5 min readApr 14, 2019


Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 28” x 45”, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**

As Individual-1 continues mining the depths of depravity, we find ourselves at least mildly surprised to discover this morning’s or yesterday’s (last week’s is old news) moral and legal wreckage was a false floor. By now . . . sadly . . . we should know better. A bottom to the quality and quantity of his evil and its depth of devastation simply does not exist. Individual-1 is singularly motivated by getting what, in his mind, benefits him and he cares not a whit how he gets it and whom he destroys in the process. He has lived a life devoid of moral and, largely, legal constraint. As we watch, traditionally positive ideas and powers are being corrupted, misused and destroyed by an authoritarian malevolent.

Individual-1 will violate any law he wishes and order or encourage others to do the same to achieve his malignant ends, causing untold human suffering. Importantly, and sadly, no shortage of people — individuals pathologically deficient of moral aptitude, self-respect and awareness of the lessons of history — are willing to step forward and implement his evil — and illegal — policies and orders. In what Individual-1 characterized this week as “fake news” — assuring us the reporting is almost certainly accurate — we caught a glimpse of a logical conclusion to Individual-1’s unfettered power to pardon in the current political climate. Individual-1 can violate any law that achieves his ends with absolute impunity and pardon anyone who does so on his behalf.

This week:

• Individual-1 fired the secretary of Homeland Security — who oversaw and enforced Individual-1’s policies of widespread cruelty and human rights violations, including family separations, and lied for him to Congress — as being insufficiently cruel and willing to further violate federal law and court orders. “. . . [I]n recent weeks, [Individual-1] asked Nielsen to bar all migrants, including those legally seeking asylum, from crossing into the United States via the southern border. When Nielsen reminded [Individual-1] that doing so would violate federal law, her reasoning only spiked [Individual-1’s] rage further . . . . A senior White House official characterized this latest disagreement . . . as a ‘last straw.’”


• He openly suborned perjury — a crime for the rest of us — by encouraging border agents to lie to immigration judges. “During his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in California last week, [Individual-1] personally instructed border agents to illegally block all incoming immigrants and then lie to judges about it.”


• We learned Individual-1 “allegedly told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to close the border despite concerns about the legality of doing so. He allegedly told McAleenan, who is now also acting secretary of homeland security, that he — [Individual-1] — would pardon him later if need be.”

With respect to this last outrage, constitutional scholar Laurence H. Tribe said, “If carried out, this offer to pardon high immigration officials if they will break the law on his behalf is the most obviously impeachable action President Trump has taken to date: It would mean this president has seized the power to put not just himself but all who do his bidding beyond the reach of law. . . . That doing so is a high crime and misdemeanor is beyond dispute. Any president guilty of such conduct cannot be permitted to remain in office.”


Nice try, Professor Tribe.

Individual-1 is a child who understands only consequences. He behaves without moral underpinnings as though no adverse consequences, no jeopardy, will befall him because, well, none will. Why?

• First, a Senate majority has converted from traditional GOP (and religious) values to become vocal sycophants within his core base and what has become the party of Indivdiual-1. Power, control and fear of being targeted and mocked by Individual-1 have become the opiates of the Senate. Moral courage, intellectual honesty and a sense of honor to their oaths of office are atrophied to the point of being undetectable. These Senate lickspittles can no longer fathom a high crime or misdemeanor that would cause them to vote to convict Individual-1 in an impeachment trial. The goalpost, that red line, has moved beyond their horizons. He can direct the violation of law and court orders and pardon those who carry out his demands. What’s the Senate going to do about it? Nothing. And without the Senate the House won’t issue articles.

• Second, this Department of Justice won’t be reexamining its policy against indicting a sitting president, even if the alleged crime was integral to Individual-1’s having been elected in the first instance. Crimes of this sort — campaign violations — that identify Individual-1 as an unindicted co-conspirator should beg the very question of his entitlement to impunity.

• Third, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.

• Fourth, Barr, the attorney general of Individual-1.

• Fifth, any State with the courage or audacity to charge Indivdual-1 with a crime, regardless of whether it was allegedly committed before or during his presidency, would surely be challenged under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Individiual-1 won’t be around forever. It just seems that way. But his devastation, aided and abetted by those who were in in key positions to have done something about it, will last for decades and materially change the lives and opportunities of millions of people here and around the world. Not for the greater.

*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com

**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.comare hers




Exercising my right not to remain silent. Criminal defense and First Amendment attorney.