Ignorantia juris

“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI – IF I THOUGHT THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG.”

In their analysis of Trump’s June 12th interview with George Stephanopoulos, broadcasters, in my opinion, focused on the less interesting words uttered by the sitting president of the United States. Yes, he said he would accept information offered by a foreign country, friendly or not, about a political opponent if he thought that information would help him win a race. We knew that already. He encouraged Russia to look for Hillary’s emails, did it at a public event, and Russia obliged.

What strikes me is that Trump is willing to substitute his own judgment for the law. The principle of  “Ignorantia juris non excusat” appears in the Bible and has been a staple of the law since Roman times. It is the reason why, if a police officer stops you for running a red light, you cannot claim that you did not know it was illegal. Thomas Jefferson said it best, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse in any country. If it were, the laws would lose their effect, because it can always be pretended.”

The FBI under Comey did its duty and investigated links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump, therefore, will continue his war with the FBI until he can replace all the top brass with his lackeys. He has no trouble saying that Director Wray is wrong for saying that the law forbids a candidate from accepting help – in money or in kind – from a foreign power. Never mind that you can fact check him on the law. Facts are beside the point in Trump world. Just as Louis XIV of France proclaimed “I am the State”, Trump would replace US Law with his own personal judgment. This is, I believe, one of the clearer instances of his autocratic tendencies.

You and I may not be aware of the finer points of the law, so in many cases we will have to rely on our sense of right and wrong. Mr. Trump, however, is not just a citizen – and I could argue that he lacks any moral compass anyway. He ran for, won, and accepted the presidency of the United States. Willful ignorance of the law is not an option for the president. Therefore, I think that Mr. Trump is a clear and present danger to the Constitution he took an oath to protect, and to the country at large.

Disclaimer: Marie-Anne wrote this post. Her opinions may not always reflect the views of the Rockwall County Democratic Party – she is, as always, solely responsible for content of this post.

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