Professor William C. Banks Helps CNN Fact-Check the President
Donald Trump made 78 false claims last week
CNN | July 30, 2019
Article II of the Constitution
"Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President." -- July 23 speech at Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit
Facts First: Article II of the Constitution, which outlines the powers of the executive branch, does not grant the president the ability to do "whatever" they want.
"The President's assertion is false, by a long shot," said William Banks, a law professor at Syracuse University. "The President, like every actor in our national government, is bound by the Constitution. Article II of the Constitution allows the President to take certain actions, but the list is quite short, especially compared to the long list of Congress's Article I powers."
The first line of Article II, Section 1 says, "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." Subsequent items establish the process of choosing the president, who is eligible for the presidency, the State of the Union update the president must give to Congress, the president's role as commander-in-chief, and presidential powers such as making treaties and granting pardons. Notably, Article II also includes the provision that allows for the president to be impeached.
"The main point is that the President is subordinate to the Constitution and laws," said Banks. "He is not a monarch, nor running an autocracy."