Barry Berke, the counsel for House Democrats at Monday’s impeachment hearing at the House Judiciary Committee, played the same deceptively-edited video clip of President Donald Trump that Democrats had used in last week’s hearing of legal experts.
Burke played a clip of the president saying, “Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”
He did not play the full context — or even the full sentence.
As Breitbart News noted last Friday, the clip was taken from a speech by the president on July 23 to a Turning Point USA youth group conference in Washington, DC.
The president was specifically discussing his power under Article II to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller — which he had not done — just as he had discussed that power in a June interview on ABC News in similar terms.
Mueller was due to testify in Congress the day after the Turning Point USA conference.
The president’s full remarks, in context, were:
… 500 subpoenas. They did everything. Their collusion? No collusion. They have no collusion [Applause] Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president, but I don’t even talk about that. Because they did a report and there was no obstruction. After looking at it, our great Attorney General read it, he’s a total professional, he said, “There’s nothing here, there’s no obstruction.” So they referenced, no obstruction. So you have no collusion, no obstruction. And yet it goes on. And they think this is helping them. I personally think it’s hurting them. A lot of people think it’s very bad for them. But it just goes on. But I wrote something out this morning on a thing called Twitter, whether we like it or not [Applause] it is a good way of getting the word out. Because I saw Mueller was testifying, yeah.
Berke noted that the president was “responding to the prior investigation by [the] Department of Justice,” but claimed that Trump believed, quoting President Richard M. Nixon, “If the president does it, it is not illegal.”
He said that Trump “has said the same thing,” then played the clip.
Berke then claimed that Trump was declaring that “he has the right to do whatever he wants as president,” linking it to Nixon’s remarks and omitting Trump’s context, which concerned his specific power to hire and fire executive branch employees.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.