THE BLOG
01/02/2017 09:57 pm ET Updated Jan 03, 2018

An Illegitimate President

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

To repeat a hackneyed phrase, we are in unchartered territory.

We have a president-elect who has already demonstrated that he places himself above the interests of the country. In continually denying the importance of Russian interference, he is issuing an open invitation for Russia, and others, to keep up their attacks on our country.

Why does Donald Trump deny that this act of war is of no significance?

Because of his insatiable narcissism, and sociopathic personality, Trump is incapable (note, not just unwilling, but psychologically incapable) of recognizing Russian involvement in our election because it compromises his own legitimacy, and because it was far deeper than commonly understood. In addition to hacking and leaking, there is good reason to believe that it was a massive, persistent, deliberate effort through social media to create illusions of enthusiasm and support.

While at the KGB, Vladimir Putin's activities focused on infiltration, deception and influence, skills he has also used as Russian president in the Donbass region in Ukraine and Crimea. The pro-Trump activities were variations on a theme from his well-worn playbook.

The Russians found it embarrassingly simple to recognize Trump as their perfect patsy. Anyone in desperate need of flattery and money is a pushover. Indeed, there is grave concern that Trump may owe Russia, or Russians in Putin's inner circle, a lot of money. Do not forget that in the middle of the campaign, Donald ("Uday") Trump, Jr., jetted off to Paris for a meeting with a high Russian official. What was that about?

Trump is not only the beneficiary of a foreign power hacking, he encouraged it, and, as David Frum has pointed out, embellished it.

Considering the powers of the presidency -- lifetime appointments for judges, sending our men and women into war, repealing/creating executive orders, long-term appointments to commissions, pushing and signing legislation that negatively or positively impacts peoples' lives -- what does our country do with an election that was tipped by a foreign power?

The first order of business is to showcase and, yes, dramatize the illegitimacy.

Exposing the illegitimacy can begin with the process of counting the electoral votes by Congress as set forth in 3 USC§15. The process to object to the electors is as follows:

Upon such reading of any such certificate or paper, the President of the Senate shall call for objections, if any. Every objection shall be made in writing, and shall state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the ground thereof, and shall be signed by at least one Senator and one Member of the House of Representatives before the same shall be received. [emphasis added]

The "ground thereof" is the illegitimacy of the electors chosen due to the intervention of a foreign power.

The procedure further prescribed in this section is for the Senate and House each to then meet separately to determine the outcome. Members and Senators could, then, demand a full airing of the Russian interference in the election before voting.

Senators like McCain (R-AZ), Graham (R-SC) and Rubio (R-FL), who are honestly concerned about national security, would have a chance to express themselves about how this cyberattack is indeed an act of war, and, at least, secure McConnell's (R-KY) agreement to a Select Committee to investigate. With a 52-48 Senate, that trio plus Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will have as much power as they care to wield by offering or withholding their votes.

Secondly, as this is played out, the American people would clearly see the facts and the implications for legitimacy of a Trump administration. It would provide a perfect backdrop for a 2018 campaign to "restore legitimacy" to our government and to attack Trump and Congressional Republicans for appeasement, because that is exactly what it is.

Thirdly, we have already seen Donald Trump -- who never "just moves on" from anything -- so eager to move on that he is willing to overlook entirely this act of war against the United States. That he wants to move on is strong evidence that, as with his taxes, there is a lot to hide.

What, though, beyond January 20th, when Trump will likely seize power?

More on that, later.

For now, let us see if there exists just one senator, and just one Member of Congress, who will stand up to protect our democracy.