Senior White House policy adviser Stephen Miller made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows over the weekend, and his comments about voter fraud have earned him justifiably dim reviews. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump and Fact Checker Glenn Kessler dealt with those claims in depth.
But amid all the baseless and false statements about electoral integrity, Miller did something even more controversial: He expanded upon his boss’s views of whether judges are allowed to question President Trump’s authority. And at one point, Miller even said Trump’s national security decisions “will not be questioned.”
Blake provides the transcript:
Here’s the key exchange, with “Face the Nation’s” John Dickerson (emphasis added):
DICKERSON: When I talked to Republicans on the Hill, they wonder, what in the White House — what have you all learned from this experience with the executive order?
MILLER: Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become, in many cases, a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is — is — is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.
The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.
Does nobody in Trump’s administration even know what the judiciary is?
“Will not be questioned.” That is an incredible claim to executive authority — and one we can expect to hear plenty more about. Trump has beaten around this bush plenty, yes. But Miller just came out and said it: that the White House doesn’t recognize judges’ authority to review things such as his travel ban.
Oh well I don’t think Trump was beating around any bushes; I think he came right out and said it too. “So-called judge” is pretty clear.
Miller clarified the threats somewhat though:
And on “Fox News Sunday”: “This is a judicial usurpation of the power. It is a violation of judges’ proper roles in litigating disputes. We will fight it. And we will make sure that we take action to keep from happening in the future what’s happened in the past.”
So…that will be a coup then? That’s what they’re telling us? On the Sunday talk shows?
Miller seemed to be serving notice Sunday that the administration thinks the courts should play no role in reviewing any of Trump’s decisions related to national security.
That makes even some Republicans uneasy.
“I mean, obviously, the president wants to keep the country safe. I recognize that. I think everybody does, and I applaud him for trying to do so,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said on “Face the Nation” after Miller’s appearance. “But, obviously, it needs to be constitutional, and it needs to be wise.”
Miller is basically arguing that it doesn’t need to be constitutional — or, more specifically, that anything Trump decides to do when it comes to national security is inherently constitutional, regardless of whether it targets a specific religion or anything else.
That is a massive claim to power. And it apparently won’t be the first time Trump’s White House attempts to claim it.
I think he meant it won’t be the last time – and it clearly won’t.