Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dershowitz: Congress' GAO Simply Wrong

No doubt you saw the Fake News headlines a couple of days ago. Congress' Government Accountability Office (GAO) claimed that Trump had "violated the law" by withholding funds that Congress had allocated for Ukraine. That's constitutional nonsense, of course, and Alan Dershowitz exposes the nonsense in an article: Trump Had Right to Withhold Ukraine Funds: GAO is Wrong. Once again, as with the recent post Tulsi Speaks Truth. Who's Listening? I recommend that you refer to my recent multi part paste job on FISA, because the same principles are involved--Presidential authority in the sphere of foreign relations. Those multiple posts go into the historical record that confirms the correct understanding of the Constitutional apportionment of powers regarding foreign affairs. Here is the beginning of Dershowitz's article:

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has gotten the constitutional law exactly backwards. It said that the "faithful execution of the law" — the Impoundment Control Act—"does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those congress has enacted into law ." Yes, it does — when it comes to foreign policy. The Constitution allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty). It does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president. 
To the extent that the statute at issue constrains the power of the president to conduct foreign policy, it is unconstitutional. 
Consider the following hypothetical situation: Congress allocates funds to Cuba (or Iran or Venezuela). The president says that is inconsistent with his foreign policy and refuses to release the funds. Surely the president would be within his constitutional authority. Or consider the actual situation that former President Barack Obama created when he unilaterally made the Iran deal and sent that enemy of America billions of dollars without congressional approval. I do not recall the GAO complaining about that presidential decision, despite the reality that the Iran deal was, in effect, a treaty that should require senate approval that was never given. 
Whatever one may think about the substantive merits of what President Donald Trump did or did not do with regard to the Ukrainian money— which was eventually sent without strings —he certainly had the authority to delay sending the funds. The GAO was simply wrong in alleging that he violated the law, which includes the Constitution, by doing so.

This Imperial Congress would make a shambles of our constitutional order. This outrageous Congressional overreach against constitutional government is what led AG Bill Barr to take on the task of defending the the institution of the presidency against the incredibly reckless actions of the Dems.


  1. These people--Deep State acolytes, whether administrative state like GAO, media, elected pols--keep embarrassing themselves with authoritative claims motivated by ignorant ambition. Claims that don't withstand the smell test.

    The theatre performance has proceeded past circus to the absurd. They're embarrassing themselves, yet are too committed to their path to stand down. Children who don't know to come in out of the rain.

  2. Trump, to my surprise, has been working within the constitution. He’s not done anything I know of that is blatantly unconstitutional, unlike Obama.

    I wonder how Trump’s team is going to shred this constitutional over reach. I’m pretty sure that is is one of the goals of this dream team.

    And the house managers Nadler and Schiff have already made discredited themselves. Another goal of Trump will be more of that.

    Public Opinion - Dershowitz Seems to be doing part of the outbound media effort.

    1. Trump has scrupulously remained within the rule of law and the constitution. In fact, he's set a very good example.