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Monday, September 18, 2023

Biden on Executive Power

Miles's Lawwhere you stand depends on where you sit 

Charlie Savage,   Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan at NYT:
If he is elected to a second term, President Biden pledged that he will go to Congress to start any major war but said he believed he was empowered “to direct limited U.S. military operations abroad” without such approval when such strikes served critical American interests.

“As president, I have taken great care to ensure that military actions carried out under my command comply with this constitutional framework and that my administration consults with Congress to the greatest extent possible,” he wrote in response to a New York Times survey of presidential candidates about executive power.

“I will continue to rigorously apply this framework to any potential actions in the future,” he added.

The reply stood in contrast to his answer in 2007, when he was also running for president and, as a senator, adopted a narrower view: “The Constitution is clear: Except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force.”

Not just war powers. 

In 2019, for example, Mr. Biden said that if elected, he would order the Justice Department to review and potentially replace a legal policy memo that says sitting presidents are temporarily immune from indictment. He strongly criticized the department’s interpretation of the Constitution, which limited the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and Mr. Trump’s attempts to impede that inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III.

But Mr. Biden never followed through on that pledge. He is now protected himself by the Justice Department’s theory since a special counsel, Robert Hur, is investigating how several classified documents were in his possession when he left the vice presidency.