Can He Do That?

by The Washington Post

24m

average length

209

episodes

10

followers

“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring the powers and limitations of the American presidency, and what happens when they're tested. Led by host Allison Michaels, each episode asks a new question about this extraordinary moment in American history and answers with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and the implications when branches of government collide.

Best Can He Do That? episodes upvoted by the community

Last updated on August 13, 2020, 9:00 am

#5

States are competing for life-saving medical equipment. Who decides where it goes?

April 02, 2020 • 33m

As the spread of the novel coronavirus grows in the United States, many states finds themselves in need of medical equipment like ventilators and protective equipment for health care workers.Yet, for most states getting said equipment has not been easy. Requests have begun to outweigh supply and many states complain there’s a lack of guidance about how they can secure life-saving supplies.Governors are making increasingly frantic requests to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for materials. State and congressional leaders are flooding FEMA with calls seeking clarity about how resources will be allocated. Several calls have been made straight to the president himself, and some governors seem to have better luck in those calls than others.While states like Oklahoma and Kentucky have received more of some equipment than they requested, others like Illinois, Massachusetts and Maine have secured only a fraction of their requests.This disparity has led many state officials to raise the question of whether Republican states are receiving more favorable treatment from the federal government during this crisis. And while there’s no direct evidence that’s the case, President Trump has contributed to the sense that politics could be a factor. Specifically, Trump has publicly attacked Democratic governors who criticize his handling of the public health crisis.So, is there political bias in who gets resources right now? Who, exactly, controls the way resources are allocated in an emergency? And what happens when state health departments and hospitals are left without the supplies they so desperately need?On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, Dr. Paul Biddinger, the chief of the emergency preparedness division at Massachusetts General Hospital offers insight on what resources hospitals need right now and White House reporter Toluse Olurinippa discusses president’s inconsistent process for deciding how to distribute resources across the country.Additional coronavirus resources:washingtonpost.com/virusnewsletterwashingtonpost.com/coronaviruswashingtonpost.com/podcastsRelated episodesThe U.S. stumbled at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Can we make up for lost time?Does the president have much power to control a viral outbreak?

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#10

A president’s push for an unproven cure

April 09, 2020 • 32m

As the country continues to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus, many are desperately in search of answers, solutions and treatment options.In search himself, for something of a cure, President Trump has repeatedly touted one particular drug as the likely savior for covid-19 patients: hydroxychloroquine.At this point, hydroxychloroquine is an unproven treatment for covid-19. It’s still in the testing stages as a treatment for the virus, it can have dangerous side effects for some, and medical professionals are divided on its likelihood of success.Yet none of those factors have stopped the president from advocating that people infected with the novel coronavirus consider taking this drug, in consultation with their doctors.Many doctors and scientists advising Trump have advocated that he exercise more caution in talking about the drug’s potential promise. But others inside the White House — and on Fox News — have been influencing Trump, offering him anecdotal evidence of the drug’s success.Meanwhile, clinical trials for this particular use of hydroxychloroquine and clinical trials for other potential treatments for covid-19 are being expedited in a time of crises. These trials would usually take quite a long time, years even.On this episode of the“Can He Do That?” podcast, Mark Gladwin of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center explains the risks when clinical trials move quickly — and whether they outweigh the potential benefits. Plus, national political reporter Robert Costa offers insight into the president’s actions as Americans are desperate for a cure.Additional coronavirus resources:washingtonpost.com/virusnewsletterwashingtonpost.com/coronaviruswashingtonpost.com/podcastsRelated episodesStates are competing for life-saving medical equipment. Who decides where it goes?The U.S. stumbled at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Can we make up for lost time?Does the president have much power to control a viral outbreak?

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#14

The problems with pardon power

February 20, 2020 • 29m

Only a few presidential powers are very clearly outlined in the U.S. Constitution. One of those is the president’s power to pardon.We’ve seen President Trump exercise his pardon power at several moments during his tenure in office - sometimes to much controversy.Tuesday, the president continued this trend. He pardoned or commuted the sentences of several convicted white-collar criminals at the center of federal anti-corruption and tax fraud cases.Trump’s choice to grant clemency to this group, combined with a reported desire from the administration to issue more pardons in the coming months, raises questions about who else Trump might pardon. Among them, is his longtime adviser and friend Roger Stone who was sentenced Thursday to serve three years four months for impeding a congressional investigation of 2016 Russian election interference.Trump left this door open when he said at an event in Las Vegas Thursday that while he wasn’t going to grant clemency to Stone right now, Stone “has a very good chance of exoneration.”What do a president’s decisions about who to pardon say about his agenda? How unusual is it really for a president to pardon those close to him? And how much power does the Justice Department have to push back on a president who seeks to pardon for political gain?On this episode, White House reporter Toluse Olorunnipa helps us boil our questions down to this: If a president has sweeping pardon powers — are there really consequences to using them? And … should there be?Related episodesTrump’s view of a unilaterally powerful president goes unchallenged'The Framers would not recognize the modern presidency.'

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#15

Freezing funding, adjourning Congress, reopening states. What are the limits on Trump’s power?

April 16, 2020 • 31m

Each week, our country’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic presents new questions. Some of those questions are about the role of the president in a crisis, or the role of governors and local leaders, or the role of international organizations, or even the role of Congress. This particular week raised questions about all of those things.President Trump early in the week said that he has“total authority” to order the reopening of state’s economies. Though, on a call with governors Thursday, Trump told them,“You’re going to call your own shots” and later released new guidance that didn’t lay out a specific timeline for relaxing social distancing restrictions.Also this week, the administration announced plans to freeze funding to the World Health Organization pending an investigation into their handling of the coronavirus crisis.Finally, at a news conference midweek, Trump threatened to force Congress to adjourn so he could fill some vacant positions in his administration without Senate approval.Together, these three moments illustrate a president suggesting ways to exercise increased power and limit the checks on his authority.On this episode of“Can He Do That?” we answer key questions about where the president’s power begins and ends in a time of crisis, with reporting from Post foreign affairs reporter Emily Rauhala and insight from Claire Finkelstein, law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law.Additional coronavirus resources:washingtonpost.com/virusnewsletterwashingtonpost.com/coronaviruswashingtonpost.com/podcastsRelated episodesStates are competing for life-saving medical equipment. Who decides where it goes?The U.S. stumbled at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Can we make up for lost time?Does the president have much power to control a viral outbreak?

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