As Bush called for a new spirit of common purpose, however, his legal team, which was ideologically extreme and intensely partisan, was busy across town composing secret legal memos that would grant the President all the powers, and more, that Congress had just denied his administration.
. . . Bush's legal team was arguing that the President not only had power to defend the nation as he saw fit in ways that were not limited by any laws, he also had the power to override existing laws that Congress had specifically designed to curb him. The opinion trampled the distinction between unrestricted presidential power and regulated presidential power, where Congress had purposefully imposed limits. . . . [I]n the view of Bush's lawyers, all such statutes, including those prohibiting torture, secret detention, and warrantless surveillance, could now be set aside.
Copyright 2008 by Jane Mayer. All Rights Reserved