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Trump is setting himself up for a coup by packing Cabinet with ex-generals, military expert warns

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Donald Trump is populating his Cabinet with retired generals, which one international affairs expert says violates democratic norms and puts him at risk of being toppled in a military coup.

Steve Saideman, a political scientist at Ottawa’s Carleton University and an author who has extensively studied civil-military relations in democratic societies, said he’s concerned that Trump seems to be ending civilian control of the U.S. military — which he says is a necessary condition of democratic governance.

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“Civilian control of the military is both means and end,” Saideman wrote on the blog Political Violence @ A Glance. “It is not just about concentrations of power, but of subservience of the folks with the guns to the people elected to run the country. This is not about the founders of the U.S. or about what makes the U.S. special, but what is essential for modern democracy.”

He’s concerned that Trump had appointed retired Gen. James Mattis as his Secretary of Defense, who would require a congressional waiver to serve just three years after his retirement, in addition to naming two other retired generals, Michael Flynn and John Kelly, as his National Security Advisor and Secretary of Homeland Security.

“The limit on officers serving immediately after retirement is not an accident but a good policy that should not be tossed away simply because Trump admires generals (sort of),” wrote Saideman, a former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and desk officer on the U.S. Joint Staff’s Directorate of Strategic Plans and Policy. “In a time where authoritarian politics (threats towards journalists and protesters, etc.) are (increasingly) popular, we should put the U.S. military, active and retired, further away from the controls of the U.S. government, not closer.”

He disagrees with those who argue that self-imposed checks by the U.S. military would prevent current or former officers from seizing power or disobeying civilian orders — because he believes Trump’s presidency presents a unique and serious threat to national security.

“Trump’s inherent flaws, including his appeals to white supremacy, his inability to concentrate for the length of an intel briefing, and – most importantly – his lack of respect for and adherence to the various norms that make the institutions operate, make civilian control of the military more, not less, important,” Saideman argued.

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He worries that Trump could be such an awful and conflicted president that the military camarilla he established around himself will see no choice but to take over the executive branch.

“Coups happen for a variety of reasons, but most often those engaged in a coup claim that the government is corrupt and/or incompetent,” Saideman warned. “Here is where I could insert a picture of Trump. Trump’s recent call with Taiwan’s President – perhaps to facilitate his own business interests – is an abuse of power that could be used to justify a coup.”

Event absent the threat of a military coup, Saideman said civilian control of the military is necessary to preserve American democratic institutions.

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“Simply put, when many of the norms and institutions are under attack, we need to be more, not less, careful about the role of the military in our society,” he wrote. “It is, of course, not so much about coups, but about controlling the military so that it does what civilians want.”


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‘No sound basis’: Georgetown law professor explains why Alan Dershowitz will crumble under Senate questioning

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Georgetown law professor John Mikhail suggested on Sunday that the portion of President Donald Trump's defense which is being covered by Alan Dershowitz to fail because it has "no sound basis" in history and law.

"There is no sound basis for Alan Dershowitz to claim that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. In addition to being at odds with common sense, this claim is contradicted by a clear and consistent body of historical evidence," Mikhail stated.

The law professor cited the impeachment of Warren Hastings in the 1780s.

"Some of the best evidence comes from the case of Warren Hastings, which informed the drafting Art. II, Sec 4," Mikhail wrote. "The fact that he was not guilty of treason, but still deserved to be impeached, was a major reason 'other high crimes and misdemeanors' was added to the Constitution."

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Ex-White House aide describes Trump’s abusive tantrums when he doesn’t get his way: ‘Not normal at all’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, former Donald Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman backed up assertions in the book " A Very Stable Genius" that the president is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his way and becomes abusive to staffers and cabinet members alike.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Omarosa -- who wrote an insider's account of life in the White House after she was unceremoniously fired -- said there was little in the new book that surprised her.

Digging into her Oval Office days, the former adviser and longtime Trump associate described the president's "zero to 200" screaming jags when displeased.

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Ex-Bush aide admits GOP would have removed Obama if he did ‘one tenth of what Trump has done’

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A former strategist for former President George W. Bush accused Republican lawmakers of hypocrisy on Sunday for for failing to honestly consider the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Matthew Dowd, a campaign strategist-turned-media-analyst, made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday.

"Deep in their hearts the Republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what President Trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him," Dowd wrote. "And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And Trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines."

Deep in their hearts The republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what president trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him. And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines.

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