This radical view of what lawyers call the "unitary executive" isn't completely crazy, especially if you take Dowd's words charitably.
"I don't think it is", Napolitano replied.
President Trump at the White House. Yet he isn't above the law that defines obstruction as an attempt to block the course of justice with corrupt intent.
He would also be committing a high crime qualifying him for impeachment under the Constitution: The first impeachment charge against Richard Nixon was precisely for obstruction of justice for his conduct in the Watergate coverup.
Other constitutional systems include the prosecutorial authority alongside the judiciary, so that prosecutors are meant to function as independent quasi-judges. But it sure is a surprise to hear Trump's lawyer admit it - another admission harmful to the President.
In theory, Congress could create truly independent prosecutors.
Lots of scholars agree with Scalia and have criticized the Morrison case, but it's still good law. In fact, the rule I learned was just the opposite: Defend your client zealously, but never let the client's problem become your problem.
All this is the necessary background to Dowd's theory.
"You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate", Dershowitz said during the interview.
"No, it should not matter", Napolitano explained.
The discussion of obstruction of justice kicked off at the end of last week, when Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and it was reported he intends to fully cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Indeed, even firing Comey because he disagreed would be lawful and not obstruction of justice. That would be, for example, if the president sought to hide his own criminal conduct. Those actions would squarely violate the statute.
This cannot be right. The president has many powers that come with inherent discretion, and Congress may regulate his exercise of most of them.
"We have precedents that clearly establish that". "He has pled guilty to those lies", Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday.
"The cry is that the wording was changed, and this changes everything", Smith said.