?

There are two reasons.

First, they don’t like him. He’s volatile, erratic, and temperamental and displays all the characteristics of an authoritarian dictator.

But that’s it. There are no philosophical differences between Trump and his critics. With their joint devotion to the welfare state and the warfare state, they are on the same page philosophically. While they differ on the details or reform plans, they all are fervent devotees of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, foreign aid, immigration controls, sanctions, travel restrictions, the drug war, the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, torture, assassination, a national-security state, foreign military bases, partnerships with foreign dictators, foreign interventions, and the forever wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

It’s just personal. They don’t like the guy. They’d rather have Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton running the welfare-warfare state to which they are so devoted. Then they’d feel comfortable.

That’s the primary motive of those on the left to remove Trump from office early.

But that’s not the primary motive of the national-security establishment. That brings us to the second reason for wanting to remove him early. Trump has never bought into their anti-Russia obsession, which, as we have seen, is critically important to them.

Ever since its inception after World War II, the national-security establishment has survived and prospered through official enemies and crises. That was what the Cold War was all about. Immediately after the war was over, U.S. officials converted their wartime partner and ally, the Soviet Union, into an official enemy, one, they said, was a bigger threat to the United States than Nazi Germany had been. That’s why, in fact, the CIA secretly brought in former Nazi officials — you know, officials whose regime had committed the Holocaust — into the U.S. government — to help them defeat Hitler’s old enemy (and America’s partner), the Soviet Union. (It helps to have a scorecard when you’re trying to figure out who is an official enemy and who isn’t.)

Anyone who didn’t buy into the anti-Soviet, anti-communist obsession was considered an enemy of the United States, a threat to “national security.” That’s what got Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz removed from office early. That’s what got Chilean President Salvador Allende removed from office early. That’s what got Patrice Lamumba removed from office early. That’s what got President Kennedy removed from office early (See FFF’s ebook: JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne.) That’s why they targeted Fidel Castro with an embargo and an assassination and even partnered with the Mafia to do it, notwithstanding the fact that Cuba never attacked the United States.

The sudden and unexpected end of the Cold War in 1989 caught them flat-footed, but they never intended to let go of Russia, which was the principal component of the Soviet Union, as an official enemy. Although they quickly went into the Middle East and began killing people, including hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, with the aim of having “terrorism” replace “communism” as a new official enemy, they also used NATO to move ever closer to Russia’s borders, knowing full well that that would be the surefire way of ensuring that Russia resurfaced as a dangerous, threatening new (old) official enemy.

That’s why they hate Trump, just as their predecessors hated Arbenz, Allende, Lamumba, Kennedy, Allende, and Castro. No, not just because of their devotion to socialist programs (including Social Security, free public schooling, and government-provided healthcare) but because they weren’t buying into the anti-Soviet, anti-Russia, anti-communist crusade that was keeping what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex” in high cotton with ever-increasing money, influence, and power.

So, they’re now going looking for a crime, any crime, on which to pin an impeachment of Donald Trump.

But if that doesn’t work, just as it didn’t work in the case of Allende in Chile, don’t be surprised if they resort to their other method — a military coup that ousts Trump from office and promises a quick transition to a new democratic election, one in which voters will be given another chance to elect the “right” person.

Let’s keep in mind that that is precisely what happened in Chile. When the national-security establishment of Chile resisted a military coup, their counterparts within the U.S. national-security establishment convinced them that they had a moral duty to remove Allende from power in order to “save the country,” notwithstanding the fact that the constitution didn’t authorize that method for removing the president.

When it happened, there were lots of Americans who cheered. In fact, today there are many conservatives, both here and in Chile, who still cheer the Chilean coup and claim that it served as a successful “transition” to democracy with elections 17 years later, after tens of thousands of innocent people had been arrested, kidnapped, tortured, raped, abused, killed, or disappeared, including two Americans, Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi. It was all brought about at the urging of the U.S. national-security establishment, as a way to save Chile and the United States from Allende, who was committing the cardinal sin of making friends with Cuba, Russia, and the rest of the Soviet Union.

And hey,  before anyone cries “Conspiracy theory!” which is the term the CIA invented to distract people’s attention away from the Kennedy assassination, let’s keep in mind that I’m not the only one who has raised the possibility of a coup. See “If Trump Wins, a Coup Isn’t Impossible Here in the U.S.” which was published by the Los Angeles Times.

Would the U.S. national-security establishment do here in the United States what it did in Chile? Well, imagine that the entire house of cards of ever-soaring federal spending and debt happens to come crashing down under the Trump administration. Imagine a massive economic and monetary collapse akin to the Great Depression. A massive run on the dollar. An industry-wide banking collapse, one where there isn’t enough money to honor the FDIC’s commitments. Massive bankruptcies and unemployment. On top of all that, several hundred troops killed in ambushes in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

What then? My hunch is that there would be lots of Americans secretly or even openly calling on the Pentagon and the CIA to do what they did in Chile — “save America” by removing the nation’s democratically elected president from office, taking control, and promising to hold elections within a brief period of time. In such an event, no one should count on Congress or the courts to stop it. They would lack the power to do so. They also would be too scared to try to do anything but defer to the military and the CIA, which is pretty much what they do today.

What the Washington establishment, liberals, conservatives, and the national-security state just don’t get is that the problem is not Donald Trump. The problem is the welfare-warfare state apparatus that has been attached to the federal governmental structure. The solution is not a coup, overt or covert, that removes Trump from office early. The solution is to dismantle the welfare and warfare part of the government and restore a genuine limited-government republic to our land.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.