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What will President Trump be able to do?

In January Donald Trump becomes the 45th US president - and this is his to-do list
Trump's team
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You'll know by now that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House.

After his inauguration in January, he becomes the most powerful man in the world.  

During the campaign the Republican candidate made some controversial pledges:

For starters, he's said he will build a wall on the Mexican border, restrict abortion laws, overturn climate change agreements and "restrict" Muslims entering the US.

So which of his most controversial pledges can become reality?

We asked Dr Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, a US political scientist originally from Louisiana, who now works at the University of Essex.


Republican Party

Donald Trump

"I will build a great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay it," he says
Donald Trump wall protest
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"He certainly cannot force the people of Mexico to pay for something," says Dr Gina Yannitell Reinhardt.

"If the United States is going to pay, he has to have congressional consent. And it's highly unlikely that a budget would ever pass with money for a wall in it."

Instead, she predicts that President Trump will "tell his people that the wall is no longer necessary because he's come up with something else instead".

This week Mr Trump has already backtracked, saying some stretches of fencing may be enough.

She thinks it could be laser technology that gets tripped when someone tries to cross the border.  

Expert verdict: There will be no wall

He'll consider 'punishing' women who undergo abortions
Anti-abortion placard
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In the past President-elect Trump has said he is pro-choice - in other words, that he is favour of women making a choice for themselves about terminating a pregnancy.

But the Republican party tends to oppose abortion and by the time he was running for president, Trump had changed his mind.

He was asked if women who have abortions should be punished.

"There has to be some form of punishment," he said.

He later backtracked, saying doctors who carry out terminations should be punished instead.

This is much more highly likely than some of his other promises

Dr Gina Yannitell ReinhardtAmerican politics, University of Essex

Abortion is not a crime so there's no way Trump could suddenly bring in "punishments".

However, "this is much more highly likely than some of his other promises," says Dr Reinhardt.

"It would have to take a Supreme Court verdict. So the way for Donald Trump [to do this] would be to appoint Supreme Court Justices that decided to reverse previous court decisions.

"It's likely that he will have at least two spaces to fill on the Supreme Court. And with the Senate in his favour, it's likely that they will confirm his choices.

"At that point all we're doing is waiting for a case to reach the court. It would take several years to be accomplished."

Expert verdict: Pro-choice Americans should be worried

He's said he wants to overturn international climate change laws
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In May, Donald Trump promised to cancel all US donations to UN programmes fighting global warming.

He pledged to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which leading nations signed in April, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Donald Trump doesn't believe global warming is a real threat to the USA.

He tweeted his opinions on the matter in 2012 and 2014, although later denied his tweets, when challenged by Hillary Clinton.

He said global warming was something China had invented to reduce the profitability of US companies.

"He can stop the payment of US tax dollars because it's his job to issue payments," says Dr Reinhardt.

"But he cannot just pull out of treaties because it is the job of Congress to join treaties."

If he has enough agreement in Congress, it's possible that he could change things pretty drastically.

Gina's verdict: It's possible


Climate change denial

He's previously pledged to restrict Muslims entering the US
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"Donald J Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," said the man himself during the election campaign.

Dr Reinhardt says this one is complicated. 

As president he will be "in control of the border patrol and immigration".

But, she says: "That sort of law is incredibly controversial. It would, without a doubt, be taken to the Supreme Court and be judged unconstitutional."

She points out that even President-elect Trump moved away from this idea as the campaign went on, instead calling for "extreme vetting" of Muslims entering the country.

Expert verdict: There'll be no ban on Muslims



And he will have control of America's nuclear codes
Protest placard against Donald Trump
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Barack Obama raised concerns about President-elect Trump getting access to the nuclear "button" after it was rumoured Trump's team had banned him from tweeting.

"If somebody can't handle a Twitter account, they can't handle the nuclear code," President Obama said.

The new commander-in-chief will indeed have ultimate power.

"He will be in charge of the nuclear code. He will be capable of launching nuclear weapons," says Dr Reinhardt.

Expert verdict: Yes, Trump will be in control of any possible American nuclear strikes

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