The Atlantic

The Strangest Thing About Trump’s Approach to Presidential Power

Many presidents have pushed the limits of their authority. But not like this.
Source: Leah Millis / Reuters

Donald Trump’s take on executive power is peculiar, but not merely because he’s reaching for more of it.

Expanding presidential prerogatives is practically part of the job description in the modern era. So when Trump’s all-caps flirtation with a self-pardon this week launched a new round of concerns about the president’s use of executive power, many of those concerns were, in part, misdirected.

That’s not to say that Trump’s behavior is normal. In suggesting that he might pardon himself—even as he insisted that he had done nothing to necessitate it—Trump implied that he was not so much above the law as beyond it entirely. And Trump’s unprecedented assertion to self-pardon comes at a time when his legal team is busy making other questionable claims—like the idea that the president can reasonably resist a subpoena, and the assertion, made by Rudy Giuliani, that Trump couldn’t be indicted even if he were to shoot former FBI Director James Comey.

Critics see this, rightly, as part of . “We overthrew control by a monarchy, and the Constitution signals in multiple places that the president is subject to law,” , a law professor at Ohio.

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