President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed that Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the functions of the executive branch, gives him the right “to do whatever I want as president.”
Trump made the remarks to a room full of hundreds of high school students belonging to the right-wing youth group Turning Point USA.
“Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” he told the youth group.
TRUMP: "Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president."
(Article 2 does not in fact empower the president to do whatever they want.) pic.twitter.com/qIFP1AbHw6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 23, 2019
This is not, however, Trump’s first time claiming he has unlimited powers granted to him by Article II.
Speaking with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in June, Trump responded to questions about why he didn’t fire Mueller by insisting that he could have because “Article II allows me to do whatever I want.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance pushed back on Trump’s Article II claims at the time, telling MSNBC: “The president is not a constitutional law scholar and his interpretation of Article II is just flawed. Even his Attorney General William Barr wouldn’t go as far as the president seems to do anything that he wants to do”
“The reality is that there are actions that the president can take that would violate the law,” she lectured. “He couldn’t, for instance, order a U.S. Attorney to indict one of his political enemies when there is no evidence to indict them. That would be a crime. He couldn’t accept a bribe in exchange for the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice — that would be a crime.”
“His power is not limitless and he is accountable under the Constitutions, ” she concluded.
And last week, Trump told reporters: “Nobody ever mentions Article II. It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before.”