The imperial Trump presidency
President Trump’s lawyers want the courts to declare that the president is above the law, said David Lurie. Last week, Trump asked a court to block New York prosecutors from requiring an accounting firm to turn over his personal and corporate tax returns. Trump’s lawsuit claims the president is constitutionally protected “not just from indictment but also from investigation.” That’s “squarely at odds” with the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in U.S. v. Nixon, which rejected President Nixon’s claim that he was protected by “absolute privilege” and ordered him to comply with a subpoena in the Watergate probe. Now, though, Trump has revived Nixon’s argument and seems to be using this case to ask the Supreme Court to nullify U.S. v. Nixon. The newest justice may well be on board: In 2009, Brett Kavanaugh urged Congress to enact a law overruling Nixon, thereby shielding sitting presidents from investigation. Should Kavanaugh and the other four conservative justices take that matter into their own hands, Nixon’s “long-mocked claim” that when the president does something, “that means that it is not illegal” would actually become true.