When House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the United States had been plunged into a “constitutional crisis,” a large swath of the media took to plying this fantasy for them.
“Ever wonder what a constitutional crisis looks like? Well, open your eyes,” CNN’s Don Lemon explained to his viewers. “The president of the United States is just blowing right through our system of checks and balances, the very thing that is supposed to keep our Congress, the judiciary, and the executive branch working, which means our country working.”
None of this is remotely true. Our checks and balances are working exactly as they should. Congress is free to make perpetual demands for information and testimony, and threaten the White House with contempt charges and impeachment when it doesn’t get its way. The White House, in turn, is free to assert executive privilege and decline to hand over that information or give testimony.
Both the legislature and the executive branches have the option of asking the judiciary to weigh in on the matter. It’s not as if Donald Trump is blatantly ignoring the courts, as his predecessor often did. If voters disagree, they have the option of punishing elected officials by voting against them. If the legislature disagrees, it has an even more forceful solution available, and that’s impeachment.