The Slatest

Ahead of Mueller Testimony, Trump Says Constitution Gives Him “the Right to Do Whatever I Want as President”

On the eve of Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, President Trump took a moment to remind everyone of his reckless disregard for anything that isn’t his and anyone that isn’t Trump himself. During an 80-minute speech to young people at the uber-friendly Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington Tuesday, Trump casually told the young conservatives in the crowd that the Constitution gives him, as president, the power to do whatever he wants.

“Then, I have an Article II, where I have to the right to do whatever I want as president,” Trump said. “But I don’t even talk about that.” This is, of course, not true. The larger context of the quote is that Trump was—or appeared to be because who ever knows really—saying that he had the constitutional executive authority to fire Robert Mueller if he had wanted to. Article II of the Constitution grants the president executive authority and outlines certain congressional powers, but stops well short of, you know, empowering the president to do whatever he or she wants. Obviously. That’s not how laws work or how constitutions work, but it is how Trump thinks and talks. The problem is when the thinking and talking makes its way into doing.

The comments came as Robert Mueller’s set to appear before Congress Wednesday and Trump went back to old standby lines of “no collusion, no obstruction.” That mischaracterizes the Mueller Report which the president 100 percent hasn’t read because he likely hasn’t read anything at all that wasn’t on a TV screen in many, many years. During his press conference earlier this year, Mueller’s sole public appearance after the release of the report, the former Special Counsel indicated that Trump likely committed obstruction, but that that was for Congress to follow up on. On Wednesday, we’ll see if congressional Democrats take a step towards doing so.