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Radio Atlantic: State of Emergency


Earlier this year Adam posted an Atlantic video and related article about how US legislation on emergency powers might be abused by an unscrupulous administration. A few days ago Trump declared a so called National Emergency which Adam and many others find not justified, but Trumped up to enable Trump to usurp funding to gratify his obsession with a border wall. Yet, let us be honest this has been enabled by decades of acquiescence by Congress and the Supreme Court to usurpation of power. Obama was another who usurped power through executive orders.

Last week, President Trump declared a national emergency to get funding for the wall. The move gave him elevated power to move money around, but it was immediately met with lawsuits from 16 states. What exactly is a national emergency? Why is this one different? And just how far do a president’s emergency powers really go?

Alex Wagner speaks with Liza Goitein, Co-Director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center. Months before the president’s announcement, Goitein looked into what powers presidents have in a national emergency.

She wrote about her research in The Atlantic magazine, describing over 100 emergency powers she said were “ripe for abuse” and that “this edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country’s best interest when using them.”  What could happen in the hands of a president less concerned with norms?


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