Trump’s Legal Team Argues President’s Power is Virtually UnlimitedJune 3, 2018
Perhaps you like Trump’s policies. Perhaps you do not think that Trump was actively helping the Russians interfere in the 2016 election or even realized that it was taking place. Perhaps you believe that Russian interference did not have an impact on the outcome of the election anyway. Perhaps you believe that a number of the people involved in the investigation of Trump and his campaign have political motivations and have acted improperly at various points in the process.
Reasonable people can disagree about these points. I did not vote for Trump. I would never vote for Trump under any circumstances. I do not like Trump. I think he is a really bad guy. But I do realize that my opinion on these matters is an opinion. I believe my opinions are grounded in documented fact, but I don’t assume that my interpretations of these facts are incontestable.
But even if you disagree with me based on these points, it is very difficult to justify the legal position being argued by Trump with regard to the powers of the president. Trump’s team is basically arguing that the president of the United States is not capable of committing a crime because the president is higher than any legal authority in the United States. In the Trump team’s view, the president can only be punished politically by the voters or their elected representatives in Congress.
Many people who supported Trump complained about the abuse of presidential power in the Obama administration. Many of those most vocally critical of the Clinton’s believe that Bill Clinton abused his authority in a number of ways as president, most crucially in his efforts to squash the investigation into the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit.
These arguments are completely undermined by the Trump team’s legal position as outlined in its legal memo to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and by statements being made by his representatives to the press.
There are a number of issues here that should probably be addressed.