What are some ways in which the presidents from 1940 to the present have misused power?

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The two most obvious instances of misuse of power have been the Japanese internment of WWII and the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration.  

In WWII, President Roosevelt used his powers as commander in chief to order the internment of all people of Japanese descent on the West Coast.  This was done without any attempt to determine which people posed a threat to the US and which did not.

In the Watergate scandal, President Nixon used his powers to try to cover up crimes.  These were crimes that had been committed in an attempt to help him win reelection.

In both cases, presidents misused the powers that their office gave them.

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