Photograph by Trent Strohm
Dear Mr. President,
I understand you are on an extended summer vacation. Perhaps you plan to read during your break and reflect on great ideas? Many people do.
A real page turner is the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights. The Constitution isn’t very long. It describes your job. The Bill of Rights, also a short read, explicitly details the limits of your power. The first ten amendments to the Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. Ten declared rights to be exact. Obviously you don’t own a copy, but I bet the National Archives could help you out if you don’t like reading online.
We know you are somewhat familiar with the first two amendments. The first one, note it’s the first one, is the protection of individual freedoms. These are the really troubling ones for a wannabe despot and for a beleaguered attorney general.
Articulated in the First Amendment are those pesky freedoms of assembly, speech, and the prohibition on the government imposing religion. Oh, and the real killer, this amendment includes the named right of freedom of the press. In fact, the authors of the Bill of Rights wrote the “tweets of their time” in elegant arguments called the Federalist Papers describing why they cared about these ideas. It’s a set of short essays. Maybe Ivanka would read them to you or summarize them on a sheet of paper. Anyway, the founders went out of their way to describe the importance of a free press – must be annoying to you.
Then there is your favorite, the Second Amendment. I bet you’ve memorized that one. Even though it was designed to help defend the country at a time when there were too few soldiers, the gun manufacturers have pushed the second to its limit….an assault weapon on every shoulder seems to be the goal.
Well, recently I heard one of your mouthpieces on Fox News working on the “discredit” part of your campaign against the Russian investigation into the attack on our nation. Unfortunately, this commentator focused his attack on the institution of justice, and not on the merits of the Russian investigation. This is a dangerous line of attack unless, of course, your mission is to destroy the United States.
Your mouthpiece said that the grand jury is not a legitimate process. So, I thought I would introduce you to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Perhaps, you and he hadn’t read that far.
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
There you have it! So…quick review:
First Amendment – guarantees our civil liberties, the ones you are eager to eliminate
Second Amendment – guarantees that people can own guns, and I might note it’s for the purpose of defending the First Amendment rights, our individual liberties
Third Amendment – for another day, prohibits the government from forcing people to house soldiers
Fourth Amendment – also for another day, protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizure of property (another troubling one for Jeff Sessions who is trying to snatch property from citizens without due process) and
Fifth Amendment – the Constitutional establishment of the Grand Jury.
You might want to get to know the Fifth Amendment better because it is the one you will be using when you are called to testify at the Grand Jury. It’s the part that says you don’t have to testify against yourself. You might consider protecting the Fifth Amendment rather than condemning it. I think it’s going to come in handy for you, your family, and friends.
I expect that after your holiday of golf, eating, television watching, and tweeting (basically your regular work day schedule), you will call Fox News and share your insights from your summer reading. You might mention to them that they look silly when they rant and puff that a grand jury is somehow not legitimate. You might ask the National Archives to send the talking heads at Fox copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for their reading, too – point them to the Fifth Amendment.