Sen. Angus King: Trump Lacks ‘A Gut-Level Understanding of Checks and Balances’

Sen. Angus King (I-ME) joined the panel on Monday’s Morning Joe to talk about the “extraordinary statement” by “that fella Miller” that “the president is in charge of everything.”

“John Marshall settled that question in 1803. This is Mr. Trump meet Mr. Madison. Division of powers, independent judiciary, fundamental principals of our Constitution. And those statements yesterday were absolutely breathtaking.”

Watch courtesy of MSNBC:

To former Chief Justice John Marshall in 1803 Joe Scarborough added Warren Berger in 1974’s United States v. Nixon. King allowed that presidents “do have expansive authority in foreign policy and particularly in national security but it’s limited by the Constitution.”

There is, as the panel pointed out, a system of checks and balances and presidents have to abide by the Constitution, leading King to say that he doesn’t think Miller and Trump “have a gut-level understanding of checks and balances, of the Constitution.”

King lamented what he and many others see as a “systematic effort to de-legitimize any opposition, the press, now the judiciary.”

Mika Brzezinski made the important point that “We can’t pretend the president doesn’t know about this.” This claim was, by the way, widespread in Nazi Germany, “If only the Fuhrer knew…” Well, the Fuhrer knew, and so does Trump.

“We can’t pretend the president doesn’t know about this and tweeted something he didn’t mean. We just have to stop thinking that maybe he doesn’t get it, or maybe he’s not smart enough, or maybe he’s not educated in rules of the law. We can’t do that anymore. This is becoming really dangerous.”

Brzezinski says there is “an angle” to all this and that though Scarborough doesn’t want her to say it, the time is coming when “we are all going to have to say it, what this looks like.”

Truer words were never spoken, and Scarborough’s reticence even now to call a spade a spade does not reflect well on him. His belief that Trump will for some reason “walk back the comment” – a belief rebutted by the panel – seems to be more of that math Republicans do to make themselves feel better.

Even so, the moment has finally come when Trump has revealed his autocratic tendencies for all to see, when it becomes impossible even for sometimes-Trump-apologists Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to claim Trump is not ultimately responsible for all the scary things coming out of his administration.