Opinion: Presidents Are Not Above the Law

Walter Rhein

Photo byWalter Rhein

Today, the January 6th committee will meet. They are expected to recommend criminal charges regarding the insurrection. Although this might not be an easy day for America, it should be considered a good day for democracy.

Regular citizens of the United States are expected to abide by the laws. This is how we show respect for our country and our communities. This is how we show respect for our country.

However, when it comes to government officials and politicians, the line often becomes blurred. As a practical matter, police officers sometimes have to exceed the posted speed limit to apprehend a suspect. Gray areas become more complex as power increases.

Throughout various points in our nation’s history, American citizens from both parties have shown support for investigating politicians. In some recent remarks, President Biden commented on the importance of oversight.

One of the campaign slogans during the 2016 Presidential race was “Lock her up!” Hillary Clinton faced a Select Committee formed to investigate the 2012 attack in Benghazi. I don’t recall anyone calling that Committee a “kangaroo court.” I don’t recall anyone dismissing the Committee as being “politically motivated.”

I approve of investigations into all politicians. I believe our society functions better when our most powerful officials are held accountable. Our society functions better when people make decisions based on facts rather than speculation.

It’s not a valid argument to say that the Committee is somehow “illegitimate.” It would be a much stronger argument to engage the evidence the Committee has collected and disprove that if possible. There are videos. There is sworn testimony from high-ranking Republicans. It seems to me that politically motivated pundits can’t refute the evidence, so they attack the legitimacy of the Committee.

I think that is quite revealing.

If politically affiliated groups want to insist that investigations are politically motivated, then that must apply to all investigations. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find one Republican who said that Clinton should not be investigated. I assume they wanted an investigation before they “locked her up” but maybe they were crying to eliminate due process?

When cries to arrest a political opponent are fundamental to a campaign, it seems hypocritical to denounce investigations when the favored candidate of that movement is accused of wrongdoing.

Clinton’s email scandal revolved around the mishandling of classified documents. Anyone who criticized Clinton for careless handling of classified information should also criticize Republican politicians who are accused of the same.

At some point, you have to ask people what they stand for. When a political group dismisses evidence because it contradicts their beliefs, you have to wonder if they have the best interests of the country at heart.

If politicians are accused of wrongdoing then they should be investigated. You can see the difference in our political parties in the recent investigations that have taken place.

Democrats tend to submit to investigations and are cleared. Republicans tend to obstruct investigations, and significant evidence of crime is uncovered.

We should make our decisions based on facts. Politicians cannot be above the law. It’s also important for the voting public to be consistent in their beliefs. We can’t have investigations against one political party, but not the other. Both parties need to be investigated as a matter of regular oversight.

It’s hypocritical for the voting public to call an investigation “politically motivated” just because it happens to focus on a politician they support.

If you claim to support "law and order" then it's contrary to your ideology to invent reasons to dismiss the findings of investigations. America would be less divided if we put facts ahead of political ideology.

Comments / 327

Published by

Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI

More from Walter Rhein

Comments / 0