only when it is taken with the “corrupt” intent to obstruct justice. The obstruction statutes thus would restrict presidential action only by prohibiting the President from acting to obstruct ofﬁcial proceedings for the improper purpose of protecting his own interests. See Volume II, Section llI.A.3, supra. The direct effect on the President’s freedom of action would correspondingly be a limited one. A preclusion of “corrupt” ofﬁcial action is not a major intrusion on Article II powers. For example, the proper supervision of criminal law does not demand freedom for the President to act with the intention of shielding himself from criminal punishment, avoiding ﬁnancial liability, or preventing personal embarrassment. To the contrary, a statute that prohibits official action undertaken for such personal purposes furthers, rather than hinders, the impartial and evenhanded administration of the law. And the Constitution does not mandate that the President have unfettered authority to direct investigations or prosecutions, with no limits whatsoever, in order to carry out his Article II functions. See Heckler v. Chaney, 470 US. 821, 833 (1985) (“Congress may limit an agency’s exercise of enforcement power if it wishes, either by setting substantive priorities, or by otherwise circumscribing an agency‘s power to discriminate among issues or cases it will pursue”); United States v. Nixon, 418 US. at 707 (“[t]o read the Art. 11 powers of the President as providing an absolute privilege [to withhold conﬁdential communications from a criminal trial]. . . would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government" and gravely impair the role of the courts under Art. 111”). Nor must the President have unfettered authority to remove all Executive Branch ofﬁcials involved in the execution of the laws. The Constitution establishes that Congress has legislative authority to structure the Executive Branch by authorizing Congress to create executive departments and ofﬁcer positions and to specify how inferior ofﬁcers are appointed. E. g., U.S. CONST., ART. 1, § 8, cl. 18 (Necessary and Proper Clause); ART. 11, § 2, cl. 1 (Opinions Clause); ART. 11, § 2, cl. 2 (Appointments Clause); see Free Enterprise Fund, 561 US. at 499. While the President’s removal power is an important means of ensuring that ofﬁcers faithfully execute the law, Congress has a recognized authority to place certain limits on removal. Id. at 493-495. The President’s removal powers are at their zenith with respect to principal ofﬁcersmthat is, ofﬁcers who must be appointed by the President and who report to him directly. See Free Enterprise Fund, 561 US. at 493, 500. The President’s “exclusive and illimitable power of removal” of those principal ofﬁcers furthers “the President’s ability to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.” Id. at 493, 498 (internal quotation marks omitted); Myers, 272 US. at 627. Thus, “there are some ‘purely executive’ ofﬁcials who must be removable by the President at will if he is able to accomplish his constitutional role.” Morrison, 487 US. at 690; Myers, 272 US. at 134 (the President’s “cabinet ofﬁcers must do his will,” and “[t]he moment that he loses confidence in the intelligence, ability, judgment, or loyalty of any one of them, he must have the power to remove him without delay”); of Humphrey’s Executor v. United States, 295 US. 602 (1935) (Congress has the power to create independent agencies headed by principal officers removable only for good cause). In light of those constitutional precedents, it may be that the obstruction statutes could not be constitutionally applied to limit the removal of a cabinet ofﬁcer such as the Attorney General. See 5 U.S.C. § 101; 28 U.S.C. § 503. In that context, at least absent circumstances showing that the President was clearly attempting to thwart accountability for personal conduct while evading ordinary political checks and balances, even the highly limited 1'11
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