London is a retired partner for the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and the author of The Client Decides; he was a principal lawyer for Vice President Spiro Agnew.
The President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
These words are not a suggestion. They are a command. They impose an affirmative duty on the President — and, as the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee reminded us five years ago, the clause is mandatory. It was inserted into the Constitution because the Founders rejected the notion that, like the English king, a President could suspend, ignore or violate a law he didn’t like.
These words also have especially significant meaning today, as the President weighs whether or not to speak with a law enforcement officer charged with investigating alleged criminal acts that could encompass the President’s own conduct or the actions of his family and colleagues. President Trump has said that he is not only eager to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller for the investigation into Russia interference with the 2016 election (and any other federal crimes he encounters in the process of that inquiry) but that he wants to do so under oath. Nonetheless, the New York Timesreports that some of the President’s lawyers have now advised Trump to refuse any interview with Mueller.