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Fox News’ Judge Napolitano Excoriates Trump for ‘Abandoning Separation of Powers’


Fox News’ senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, one of the network’s few contributors known to criticize President Donald Trump, took the president to task once again in Wednesday’s segment of “Judge Napolitano’s Chambers.” Napolitano said Trump has been “abandoning separation of powers Madison so carefully crafted.”

“There was a time in American history when the Congress wrote the laws, the president enforced the laws, and the courts interpreted them…at least theoretically” he began, ominously opting to discuss the constitutionally enshrined separation of powers in the past tense.

“But a disturbing trend…keeps accumulating more and more power in the office of the president, not by legislation, but by Congress falling asleep while presidents take their power,” he continued.

Napolitano stated that President Trump had exemplified this trend three times in the last week, a fact he described as “very dangerous.”

Napolitano’s first example of this derived from Trump’s national emergency declaration, which enabled the president to divert money that Congress had already allocated to be spent elsewhere toward his own project. Specifically, Napolitano pointed to Trump directing Patrick Shanahan, the acting Secretary of Defense, not to purchase a missile defense system as directed by Congress, but to instead use that ear-marked money to fund the building a 50-mile fence at the Texas-Mexico border.

Next, the Judge referred to Trump directing the deployment of troops to secure the Southern border. According to Napolitano, this is in direct contradiction to the president’s sworn oath, which includes a clause stating that the military cannot be used for domestic law enforcement.

Finally, Napolitano mentioned that “the President raised taxes this week,” in reference to the 25 percent tariffs Trump imposed on all goods coming from China into the United States. He makes sure to point out that, despite Trump’s public statements, tariffs are not paid by the country they are imposed upon, as the cost of tariffs are immediately passed on to the importing country’s consumer base. Napolitano referred to this as, effectively, a national federal sales tax unilaterally imposed by the president and not Congress.

The segment concluded with Napolitano reiterating how dangerous it is under our constitutional system to allow any president, not just Trump, to accumulate the power to write their own laws, impose their own taxes, and spend national money how they want.

Napolitano made headlines in a similar episode last month, when he laid out a case that President Trump was guilty of obstructing justice on multiple occasions. Napolitano has seen an 18 percent decrease in his airtime on Fox News channels compared to the same period last year, according to The Wrap.

[Image via Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.