Trump asserts his actions don't amount to obstruction on eve of Mueller testimony

President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE on Tuesday touted executive powers he is afforded under the Constitution while appearing to dismiss claims of possible obstruction of justice on the eve of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's testimony on Capitol Hill.

Trump during a speech at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit in Washington asserted his belief that his past actions did not amount to obstruction given the executive power he is afforded under Article 2 of the Constitution.

The president made the remarks while railing against what he labeled the "Russian witch hunt" one day before Mueller is set to testify before Congress on his investigation into Russia's election interference and potential obstruction by the president.


"First of all, it's very bad for our country," Trump told the conservative students. "Makes it very hard to deal with Russia … and we should be able to deal with them without having this artificial stuff."

"I could take anybody in this audience. Give me $40 million. Give me unlimited FBI, unlimited interviews, unlimited — they interviewed 500 people," Trump remarked of the nearly two-year probe, saying investigators "did everything" and came to a conclusion of "no collusion."

"Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president," Trump asserted before adding that he doesn’t "even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction."

"After looking at it [the Mueller report], 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," Trump said.

Trump's remark about Article 2 gave pause to many online who questioned whether the president was arguing that the constitutional provision he touted gives him unlimited power.

Others found humor in Section 4 of the article, however, which states that the “president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” 

Trump has repeatedly referred to Article 2 while discussing the Russia investigation.

In an interview with ABC’s George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosBaldwin says he doesn't feel guilty for 'Rust' shooting: Someone else 'is responsible' Baldwin details how gun misfired on 'Rust' set despite trigger never being pulled Baldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' MORE last month, Trump said Article 2 “allows me to do whatever I want,” including fire Mueller if he so desired.

“Article 2 would have allowed me to fire him,” he said at the time.

The month before that, he brought up Article 2 another time while speaking to reporters about the Russia probe.

“Read Article 2, which gives the president powers that you wouldn’t believe. But I don’t even have to rely on Article 2,” he continued then. “There was no crime. There was no obstruction. There was no collusion.”

When he testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on Wednesday, Mueller is expected to face a deluge of questions about his 448-page report released earlier this year, a large part of which focused on possible obstruction.

The former special counsel examined 10 "episodes" of potentially obstructive behavior by Trump, but Mueller himself noted that he could not recommend charges against Trump based on current Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Lawmakers are expected to question the former special counsel about his findings and decisionmaking as well as the decision by Attorney General William BarrBill BarrHolding defiant Trump witnesses to account, Jan. 6 committee carries out Congress's constitutional role Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official Appeals court questions Biden DOJ stance on Trump obstruction memo MORE not to pursue an obstruction charge based on the Mueller report.

While the report detailed numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian figures, it did not establish a conspiracy between the campaign and Moscow during the 2016 election.