Opinion: Trump’s not claiming executive power. He’s going for divine right. - PressFrom - US
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OpinionTrump’s not claiming executive power. He’s going for divine right.

17:45  15 may  2019
17:45  15 may  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

DOJ threatens executive privilege over Mueller report if Dems carry out contempt vote

DOJ threatens executive privilege over Mueller report if Dems carry out contempt vote The Justice Department is threatening to asked President Trump to invoke executive privilege over the Mueller report if the House Judiciary Committee goes through with its threat to vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd in a letter on Tuesday told Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) threatened to turn to the presidential power on the eve of the contempt markup before his panel, a move that is certain to deepen the agency's feud with Capitol Hill.

President Trump reacts to the crowd during a visit to the Cameron LNG Export Terminal in Hackberry, La., on Tuesday. Forget about the Unitary Executive Theory. This one is closer to the Divine Right of Kings. Mehta, an Obama appointee, probed for the limits of this breathtaking theory but found none

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, invoking national security powers meant to protect the United States against threats from abroad, announced new rules on Thursday that give President Trump vast authority to deny asylum to virtually any migrant who crosses the border illegally.

Trump’s not claiming executive power. He’s going for divine right.© Scott Clause/AP President Trump reacts to the crowd during a visit to the Cameron LNG Export Terminal in Hackberry, La., on Tuesday.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

In 1787, the framers gave us a president, not a king.

On Tuesday, lawyers for President Trump gave a dissenting opinion.

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In the first of many courtroom showdowns between Trump’s executive branch and the legislative branch, Trump’s lawyer William Consovoy argued to U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta that Congress has no authority to pry into Trump’s finances. That was expected. Unexpected was Consovoy’s broader argument: that Congress has essentially no authority to investigate any president for anything. Sorry, Sam Ervin: Even the Watergate investigation would have been illegal under the theory offered by Trump’s team.

Trump Asserts Executive Privilege Over Full Mueller Report

Trump Asserts Executive Privilege Over Full Mueller Report President Trump asserted executive privilege on Wednesday in an effort to shield hidden portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report and the evidence he collected from Congress. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The assertion, Mr. Trump’s first use of the secrecy powers as president, came as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning to recommend the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William P.

Mr. Trump ’ s lawyers, by contrast, are claiming that he is “the chief law enforcement officer” — a description usually applied to the attorney general The implications of Mr. Trump ’ s claim also go beyond the context of his lawyers defending him in a criminal case. If obstruction statutes cannot stop

“In democracies,” he thundered, “this power of pardon can never subsist.” Contemporary reformers like Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were just as skeptical about pardons. So was Immanuel Kant, for whom it was one of the slipperiest rights of the sovereign, a majestic encouragement to injustice.

Consovoy, a beefy former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, offered two related points:

(A) Congress can’t issue a subpoena or otherwise probe a president unless it is doing so for a “legitimate legislative purpose.”

(B) Any “legitimate legislative purpose” Congress could conceivably devise would be unconstitutional.

As a result, Consovoy argued, Congress can’t investigate to see if a law is being broken, can’t inform the public of wrongdoing by the executive and can’t look for presidential conflicts of interest or corruption, because that would be “law enforcement.”

Forget about the Unitary Executive Theory. This one is closer to the Divine Right of Kings.

Mehta, an Obama appointee, probed for the limits of this breathtaking theory but found none:

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The divine right of kings, divine right , or God' s mandate is a political and religious doctrine of royal He wrote of the Irish King Diarmait mac Cerbaill' s assassination and claimed that divine punishment In the Middle Ages, the idea that God had granted earthly power to the monarch, just as he had given

Trump ’ s personal counsel Rudy Giuliani has asserted that Trump couldn’t be indicted, even if he had shot former FBI Director James Comey Our government of laws is a constitutional system of checks and balances precisely to assure that no person ever attains the absolute powers Trump claims .

Trump’s finances are not subject to investigation?

“Correct,” Consovoy informed the judge.

Congress can’t verify the accuracy of the president’s financial statements?

“Correct.”

If “a president was involved in some corrupt enterprise, you mean to tell me because he is the president of the United States, Congress would not have power to investigate?”

No, Consovoy said, because that’s “not pursuant to its legislative agenda.”

Consovoy, who is representing Trump as he tries to block the president’s accounting firm from fulfilling a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee for Trump’s financial records, further declared that Congress can’t investigate a president to inform the public of malfeasance (“the president is not an agency”), to see whether a president has a financial conflict of interest in a piece of legislation (“it would lack legitimate legislative purpose”), nor to discover whether financial conflicts impair a president’s ability to make sound policy (“that is law enforcement”).

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Donald Trump ’ s take on executive power is peculiar, but not merely because he ’ s reaching for more of it. Libertarians, civil and otherwise, shake their heads in despair and say both groups are right . Most of the new powers he is claiming are about self-preservation. They arise not out of any public

That is a stunning claim of executive power , coming from a President Trump meets with Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, at 2:45 p.m. Timeline: Korea-US summit goes through many twists and turns The United States announced on May 10 that

But surely Congress could investigate a president’s compliance with the Constitution’s emoluments clause?

“I respectfully disagree in part,” Consovoy persisted, saying Congress can’t engage in “anything that looks like a law enforcement investigation.”

Even the Whitewater and Watergate investigations exceeded congressional authority?

Here, Consovoy demurred (“I’d have to look,” he said), rather than admit his theory would have indeed banned both.

The Supreme Court has said judges shouldn’t look at Congress’s motives (even if they appear to be political) for investigating the executive, deferring to the legislature on what is a legitimate legislative function. But Consovoy told Mehta that “I don’t think the court can ignore” the Democrats’ motives, as expressed in public statements, and he called their legislative reasons “retroactive rationalizations.” Consovoy’s own argument sounded more political than legal at times. His brief began: “The Democrat Party . . . has declared all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump. Subpoenas are their weapon of choice.”

White House decries investigations by House Democrats, says they are not following 'rules and norms'

White House decries investigations by House Democrats, says they are not following 'rules and norms' The White House on Sunday decried Democratic-led congressional investigations, saying Democrats are refusing to abide by "rules and norms" that govern oversight authority as they issue subpoenas for documents the Trump administration refuses to hand over. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); "There are rules and norms governing congressional oversight of the executive branch, and the Democrats simply refuse to abide by them," White House deputy press secretary Steve Groves said in a statement.

President Trump said he was preparing an executive order that would nullify the long-accepted constitutional guarantee of birthright citizenship in the United States, his latest attention-grabbing maneuver days before midterm congressional elections as he has sought to activate his base by

Executive privilege is the power of the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch of the United States Government to resist certain subpoenas and other

Consovoy’s argument was so aggressive, it seemed Trump’s lawyers expected defeat in the lower court and were looking for a higher court to reinterpret the law in Trump’s favor or, more likely, for the appeals to stretch until after the 2020 election. Consovoy sought delays for discovery and more arguments, saying it would be a disservice if “I did not go into depth.” But Mehta brushed off these attempts, saying he would close the record this week. And the judge flatly rejected Consovoy’s exotic argument that Mehta should preemptively declare unconstitutional any hypothetical legislation Congress might come up with related to its probe of Trump’s finances.

Douglas Letter, arguing for the House, said Consovoy’s position would require declaring unconstitutional “a whole batch” of laws that require disclosure by the president: the Ethics in Government Act, the Presidential Records Act and the Stock Act against insider trading. Under Consovoy’s theory, Congress couldn’t even investigate whether Trump really took himself out of the lease he had with the General Services Administration to run Washington’s Trump International Hotel.

At one point in the 90-minute argument, the judge asked Letter why the House wanted Trump’s private business records, because “this is not an impeachment proceeding.” And that’s the irony: As strong as the House’s oversight case is now, lawmakers would have more constitutional authority to demand information from Trump if they launched impeachment proceedings. Trump’s reckless legal argument is one more way in which he is goading the House to impeach him.

Twitter: @Milbank

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Dershowitz: Are congressional investigations of Trump the new McCarthyism?.
All civil libertarians today should be concerned about abuses of power by congressional committees. Today, Donald Trump and his administration are the targets. Tomorrow, it may be Democrats. The next day, you could be the target. Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. His new book is "The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump." You can follow him on Twitter @AlanDersh.

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