A Fox News legal analyst and former New Jersey Supreme Court judge says that Donald Trump has violated the separation of powers three times alone in the past week. According to The Hill, Andrew Napolitano claims that the president has been “abandoning the separation of powers Madison so carefully crafted.”
While speaking on his program, Judge Napolitano’s Chambers, Napolitano pointed to three separate instances where it appears that Trump abandoned the separation of powers. The first involves acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who Trump told this week to use money set aside for a missile defense system in order to use the money towards building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress had authorized the defense system spending, but not the border wall spending, which means that Trump is circumventing Congress to enact his agenda.
“He asked Congress for the money and Congress said no and he took the money anyway,” Napolitano said. “That violates the separation of powers.”
Napolitano also mentioned Trump’s decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. The president enacted what Napolitano called a “tax” on $200 billion worth of imports, arguing that it’s the people of the U.S. who will pay for the tariff and not Chinese citizens, essentially meaning that Trump enacted a tax on Americans without approval from Congress.
“There was a time in American history when the Congress wrote the laws, the president enforced the laws, and the courts interpreted them,” Napolitano said.
Many economists agree with Napolitano’s position.
Finally, the former judge argued that when the president told Shanahan to send troops to the Mexico border he was guilty of violating the separation of powers.
Napolitano conceded that Trump isn’t the first president to abuse his powers and blamed Congress for failing to do its job.
The legal analyst has been notably critical of Trump in recent weeks, prompting the president to lash out at Napolitano.
Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano says William Barr is guilty of a "foolish attempt to sanitize the Mueller report" https://t.co/9G9yzm0bUk— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 10, 2019
“Thank you to brilliant and highly respected attorney Alan Dershowitz for destroying the very dumb legal argument of ‘Judge’ Andrew Napolitano…. Ever since Andrew came to my office to ask that I appoint him to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I said NO, he has been very hostile! Also asked for pardon for his friend. A good ‘pal’ of low ratings Shepard Smith,” the president tweeted.
Napolitano denied Trump’s claim, according to The Hill. He says that the pair met when Trump was about to nominate Neil Gorsuch and they discussed who should be on the Supreme Court, but he didn’t ask for the position himself.