Richard Painter Slams Trump Over Claim He Can Do What He Wants With Justice Dept. ‘He is Not a King!’

President Donald Trump impromptu interview with The New York Times on Thursday has left many trying to make sense of the President’s words. Appearing on CNN’s Outfront Friday night, former White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter — who served under President George W. Bush — tore into Trump’s assertion that he has unlimited power over the Justice Department. Filling in for Erin Burnett, Poppy Harlow asked Painter his read on Trump’s quote from the article where he states, “I can do whatever I want with the justice Department.” Painter responded passionately. “I think he picked the wrong country to be president of if he thinks he has absolute power to run the Justice Department however he wants,” he said. “That may be the way it works in [Vladimir] Putin‘s Russia and other places but that’s not the way it works here. There are laws, and has been sworn to uphold the law and the constitution of the United States.” Painter went on to say that the president can remove the attorney general, and remove all of his appointees in the Justice Department. But he doesn’t have the authority to investigate his political opponents. “[Trump] is not above the law and that’s the bottom line,” Painter said. “He is not above the law. He is not a king! He is a president!” Harlow proceeded to cite examples of several high profile republicans being critical of special counsel Robert Mueller, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) giving his blistering attacks on the Russian Probe. Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean said that Trump’s comments on Thursday essentially served as a thumbs-up to Mueller critics like Jordan to keep turning up the heat on the special counsel. “I think [Trump’s] comments were pretty clear,” Dean said. “He was throwing friendly signals towards Mueller but also encouraging those being critical of the investigation to continue being so.” Watch above, via CNN. [featured image via screengrab]

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