Members of Congress like to remind people that under the system of checks and balances crafted by our Constitution’s Founding Fathers, the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government are “coequal.”
But to paraphrase George Orwell, some are more coequal than others.
Over his four years as president, Donald Trump learned to maximize his powers as commander in chief far beyond that of any of his modern-era predecessors, allowing him to muscle through his policy initiative over a sometimes-reluctant Congress mostly controlled by his own party.
With a few exceptions, Trump effectively imposed his will on Congress, especially when it came to defense issues, making the executive the most powerful of the three branches.
Trump is an extreme example of what’s known as “unitary executive theory,” the idea that despite its oversight role, Congress is limited in how much power it has over the executive branch.
It’s what allowed Trump to refuse to testify in