CNN and MSNBC both used a deceptively-edited video clip to misquote President Donald Trump talking about Article II of the Constitution in July — the same misquote used by Democrats in the House Judiciary Committee this week.
As Breitbart News noted Friday, Democrats played a clip at Wednesday’s impeachment hearing, showing President Trump saying, “Then I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”
Democrat counsel Norm Eisen asked Democrat witness Noah Feldman of Harvard Law School to react to that clip. Feldman said that “as someone who cares about the Constitution,” Trump’s words “struck a kind of horror in me.”
Later, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) repeated the misquote, claiming that President Trump “believes that in his own words, ‘I can do whatever I want.’”
However, the video had been deceptively edited to omit the full quote and the context: President Trump was talking about his power to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, not in general.
As Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering noted Friday, Trump made a similar statement on ABC News in June, saying that under Article II, he had the power to fire Mueller — though he had not done so:
Look, Article II, I would be allowed to fire Robert Mueller. Assuming I did all of the things, I said I want to fire him. Number one, I didn’t. He wasn’t fired. Number one, very importantly but more importantly, Article II allows me to do whatever I want. Article II would allow me to fire him. I wasn’t going to fire him. You know why — because I watched Richard Nixon firing everybody and that didn’t work out too well.
Elie Honig, a CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, repeated the Democrats’ false and misleading edit — first on Thursday, then again on Friday — in special segments explaining the case against President Trump.
Honig simply recycled the Democrats’ deceptively edited clip of Trump’s speech, leaving out the context that made it clear he was talking about Mueller.
Chris Matthews of MSNBC played a similar, deceptively-edited clip of the speech on Hardball on Wednesday, following the hearing. Likewise, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC misquoted Trump on Thursday morning’s edition of Morning Joe: “The President of the United States says, ‘Article II gives me the power to do whatever I want to do.’ That’s actually — that’s what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would say.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Thursday that Trump “says and acts upon the belief ‘Article II says I can do whatever I want’,” explaining her call for articles of impeachment to be drafted against him.
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.