Can the President Do Whatever He Wants? William C. Banks Clarifies for The Washington Post

While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want’

(The Washington Post | July 24, 2019) President Trump believes the Constitution gives him a wide breadth of power. That’s the message he delivered―not for the first time—on Tuesday while addressing a crowd of teenagers and young adults at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington.

There are numerous viral video clips from Trump’s 80-minute speech at the conference, but one of the most controversial moments came as he discussed Article II of the Constitution, which describes the powers of the president. Trump lamented the duration and cost of the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, which he has repeatedly said found “no collusion, no obstruction” …

… William C. Banks, a professor of law at Syracuse University, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Trump’s comments are an affront to “basic points that every schoolchild learns in civics.” Trump took an oath to support and defend the Constitution when he became president, Banks noted, meaning he can only do what the Constitution permits him to.

“It’s certainly not a grant of unlimited power,” Banks said. “He’s not a monarch, he’s the chief executive … and he’s bound to uphold the rule of law.” The lawsuits Trump faces in federal courts serve as a reminder of that notion, Banks said. The professor cited various delays to Trump’s border wall, as well as the challenges the president has faced while implementing immigration reform …

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