MSNBC Legal Analyst: Trump is ‘Goose-Stepping Toward a Constitutional Crisis’ on Census Question


On MSNBC’s Hardball, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner offered up a good news/bad news assessment of President Donald Trump’s decision not to directly challenge the Supreme Court ruling that effectively banned adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

“I do think that maybe the best news of the day is we’ve avoided a constitutional crisis. Maybe the worst news of the day is that we’ve avoided a constitutional crisis,” Kirschner said. “The reason I say that is because it does seem like President Trump, since the day he was inaugurated, has been marching towards, perhaps goose-stepping toward a constitutional crisis.”

After an intense legal battle, which included a Supreme Court smackdown that called the Trump administration’s reasoning “contrived,” Trump announced on Thursday that he would no longer press the Commerce Department to include a question about citizenship on next year’s census. But he framed the executive action he announced simultaneously, which directed other agencies to provide citizenship data, as a big victory, which his Attorney General, Bill Barr, dutifully echoed at the same press conference.

Kirschner and his fellow MSNBC panelists mocked the Orwellian nature of the White House so publicly declaring victory while actually surrendering.

“So just saying it’s not a cave does not make it not a cave. Just as the Attorney General saying ‘Congratulations, Mr. President,’ does not make it a congratulatory moment,” USA Today columnist Susan Page noted.

Kirschner agreed. “This is not a congratulatory event. This is Bill Barr spiking the football, even though the other team scored the touchdown,” he said. But Kirschner then added that, in effect, the country dodged a bullet, and questioned if anyone in Trump’s own party would’ve stood up to the president if he had dismissed the Court and directed his Commerce Secretary to add the question by executive fiat.

“It seems like the Republicans in Congress seem unwilling to stand up to him for any other transgression, I only wonder would they stand up to that,” he said.

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.

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