The New York Times has weighed in forcefully on President Trump’s controversial legal memo, in which he argues that he cannot be compelled to testify before a grand jury, prosecuted or charged with obstructing evidence because, as the president, he is the law.
Harry Litman, former United States attorney, scorched Trump’s legal argument as fundamentally at odds with the foundations of this country.
“This understanding of presidential power is radical and absolutist. It is also unsound and almost certain to be sharply rejected should it ever be proffered in court,” the piece says. “No tenable account of executive power holds that a president’s purposes in exercising powers accorded under Article II, “to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” have no import. If it were otherwise — if the president had the authority to use his constitutional powers for any reason — it would follow that he could accept a bribe for doing an official act, or, more saliently, extend a pardon to keep a witness from testifying. This would very clearly violate the maxim that the president is not above the law.”
The piece then goes on to analyze the three main arguments in the Trump memo—and destroys them all. Read it here.