Presidential Powers, Unchecked by Democrats, Now Accrue to Trump

In The Intecept, journalist Alex Emmons paints a frightening picture outlining the expansion of power the Obama administration carved out for itself to fight terrorism and to engage in military actions in foreign countries and recent attempts by the Administration to suggest some parameters for applying those powers in advance of the coming transition of power to a new president.

In a November 11 piece, Emmons provides examples of the loosening of the reins that enabled the president to engage in military action against ISIS in Syria and Libya, Al Shabaab in Somalia, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, to greatly expand the use of drone strikes targeting suspected terrorists in foreign countries, to conduct an unprecedented level of domestic surveillance, to detain and deport a record number of undocumented aliens, and more.

“After eight years of trusting the President with expanding military power, liberals must now reckon with the fact that Obama will pass the same capabilities to a man who has proposed killing terrorists’ innocent family members, who has said he would do ‘a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,’ and who has suggested dipping bullets in pigs’ blood is sound counterterrorism strategy.”

In a follow-up article, Emmons covers some of the things the Obama Administration has done, in anticipation of a new Commander-in-Chief taking office, to suggest some boundaries around certain expanded powers. Perhaps most important of these is a report, released December 5 summarizing the Administration’s views regarding legal and policy limits to presidential military power. Per Emmons:

“…in trying to defend Obama’s legacy, the report paints a picture of an administration far more restrained than it was in practice. The report comes just weeks before Trump will inherit bombing campaigns in seven countries, a legally unaccountable drone program, and an open prison at Guantanamo Bay.”


Powers that were adopted by the Obama Administration in an era of global terror threat are Not Normal.  It’s not surprising that Republicans in Congress did not stand in the way but Democrats may now be concerned that the trust they bestowed on Obama now places them in the hands of a Not Normal Commander In Chief.

Read the full Nov. 11 article in The Intercept

Read the full Dec. 6 article in The Intercept

2 thoughts on “Presidential Powers, Unchecked by Democrats, Now Accrue to Trump

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