Foreign Policy Digital

How to Slow-Walk a President

U.S. leaders have almost unchecked powers in a crisis. But the bureaucracy has ways to gum up the system.

This week, Americans learned from a book by one of the country’s preeminent journalists and from an extraordinary opinion piece in the New York Times that members of President Donald Trump’s own administration are actively trying to stymie some of his policies—decisions and orders they see as irresponsible or even dangerous.

But what can Cabinet secretaries and other government officials actually do if the president undertakes something genuinely reckless—an unwarranted military attack or even a nuclear strike? Plenty, as it turns out, although they can’t always do it legally or constitutionally.

With Trump, the question has loomed large almost since he stepped off that escalator in his eponymous New York tower in 2015 to announce his run for president. But it took on new urgency when an anonymous senior administration official wrote in the Times this week that an internal “resistance” was “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

It’s not clear which parts of that agenda the

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