The five that I know of are: a possible RICO investigation connected with Trump University (and his settlement of the T.U. civil suits would not dis-connect him from such an investigation); Trump appears to have violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba (which would be highly ironic since he in part won Florida because of the “Cuban vote”); Trump may have violated the U.S. sanctions against Iran; and, if Russia really did interfere with the election and Trump’s communications with them during the elections in any way, even indirectly, dealt with interference, that would likely come under the definition of treason.
Now, with Sessions in charge at would become The “Justice” Department, none of these would likely proceed, at the Federal level. But one more states attorneys general might want to take one or more of them up, as New York Attorney General Schneiderman did with Trump University. And of course, this list says nothing about the non-criminal conflicts-of-interest which could very well arise in the Trump Presidency, and could lead to him being forced out of it, by route or another. So far, The Washington Post has counted 111 of them.
Which brings us to Vice-President Mike Pence, who could easily become President Mike Pence by any one or more of the routes described above. Despite the fact that Pence made nice about the incident at “Hamilton” while his putative boss went on one of his classic Twitter rampages about the cast’s plea that an inclusive policy should emanate from the White House, in terms of policy and his underlying philosophy of government and positon on Constitutional government, Pence would be even worse than Trump. I have detailed much of this material in an earlier column partially on Pence, but it is certainly worth looking at again, at least in my view. In summary, Pence, nice smile and all, is a very dangerous political figure, on many fronts, but most especially on his underlying ideology that his religious doctrines — which begin with placing “God” above the Constitution (that’s called “Dominionism”) — should dominate government policy on a wide variety of issues.
Pence had thought about running for the current Repub. nomination in 2015. After that didn’t pan out for him he was actually an early Cruz supporter, who then switched to Trump when the former dropped out. As far as I can tell, he has not yet been openly labelled as a Dominionist, but his policies clearly place him in that camp. Not particularly in order of importance:
1. There was an outbreak, epidemic really, of HIV/AIDS in South Eastern Indiana, related to the use of dirty needles by IV drug users. Pence believes the scientifically disproven myth that the provision of clean needles to such persons helps spread addiction (which is, of course, a sin donchaknow, as well as being illegal). Eventually, his public health people and local authorities got to him in terms of persuading him to do something. The first thing he did was to “pray on it.” For some reason, that didn’t seem to work, so he reluctantly approved clean needle exchange.
2. Then there was his well-known support of so-called “religious freedom” legislation in Indiana which legalized discrimination against the LGBT community. As I have pointed out frequently, this kind of legislation allows members of one religion, with the support of the State, to discriminate against members of another religion (and there are plenty of LGBTQ people who are religious).
3. As a member of Congress, Pence led a fight to de-fund Planned Parenthood, back in 2011. Quoting from an article that appeared at the time: “Abortion-rights advocates and abortion-rights opponents don’t see eye to eye on much, but they do agree on this: Nobody hates Planned Parenthood quite as much as Mike Pence.” Why? Because a small portion of their budget goes to the provision of abortion services, none of them funded with Federal money (which would be against the current religion-based, religiously-biased law).
4. Pence’s position on abortion, but more importantly the basis for that position, became perfectly clear in the last segment of the Vice-Presidential debate between him and Tim Kaine on October 2, 2016. Pence actually quoted a verse from the particular version of the Bible that he favors to justify his position that abortion should be illegalized. (He attempted to separate himself from Trump’s sometime position that women having abortions should be punished, mainly by lying and stating that Trump never said that.)
5. Briefly, this so-called “man of religious principle” certainly did lie a lot in that debate, claiming that Trump didn’t say a whole bunch of things for which there is video-tape evidence showing otherwise.
(It should be noted that the particular translation [from Latin and Greek — hardly a unified text to begin with] of the Bible that Pence would like to make the underlying basis of all U.S. law — the “King James” version, was a prepared by a committee of 52 scholars and theologians at the time of the accession to the throne of England of James VI of Scotland, I of England.)
But he made it very clear that he wants Roe v. Wade reversed, which would permit states like his to criminalize abortion, on religious grounds. That is, he would use the power of the State to enforce the religious views of one segment of the population (and it doesn’t matter whether they constitute a majority or not) on everyone else. That, folks, is called theocracy, operating under a theory of government called Dominionism or Reconstructionism (the U.S. is to be “reconstructed” under religious law).
Further, according to Jeremy Scahill, Pence has said that:
“ ‘We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs,’ . . . . As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law requiring fetal tissue from abortions to be buried or cremated. . . He has long sought to have 14th Amendment protections applied to fetuses, arguing that they should be declared persons. In Congress, Pence voted to criminally punish doctors who performed late-term abortions, except in cases where the woman’s life was in danger. . . . Pence opposed efforts to widen hate crimes laws to include attacks on LGBT people.
“He tried to block federal funding of HIV treatments unless they came with a requirement to advocate against gay relationships. Pence opposes non-straight people serving in the military. ‘Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion,’ he said. (From me: That homosexuals have been serving in the U.S. military apparently without ill effect since the Prussian General Baron von Steuben came to aid General Washington at Valley Forge with his 19 year-old French “secretary” [von Steuben did not speak French] would likely not impress Pence or get him to change his mind.) Pence believes ‘the only truly safe sex … is no sex’ and once (falsely) claimed on CNN that ‘condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases.’ ”
Mr. Scahill documents a whole series of Pence’s far-right positions on everything from making the Patriot Act permanent to comparing “radical Islam” to the “evil empire of the Soviet Union,” but in my view, it is his above positions, ones that are all based on a particular religious doctrine, and placing them above any consideration of Constitutional law, that make this man particularly dangerous. Despite his nice smile. Worse even than Trump? To the extent that theocracy is worse even than conventional Repub./Far Right government — plus Trump’s abominable personality/mental status/racism-Islamophobia-mysogny — yes.