Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Trump Should Turn to His Solicitor General

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
by John and Andy Schlafly

The most powerful position in the world has apparently become one of the weakest, with the spectacle of the office, home and even hotel room of President Trump’s own attorney being ransacked without warning.  The shocking seizure by government of attorney Michael Cohen’s files, including attorney-client communications, happened because Robert Mueller’s runaway investigation wanted some dirt on Trump.

Republicans in Congress stand silently by while this unfolds, with some even wanting to support this with special new legislation to protect Mueller’s wrecking crew.  Fortunately, there is one person to whom Trump can turn to put the GOP back on the right path.

President Trump should look to his top advocate in his own Department of Justice, Solicitor General Noel Francisco.  He may be the only man willing to assert proper presidential authority to stop the circus caused by the blank check given to Mueller’s out-of-control inquisition.

The Solicitor General argues cases on behalf of the executive branch before the U.S. Supreme Court, and is well-versed in constitutional law.  “General Francisco,” as he is addressed by the courts, is not the famous “General Francisco Franco” who ruled Spain for nearly four decades, but “General Francisco” is the man who can restore presidential power.

In contrast with the liberal Republicans on Capitol Hill, General Francisco has strongly asserted the authority of President Trump to fire underlings in the executive branch.  General Francisco argued in support of executive power to deport illegal alien law-breakers, while on Tuesday Neil Gorsuch just sided with the Left on the Supreme Court to block deportation.

Francisco is pro-life too, asserting the right of the executive branch to reject demands by illegal aliens to have abortions.  The Supreme Court has repeatedly dodged and ducked petitions for cert brought by the pro-life side, including the case of a middle-of-the-night abortion performed on an illegal alien which Francisco has appealed.

The Left is most agitated about Francisco’s support of presidential power.  In the case of Lucia v. SEC, Francisco quotes Supreme Court precedent to argue that “the Constitution gives the President what the Framers saw as the ‘traditional’ means of ensuring accountability: the ‘power to oversee executive officers through removal.’”

“The removal power thus is a key safeguard of democratic self-governance, preserving an unbroken chain of responsibility from the American people to the public officials who serve them,” Francisco tells the High Court.  The Court seems likely to agree, and granted Francisco’s request to participate in the upcoming oral argument on April 23rd.

Although relatively unknown to the public, Francisco is in line to replace Mueller’s supervisor Rod Rosenstein if he were terminated by Trump.  All agree that that Trump has the authority to fire Rosenstein, and reports have even circulated that Rosenstein would not be surprised by it.

Francisco could step into Rosenstein’s shoes, and then Francisco could fire Mueller.  The tyranny of the witch-hunt against Trump and his supporters would be over.

In contrast with that scenario is an unconstitutional approach being taken by liberal Republicans in Congress, who are pandering to the media by pushing legislation to make Mueller above the president.  The irony is that while Never Trumpers insist that the president is not above the law, they try to make Mueller above the law instead.

Retiring Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent, a strident Never Trumper who just announced that he will quit his seat even before his term expires, is a sponsor of this silly legislation in the House.  With a straight face, Dent declared that “independent investigations must be given the resources needed to carry out their investigations.”

Mueller has already burned through tens of millions of dollars, achieving the destruction of the lives of Trump supporters and forcing them to waste many millions of dollars of their own.  All told, Mueller may have already caused the waste of $100 million, with no end in sight.

Dent continued by pompously declaring that Mueller must have “the authority and public confidence to see [his investigation] through to conclusion.”  But Dent provides no guide on when that conclusion will be, and it is obvious that Mueller will continue until he is fired or shut down.

Congress extended Mueller’s blank check for his expenses into 2019.  All indications are that Mueller is widening the scope of his Grand Inquisition, rather than trying to wrap it up promptly.

If Trump does not take steps now to end the anti-Trump project, then it will become an issue in the presidential campaign that will begin soon after the midterm elections.  Already a significant chunk of Trump’s campaign dollars are being diverted to legal fees.

Republican Senators like Lindsey Graham are hurting the GOP by siding with far Left Senate Democrats Chris Coons (Delaware) and Cory Booker (New Jersey) in promoting the pro-Mueller legislation.  No Democrat would support such a bill if the shoe were on the other foot.

John and Andy Schlafly are the sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Winning the ‘Trade War’ with China

THE PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY REPORT
by John and Andy Schlafly

From the day he announced for president, Donald Trump spoke of how the United States was losing ground to other countries, especially China, in international trade.  We’re not winning anymore, Trump complained throughout the campaign, and he promised to change that.

Trump has fulfilled every expectation on the trade issue.  Unlike most politicians who promise one thing and then do another after the election, Trump has followed through on his campaign promises on trade.

As Trump tweeted last Saturday:  “The United States hasn’t had a Trade Surplus with China in 40 years.  They must end unfair trade, take down barriers and charge only Reciprocal Tariffs.”

“The U.S. is losing $500 Billion a year, and has been losing Billions of Dollars for decades,” Trump added.  “Cannot continue!”

Trump tweeted again on Monday, April 9:  “When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%.  When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%.”

“Does that sound like free or fair trade.  No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE - going on for years!”

With his new actions on trade with China, President Trump has brought the era of bipartisan pusillanimity to an end.  Trade wars always exist, and now our side is finally going to fight back.

For at least two decades, Republicans and Democrats alike have known about and tolerated China’s systematic violations of trading rules that the United States observes.  Our leaders have refused to do anything about China’s lawless behavior, primarily because the Wall Street donors who finance both parties have fomented fears about a trade war.

The China problem emerged in the year 2000, when Republican Congressional leaders (including the future Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and the future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) conspired with President Bill Clinton to give China preferred access to the American consumer market.  Normal trading privileges paved the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, despite its failure to meet basic requirements for membership.

Phyllis Schlafly strongly opposed the trade giveaway to China, which never would have attained the 2/3rds vote required by the Treaty Clause in the Constitution in order to pass.  So instead this handout to China was passed as a non-treaty.
One-fourth of House Republicans voted against their leadership in 2000, while two-thirds of House Democrats voted against their president. The naysayers were proved right as China continued to flout the rules for the next 18 years and still shows no sign of real reform.

In its early years of access to the American market, China profited by paying extremely low wages to people making ultra-cheap products.  Now China is rapidly moving up the food chain to sell us high quality products containing innovative technology that was created and developed in the United States.

How did the Chinese get their hands on the latest American high tech know-how?  First, by stealing it:  China’s commercial espionage is estimated to cost U.S. companies over $20 billion a year, with a cumulative total of $600 billion over 20 years.

China also forces American companies to share their technology as the price of access to the Chinese market.  Such requirements are supposedly prohibited by the WTO, but with no one stopping them, the Chinese trade surplus in goods reached a new all-time record of $375 billion last year.

“We have a tremendous intellectual property theft situation going on,” the president said on March 22 as he signed an order that could eventually impose tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products.  As Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, explained, “What the United States is doing is strategically defending itself from China’s economic aggression.”

Even long-time free-traders are starting to see the light.  Last Sunday Lawrence Kudlow admitted that “the whole world knows China has been violating trade laws for many years” and “President Trump is the guy calling them on it, and he’s right.”

“This is a problem caused by China, not a problem caused by President Trump.  I would go so far as to say Trump is there to fix the problem,” Kudlow explains. 

“His argument, and it’s a good one” is this:  “You can’t have free trade unless China brings down its barriers, opens up its markets, and stops this technology steal that they’re doing,” Kudlow adds.

Peter Navarro properly observed last Sunday, “What we want from China is very clear.  We want fair and reciprocal trade.” 

“We want them to stop stealing our stuff.  We want them to guard intellectual property, not take it from us,” Navarro concluded.

China has far more to lose in a trade war than the United States does.  Indeed, our job market would improve if tariffs reduced our massive trade imbalance with China, and Trump is right to take strong steps toward that goal.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously in 2016. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The ‘Caravans’ Are Coming

THE PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY REPORT
by John and Andy Schlafly

During the Easter weekend, when many Americans were watching the college basketball championships, President Donald Trump kept his eye on America’s southern border.  It’s long overdue for a president to defend our borders.

“Getting more dangerous,” Trump tweeted on Easter Sunday before attending church with his wife, Melania, in Palm Beach.  “‘Caravans’ coming.”

The president was referring to the “caravan” (their word) of some 1,200 men, women and children who were spotted in southern Mexico, heading toward the United States.  Photographs showed a massive column of people walking north, herded by a few vehicles alongside.

A “caravan” is a group of migrants traveling together with all their belongings, often on foot or with covered wagons, stopping at makeshift camps along the way to eat and sleep.  The word originated in the Middle East centuries ago when crossing the desert by caravan was a common sight.

In the frontier era of the 19th century, Americans traveled west by covered wagon for mutual protection as they crossed through hostile Indian country.  Caravans are rarely seen in modern America, but it’s a different world south of the border, where millions of people live in primitive conditions that would have challenged our ancestors.

In this case, a caravan consisting of hundreds of men, women and children from Central America, mostly Honduras, crossed into Mexico on March 25, heading north.  By April 1 they had traveled 140 miles to the town of Matías Romero.

A thousand people do not embark on a journey of over 1,000 miles without organization and financial support.  The caravan now making its way through Mexico is being coordinated by a group called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which means Town Without Borders (or People Without Borders).

The New York Times describes Pueblo Sin Fronteras as a “transnational advocacy group” whose leader, Irineo Mujica, is a “Mexican-American who holds dual citizenship.”  There are so many things wrong with those phrases that it’s difficult to know where to start.

To begin with, the United States does not recognize dual citizenship, except in rare cases.  A person from Mexico or anywhere else who goes through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen is required to take an oath swearing to totally renounce his previous allegiances.

Similarly, a “transnational” group is not allowed to exist in many countries without first registering to do business or conduct its activities legally in that country.  We have enough problems with the outlaw transnational group called MS-13, which has committed murders of incredible savagery, primarily in areas populated by recent immigrants from Central America.

The caravan’s next stop is the town of Puebla, near Mexico City, which the migrants hope to reach by April 5.  There they expect to attend two days of “workshops, led by volunteer lawyers” to learn about “their options for legal protections in the United States.”

During the Obama administration, lawyers would coach illegal migrants, who do not speak English, how to keep repeating the English phrase “credible fear.”  When people show up at the border claiming a credible fear of persecution in their home country, they are treated as refugees with a right to stay here indefinitely until their claims are adjudicated.

“As ridiculous as it sounds,” Trump tweeted on Monday, “the laws of our country do not easily allow us to send those crossing our Southern Border back where they came from.  A whole big wasted procedure must take place.”

If those people truly have a credible fear in Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador, why don’t they apply for asylum right where they are, in Mexico?  Under international law, according to a ruling of the European Court of Justice last year, migrants must seek refuge or claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, which in this case is Mexico.

Fortunately, the Trump administration has tightened the requirements for would-be refugees and expedited the processing of their claims. But there’s still a huge backlog of refugee cases from the Obama administration, so we need to pressure Mexico to cut off the caravan before it gets here.

The renegotiation of NAFTA gives Trump leverage, as he tweeted on Tuesday:  “Mexico is making a fortune on NAFTA. With all of the money they make from the U.S., hopefully they will stop people from coming through their country and into ours, at least until Congress changes our immigration laws!”

The alleged rights of illegal aliens know no bounds.  Last week an Obama-appointed federal judge entered a sweeping order that teenage girls who illegally crossed our southern border without their parents have a constitutional right to an abortion in the United States.

An American teenage girl cannot ordinarily obtain an abortion in Texas without parental consent.  But according to Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was born in Jamaica, an illegal alien teenage girl can get an abortion here without parental notice or consent, even though abortions are illegal in her home country.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously in 2016. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.