To the editor: While it is not a binding legal document, the Declaration of Independence is pretty strong evidence of what the founders thought was or was not acceptable in an executive. In relevant part, the founders wrote about King George III of England, “He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.” (“Whatever President Trump has done, it can't be obstruction of justice, his lawyer argues,” Dec. 4)
In other words, obstruction of justice was repellent enough to the founders that it provided part of the justification for armed rebellion. Why on Earth would we fight a revolution only to assent to explicitly unacceptable behavior from our own executive?
No one is above the law, and it’s never comported with the basic ideals of our democracy that our most powerful leader is above the law. That has it exactly backward, which is not surprising from an administration that, among other things, loathes the 1st Amendment.
Branden Frankel, Encino
To the editor: It was reported that President Trump’s attorney said the president cannot be tried for obstruction of justice. But according to the Constitution, the president may be liable and subject to all laws.
If there is a successful impeachment and subsequent conviction by a two-thirds vote of the Senate as provided in Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution, the president is removed from office. Section 3 later states, “The party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according to law.”
Certainly it is up to the senators to remove a president from office. But it is inaccurate to state he cannot be tried for obstruction of justice.
Michael Miller, West Covina
To the editor: I’m not a constitutional lawyer, but I know the practical result of the idea that a president “cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer.”
In practice, the president becomes a dictator who is above the law.
Doris Isolini Nelson, Los Angeles