What’s a Star Chamber and How is It Being Used to Attack Trump and Fracture America?

Medieval Star Chamber Courts are the model for today’s Democrat-media attacks against President Trump.  A reasoned defense is nearly impossible.

What is meant by Star Chamber?  An infamous abuse of governmental power was the Star Chamber Courts of 16th and 17th Century England.  Unlike regular courts, Star Chambers had the power to punish people for anything the king and his power structure didn’t like, even if no law was violated.  The court sentenced people to punishments without telling them who accused them, who the witnesses against them were, what the witnesses said, or what law they violated, usually because no actual, written law was violated.

We’ll explain how this is relevant to President Trump and the breathless media rumors about Russia in a moment.

Our nation’s founders were intellectuals and students of history.  To prevent emergence of a star chamber in America they added the Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution, setting forth certain rights that must be afforded to persons accused of crimes.  Here’s the Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense. [emphasis added]

Scholars break this amendment into seven clauses.  Two of them are in bold print above.

  1. The arraignment clause: “…to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation,” and
  2. The confrontation clause: “…to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”

There can be no prosecution unless police and prosecutors first establish that a crime – a violation of a written statute duly enacted by Congress or a State Legislature – has occurred. The defendant must be told what statute he is accused of violating.  He must be told who the witnesses against him are, he must hear their testimony in open court, and he or his lawyer must have an opportunity to cross examine them.

Without these rules there is no way for the accused to respond to the charges against him.  Thus, a defense is impossible and he is the victim of a Star Chamber proceeding.

President Trump’s accusers in Congress, in the media, and worst of all, the unidentified accusers from the vast government bureaucracy or “deep state” operate completely outside these rules.  Thus he, and by extension, We the People and our nation are being subjected to a destructive, Star Chamber-like proceeding that began seven months ago and may continue for years.

Consider this excerpt from the June 15 Washington Post, a typical star chamber indictment of President Trump:

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

Let’s start with “…a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice…”  Here’s the federal obstruction of justice statute:

Whoever willfully endeavors by means of bribery to obstruct, delay, or prevent the communication of information relating to a violation of any criminal statute of the United States by any person to a criminal investigator shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

Anti-Trump talking heads tell us that “obstruction” occurred either:

  • when Trump told FBI Director Comey he “hoped” the FBI could drop an investigation of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn,

OR

  • when Trump fired FBI Director Comey, leader of the agency that is investigating alleged Russian mischief in last year’s election campaign.

Comey testified that while Trump’s words expressed “hope” that the Flynn investigation be dropped Comey thought Trump was subtly issuing an order to close it.  But, as Comey confirmed – under oath – the President has the Constitutional authority to order the FBI to investigate or not investigate anyone. 

Thus, either way, if Trump meant to order the FBI to close an investigation or merely hoped it would close, he could not have violated the federal obstruction statute.  He did not seek to block communication of information to the scores of FBI investigators assigned to these matters. He didn’t offer a bribe. He simply did not do anything that could be construed as a violation of the written statute.

Yet the Washington Post story excerpted above, along with dozens of similar canards, relentlessly repeated around the clock on cable news, are intended to plant in the American mind the perception that Trump violated a law.  This is a textbook star chamber tactic because no law exists that makes it a crime for a President to either hope or order that an investigation be closed.

What about firing FBI Director Comey?  As Comey, himself testified under oath, the President has unconditional power to fire the FBI director any time, for any reason, or for no reason. There is no law restricting that authority in any way.  Firing the Director did not violate the statute quoted above because it does not obstruct or delay the FBI personnel who are investigating Russia, or prevent them from receiving information.  So again, Trump is accused, star chamber style, of a violation of a law that simply does not exist.

In the Washington Post story who are the accusers and witnesses against Trump?

“Officials.”

 

That’s all we’re told.  Are they government officials?  If so, which government?  Federal? State? Canadian? Russian? For all we know they’re lottery officials.

So, exactly like the star chamber of old, The Washington Post bases it’s indictment of the President of the United States of America on the testimony of unnamed, anonymous, invisible “officials” who can not be questioned about their allegations.

Charges of “collusion” with Russia during the campaign follow the same Star Chamber model.  Accusers never cite a statute they allege Trump violated.  Their claim is that Russia, not Trump, stole emails from The Democratic National Committee and had them published on Wikileaks. So what do they allege that Trump actually DID that violates a statute, any statute?  They never answer. They have nothing.

It is nearly impossible for anyone, even a President to defend himself against star chamber tactics, even if he is innocent.

Because the same Constitution that protects innocent people from star chamber courts also protects freedom of speech and of the press, the President is powerless to stop political adversaries and a rogue media from defaming him and thus causing chaos in government and bitter division among the population.

These star chamber tactics are not harmless. Already a true believer in the accusations against Trump took it upon himself to retaliate with a rifle, attempting to murder Congressmen and their staff playing baseball in a quiet, suburban park.  There’s continuous rumbling about prosecuting or impeaching the President even though absolutely no evidence has been presented that he colluded with the Russians or that he violated any statute.

You wouldn’t know it by their actions, but the President’s own party, the Republicans, not the adversary Democrats control both the House and Senate and thus have the power to wind up and close any investigation. They should simply stop holding hearings about the utterly baseless charges that Trump colluded or conspired with the Russians. 

Since a law called “obstruction” that forbids a President from hoping or ordering an investigation closed, or from firing the FBI Director does not exist they should close those star chamber hearings as well. 

They should stop tossing chum to the sharks.

 

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