Should President Trump Release His Tax Returns To Congress: Its Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your most pressing questions!

Air Date: 03/28/2018

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

You found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuildersLive  on a Thursday, which means it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. It’s a chance for us to dive into those foundational principles and address your questions.

You get to drive the conversation today. We’re going to answer your questions from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. So, send those questions in to [email protected] , [email protected] .

We’re going to get to as many as we possibly can today. Those questions will be answered by David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders, and by Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders, and myself, Rick Green. I am a former Texas legislator.

You can check us out at WallBuildersLive.com for more information. If you’re first time listener, you can get a list of our stations across the country and you can also go into the archives and listen to past programs. You can also go over to WallBuilders.com, and that’s where you can get the books and DVD and curriculum and all kinds of great information available for you and your family to get equipped and inspired to be better citizens who can be more effective in influencing the world around you.

Join Us

And, then the last thing is I would encourage you to look on either website for that donate button and consider being a partner of ours. Just come alongside us with a donation. It can be one time or might be monthly.

But, I’m telling you, friends, that’s what makes this possible. That’s how we’re able to share this great information with thousands and thousands of people across the country. Your gifts enable us to train pastors and legislators and young people and get them equipped to be leaders in the community. You make it possible; so, be sure to hit that donate button and make that contribution today.

David, Tim, got a lot of questions coming up today. I am ready for the first one. I’m ready to ask the first one.

Are you guys ready to answer the first one?

Tim:

You bet.

Biblical, Historical and Constitutional Perspective on Releasing Trump’s Returns

Rick:

All right, the first one’s coming from—actually, I don’t have a name on this one. It just says, “I know you all at WallBuilders would support the president not releasing his tax returns to a very envious Congress. Could you all give a historical, constitutional, and Biblical defense for why the president shouldn’t release his tax returns to Congress, which would later be shared with the American people?” Okay, interesting question.

I don’t know that I know we would be against him releasing his tax returns. I don’t know that we’ve ever talked about this. What’s your reaction on this?

Tim:

Well, I don’t think we’ve talked about it necessarily. At least, I don’t recall that we have. But, let me just take a shot at the historical, constitutional, and Biblical perspective.

So, historically, George Washington never released how much he made. Constitutionally, it doesn’t say. And, Biblically, I don’t know how much King David made. Done.

Rick:

Good answer. Okay, quick break we’ll be back with the next—no. {laughter}

Tim:

Actually, it’s an interesting thought, what he’s asking. Ultimately what we do know is if Congress says, “Hey we’re gonna keep it a secret; it’s just gonna be this one committee that will look at it, because we want to make sure you’re having integrity with your money,” it’s going to be leaked. And so, the only reason they’re asking for it is so they can leak this information.

It’s really just so they can disseminate it to have one more thing to attack the president on. This is where with how many people are already—and this is just true politically on both sides—how many people are looking to take down leaders on the other side.

Why Expose Trump’s Returns?

They try to find anything they can to take them down. Had President Trump been part of an organization where they’ve done all kinds of corrupt and backwards and you know evil deals, it would have already been exposed largely at this point. Now, what can they expose at this point from tax returns?

You know, maybe he’s not making as much as he says he is, or he’s making so much that he’s terrible and evil. No matter what it, is they’re going to put the spin on it to make it seem terrible. So, it really, in my mind, doesn’t seem like there would be wisdom to release it because no matter what it is, they’re going to put a spin on it: either he makes so much he’s terrible and evil, or he doesn’t make as much he said, therefore he’s a terrible, evil liar.

Rick:

And they’re going to dig to find some little itsy, bitsy thing and twist it into—I mean, I’ve been on the receiving end of this one in the political world.  It’s one of the reasons I hate the whole invasive, personal financials of anyone running for office because what you’re doing is giving the other side the chance to go take something that could’ve been 100 percent innocent and ethical or whatever you want to call the good side of things.

And, man, they love to pain, twist, and turned it around.

So, that’s my concern is that you got a guy like this with this many businesses, I’m betting his tax returns are like 1,000 pages. I mean, they’re going to find some little thing to go after; so, yeah I’m kind of with you. What’s the purpose other than to just throw mud at him?

A Few Questions to Consider

David:

Well, a couple of questions follow up with: If he did that, released his tax returns, would that silence the critics?

Tim:

No.

Rick:

No.

David:

No. So, obviously, that’s not what they’re after. They’re wanting to find something to use because they’re looking for anything they can get. So, if he comes out with them, they’re going to criticize him; if he doesn’t come out with them, they will do the same thing. There is no constitutional basis for this; there’s no legal basis for it.

As a matter of fact, if you think there’s a problem there, go show a judge that there is and get probable cause, then get it opened up, as what the Clinton Foundation with foreign contributions and other things. If you think this is a good idea, then you need to go right now to Kamala Harris and Elizabeth and Bernie Sanders; you need to go to all of them and say, “We demand your tax returns all the way back to when you got your first paycheck.” If you think this is the right idea, then apply it across the board to everyone.

Don’t Give Them the Rope for Your Own Lynching

If you’re not applying it across the board to everyone, then you’re picking and choosing, and that by itself violates constitutional standards of due process for everyone under the law. And so, just a few simple questions here make it really clear that they’re not after information, they’re after a “gotcha” somewhere. That’s what they want to use.

The axiom we used to bring around here—I had an interview one time with a network from Louisiana. As it turned out it, was a “gotcha” interview, and they kept asking me questions that no matter how I answered, they would spin it and have me say something I didn’t say. So, finally they asked me a question, and I just remain silent.

They said, “Are you going to say anything?” I said, “I was taught not to bring a rope to my own lynching.” And, that literally is what it is.

You don’t give them the rope for your own lynching. And, if he does that, that will be what he’s doing. And, that’s just a silly thing to do.

But, Biblically, constitutionally, legally, ethically, whatever; there is no reason for him to do so unless you’re looking to have CNN and MSNBC have more things to talk about against you.

Rick:

All right, quick break, guys. We’ve got more questions coming up. Stay with us, folks; you’re listening to Foundations of Freedom Thursday on Wall Builders Live!

 

Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

 Moment From American History

This is Tim Barton with another moment from American history. The Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees to every individual the right to keep and bear arms, has been targeted for years now by those who are determined to dismantle the individual right to self-protection.

Opponents argue that, “Only the militia, the military, and law enforcement are to have and use firearms.” But those who wrote the Second Amendment strenuously disagreed, including Founding Father Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the declaration, a president of the Continental Congress, and one of those who actually framed the Second Amendment.

He declared, “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

For more information about Richard Henry Lee and the history of the Second Amendment go to WallBuilders.com.

 

Be At All Times Armed

Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”

Rick:!

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We’re taking your questions; and, if you’d like to send one in, just send that to [email protected] WallBuilders .com. That’s [email protected] WallBuilders.com.

We’ll get to as many as we can today, and then hit the list next week as well. This next one actually is on often-asked question over the last few weeks.

Declaring an Emergency to Build the Wall

It says, “Please explain President Trump’s declaring an emergency to build the wall. What exactly does that mean? And, most importantly, is it constitutional?

“You guys are awesome.” I didn’t add that part, David and Tim; that was actually in there. “You guys are awesome,” I just want to say that again. Thank you.

All right, good question. David, Tim, obviously massive debate over this. There are some even on the Republican side that didn’t like the fact that that Trump did this; but, what do we do?

Biblical, constitutional, historical perspective, let’s address that from those three areas.

Tim:

Well, I do think it’s interesting to know that there are constitutional experts on the conservative side that have taken both sides of this equation. You have legal counsel to the president like Jay Sekulow, who has run a great organization for a lot of years, who has come out and said explicitly this is why it is constitutional under these certain provisions and certain acts. And then, you have some great conservative minds saying that this is a dangerous precedent, an abuse of power, and that it’s not really what the Constitution lays out.

And so, even on the conservative movement’s side, there are voices on both sides saying that it is or it isn’t, based on maybe how we view what’s happening at the southern border right.  So, are there drugs coming across? Is the human trafficking coming across?

“Bad Precedent” and the Left’s Short-term Memory

Rick:

But, you know what, Tim? Let me let me interrupt you a second. So, that other side that you just mentioned, though, I haven’t heard any on the conservative side say that it’s actually not constitutional or that he’s actually violating the law.

I keep hearing what you just said, which is, “It’s bad precedent,” which you can make an argument for. But I haven’t seen anybody lay out how this actually violates the law as written by Congress or the actual Constitution; and, I may have missed it.

Tim:

Well, and I’ve not seen as many strong conservative voices that are guys we look to and say, “Wow, this guy really knows what he’s talking about; we pretty much can trust with this guy says.” There have not been many of those people who have come out and said that what he’s doing is unconstitutional; and, certainly that’s the liberal argument. Although, it seems that the Liberals would have a hard time making the argument that they’re against executive powers and these executive orders when they were totally supportive of what President Obama was doing with executive orders and executive powers. So, that would be pretty inconsistent for them in this situation.

Rick:

But, wouldn’t you say that it’s encouraging that the left is now so concerned about the Constitution? I mean, isn’t this actually kind of nice if it wasn’t so funny?

Tim:

If they had a better long-term memory, right? Even if they had short-term, forgetting they supported Obama doing this; if they had long-term memories from this point forward, saying, “Presidents shouldn’t have the ability to have these blanket executive-power authorities,” that would be great, if they remember going forward. It’s just that I have a feeling that when their guy gets elected or their girl gets elected, they’re not going to remember that anymore right.

Rick:

That’s right.

Tim:

Yes; so, I even though it would be fun to congratulate them on wanting to be more constitutional, I don’t think we really can support that theory from them. It’s not about being constitutional, it’s is about not wanting the other side to win. But, you’re right.  Most conservative critics are pointing out it’s setting a bad precedent, not necessarily that is unconstitutional; although, I’ve seen many argue that is an overreach of constitutional powers and authority, which in essence is them politely saying, “It’s probably unconstitutional.”

National Emergencies Act and Obama’s Executive Orders

Rick:

Yeah, and if Congress had not authorized these things in the National Emergencies Act in 1976, and there wasn’t all the precedent for other national emergencies and whatnot, I would agree with them. It’s an overreach if Congress had not granted the power and given him the right to do it.

But, I just think it’s so important to draw the distinction between the types of things Obama did with his executive orders that literally created new law out of out of thin air or overrode laws that Congress had actually passed. Whether we’re talking about getting rid of welfare reform, or expanding DACA, or the different things he did; versus in this case, the president saying, “Okay, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976 and defined what that was. Congress did X, Y, and Z;” and, everything that he’s doing in the in this declaration fits what Congress did. That’s so different to me.

You know, whether or not it’s good or bad precedent or even good policy or bad policy, I was trying to be really unbiased, even though I obviously have strong feelings about the border, and just look at it objectively and say, “Is he following the letter of the law?” And, I just couldn’t find a place to say, “No,” and I was always afraid he would overreach.

But, I was sitting there looking for a chance to say, “Slap his hand and say, ‘No, this time you went too far.’” And, I can’t find that.

Upholding Laws or Creating New Laws?

Tim:

Well, it certainly is a different position when your behavior and actions are to uphold existing laws, as opposed to create new laws, which is what so often President Obama did, create new laws. And, President Trump is actually trying to enforce laws that are already on the books. And, you really shouldn’t need executive authority, powers, or orders to do that; it should be something already happening.

But, it certainly is moving in a direction that—it’s really upholding laws that are already in place. And, you’re right. I don’t see as much of a problem with it; although, I certainly understand some of the arguments of the overreach and bad precedent.

But, that’s different than saying that what he’s doing is unconstitutional.

Rick:

Yes, and I actually hope Congress responds to this in the long term. I don’t think this Congress would be able to agree on how to modify it; but, I’d like to see them actually tighten it up and not have the president have so much leeway. You know, better define what an “emergency” is.

And, the other problem is they can overrule him, but not without two-thirds. So,  it really has empowered the president probably too much; but, he’s definitely acting within that power that he was given.

Political Agenda or Protection?

David:

Let me jump in here, Rick, even on the concept of—and I think we agree. I find no constitutional basis for him not to do so. Now, Congress gave him the authority to do so.

There’ve been several National Emergencies Acts created. You cited one 1976. There’s one in 2015; there were others, and there are a number of statutory laws that were passed that allow the president to declare emergencies.

Now, what the presidents try to do is when they declare that, they try to give a reason for why it’s an emergency. So, here you have Congress refusing to act, and Trump says, “We’ve got an emergency.” Now, is there a basis for that, or is that just his political agenda going forward?

And, if it’s his political agenda going forward, I don’t support that, and I don’t care if he’s conservative, Republican, whatever else. It’s not about agendas; you have to have a reason to secure the border. So, let me kind of throw out some stats here; just kind of an interesting thing looking at this.

Some Stats on Terrorists and Opioids

According to current statistics from the Department of Homeland Security, these are 2017 statistics. Every day the Department of Homeland Security refuses entry to seven known terrorist, 50 known terrorists every week, and 2500known terrorists every year. And, that’s who they refuse entry to; those are the ones they know about.

And, when you have that many that are actually applying, what does that tell you about the others that don’t apply? When we have an open border, if they’re saying no to 2500 known terrorists a year, but we’re not securing the border, that is a little bit of a problem.

Then, if you look at what we have with the opioid epidemic, last year on the border we confiscated 1.5 million pounds of drugs. As a matter of fact, nearly all heroin sold in the United States comes across the border from Mexico. So, if you have a sieve for border, you’re not going to control the drug epidemic that’s going on if you can’t close that down.

MS-13

If it’s 1.5 pounds that we confiscated and saw—but again, we’ve got a border that’s pretty open and does not do anything to control the flow of drugs. And, by the way, let’s talk about MS-13. Do you guys know what MS-13 is?

Tim:”

It’s a gang; they’re bad guys.

Rick:

And large, like they’re all over the country in significant numbers.

David;

It’s organized crime at a very—it makes Al Capone and those guys look like a bunch of kindergarten kids. They’re mostly from Central American nations and are very sophisticated. They are violent gangs.

Rick:

And extremely brutal.

A Brutal Gang With a Diabolical Motto

David:

They’re brutal and get their guys to go into the U.S. military very often. A lot of the drill sergeants can spot them because they’re tatted up in certain ways. And so, they go in the military to learn military discipline, how it works and how to really control a military organization. That’s what they become on the inside.

So, if you take those guys. Do you know what their motto is?

Tim:

“For drugs and country.”

David:

{laughter} Yeah, it’s a little worse. This is their motto: kill, steal, rape, and control.

Rick:

Wow.

David:

That’s their four-word motto.

Tim:

So, pretty close to John 10:10, right? “To steal, kill, and destroy.”

Rick:

Wow.

Tim:

It’s pretty close.

David:

These are the guys and drugs that have come out of Central America and out of Mexico. And, just last yearout of M.S. 13—I’m reading this— in 22 states there were 207 charged with murder; 100 charged with conspiracy, trafficking, racketeering, sex trafficking. There was prostitution, attempted murder, sexual assaults.

I mean, it’s just hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these guys. And so, they keep coming across the border. We’re not shutting that down.

When you look just in the last three years, among those who’ve come across the border, there have been 2,205 convicted of assault, battery, domestic violence; 1700 burglary; 5,100 for driving under the influence; and on and on and on it goes.

Illegals Commit 40% of Crimes

They’re looking at about 40 percent of the crimes are being committed by those who have come in illegally. Why would that not be an emergency? When you have that many terrorists and that amount of drugs, that many violent gang members, and that percentage of crimes coming across your border, and you’re not closing your border, why would that not be right declare a national emergency?

Tim:

And the amount of money that is being used to try to stop those crimes, on prison cells for individuals who are here illegally doing violent crimes. There is so much associated with it; it does make sense on some level, just understanding the problems that we’re seeing come across the southern border, that the president would say, “No, this is an emergency on a lot of levels, and we need to do something now.”

Racist or Protecting?

David:

These are states to come out of cabinet-level departments where they keep records. And, what we’re hearing on the other side is, “No, this is racist who is trying to keep other nations from coming in.” No it’s not.

There are reasons for shutting that border down for safety; and, the primary purpose of the government is to provide a safe place for citizens. That’s why we have a military, and that’s why we have a police force. And so, we’re abrogating that first right, and that’s protecting citizens, if we don’t do something to stop off the violence and the drugs and others come.

So, that is a justifiable reason for declaring a national emergency. And, if that sets a bad precedent, I don’t know what else to look for.

Rick:

Hey, guys, quick break. When we come back, we’ve got a similar question for our final segment. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live; it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

 

Greatest Political Privilege

President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”

 

Share a veteran’s story

We Want To Hear Your Vet Story

Rick:

Hey friends! If you have been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live.  Once in awhile, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live, from folks that were in the Band of Brothers, to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live.

You have friends and family that also served.  If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please e-mail us at [email protected]  Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live!

Questions of Power

Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Rick:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday, which is where you send your questions in. Send them in to [email protected]

And, the next question are going to get to is kind of the same as the last question. Actually, it is a little bit more detailed, guys. So, basically want to know what actually constitutes a national emergency.

“Why are states getting involved in a lawsuit when it’s the duty of Congress to stop the declaration? And, do the states have any standing in a lawsuit? Thanks for the great job you’re doing to provide us with so much information that is seldom addressed anywhere else.”

That’s a question from David. David, great question. And, I mean, from what I could find, guys, there’s not really a definition of “national emergency.” It’s whatever the president declares it to be.

31 Current National Emergencies

David:

Well, you also have the situation that right now there are 31 current national emergencies that have been declared and are still in force.

Rick:
That are still going.

David:

They’re still going, 31 right now.

Tim:

Let’s see how many we can name.

David:

Yes. Let’s see how many we can name.

Tim:

The southern border, one. I’m out.

{laughter}

Rick:

Most of them are dealing with international trade and other things that cross the border; so, you could even argue that it somewhat fits into that.

Tim:

Uh, childhood obesity.

David:

Yeah, right. Is that not on there?

Rick:

No, I don’t think that’s on the list.

Declared Under Obama…

Tim:

I’m still going for my list, guys. So, video games–nope. Obama phones, not enough people have phones; we need more Obama phones.

David:

I don’t think you’re going to come up with them, actually. I don’t think that’s going to work.  It’s not gonna do it.

Tim:

Okay, help me out. What is it?

David:

Let’s see. So, here’s under Obama: “National emergency blocking property of certain persons contributing to the situation in Burundi.”

Tim:

Burundi was my next guess.

Rick:

Yeah, that was your next guess. That was on your list, wasn’t it?

Let me just toss something out really quick before we go down the list; because, one of the big questions behind this is: Even if he declares a national emergency, what are the powers that he gets?

Right? There’s  like 136 different statutory powers that he is given if he presses this trigger, basically.

David:

That’s right.

Rick:

If he says, “We’re declaring the emergency.” But, now some of those, you’ve got to have congressional consent. For some of them, you’ve got to have a secretary of whatever the department is. So, it really comes down to about 90 or so; I think it’s 96 that he still gets all at his discretion.

That’s why I was saying earlier I think it does need to be tightened up. I mean, it’s too easy for a rogue president to suddenly acquire a bunch of power and use it for something, as you were saying, that’s just his political agenda. Well, none of us think he’s doing that in this case; it is a true emergency.

He’s doing the right thing. He’s not overstepping the statutory powers he’s been given. But, I just want to throw all that into the equation too, so people realize when this emergency is declared, it does, in fact, open up a lot of power to the executive branch that isn’t normally there.

A Lack of Oversight

David:

Yeah, it does open a lot of power, and that’s where congressional oversight is supposed to happen.

Rick:

Yes, do your job, Congress. That’s part of the message we need to send.

David:

That’s right.

Rick:

Because, they’ve never gone in and done what the law says. The law says, “Every six months they’re supposed to go vote on that national emergency power.” They’ve never done that once since 1976, even though there have been 59 declarations since then.

SPEAKER: M9

Yeah. There have been all these declarations. And, that’s why so many are still ongoing, because Congress is not doing its job. And, by the way, if Congress was doing its job at the border, you wouldn’t have a national emergency declared.

In this case, these are not obscure things that he’s declared a national emergency on. The things that I went through. You know, there were 10 national emergencies declared by Obama, and Burundi is one of them.

Really? The confiscation of certain property related to people in Burundi? That’s a national emergency? That’s hard to justify.

This is much easier to justify; it is a genuine national emergency on so many statistical and not political, but security reasons. And so, Congress is not doing his job. Congress ought to be doing his job.

But, at this point, they’d rather make a political issue out of it and have their pundits talk about this. But, I think there’s real basis here for what they do, because this is a fundamental, constitutional responsibility to protect the citizens of the United States and protect the entity that we know as the United States, which includes the borders.

Send In Your Questions Like Those on President Trump Releasing His Tax Returns

Well, it’s been a great show today guys. Thank you for answering these questions. Thanks to all of our listeners for sending them in.

If you’ve got one that you’re thinking of right now, folks, send it in right now. We’ll try to get to it next week. Just send it to [email protected]

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Liberties and Freedom Are Worth Defending

Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”