Trump’s attacks against the judiciary reflect his view that only he should be able to decide what he can and cannot do. That’s what he really meant when, as part of his response to Attorney General William P. Barr’s efforts to curb him, he pointed out that, “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country.”
Some people were taken aback by Trump’s assertion, but he was technically correct: As president, he sits at the apex of the federal law enforcement apparatus. The problem is that Trump’s understanding of what it means to be the chief law enforcement officer is flawed and corrupt. The president’s oath is to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,” and to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” His job, says Article II, is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
With those words, the Constitution endows a president with the right and obligation to enforce the laws. It doesn’t grant him the power to do whatever he wants, or mean that Trump must be allowed to rampage through the legal landscape like King Kong, dangerous and unbound.