Former Obama Official Chides Trump for Confusing the ‘Job of the President of the United States With a King’ | Video

Rick Stengel, the Obama administration’s under secretary of state for public diplomacy, weighed in Wednesday on the D.C. appeals court’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim to absolute immunity, chiding the politician for confusing “the job of the president of the United States with a king.”

Stengel joined MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” in the studio with host Alicia Menendez, sitting in for Nicolle Wallace. He and other guests, California Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who also served as a member on the Jan. 6 select committee, and Tim Heaphy, former lead investigator for the Jan. 6 select committee, spoke about Trump’s years-long obsession with his interpretation of the powers granted to the president under Article II of the Constitution.

At the beginning of the segment, Menendez played clips of Trump as he offered his own interpretation of Article II. In one, he told reporters, “When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total.”

Menendez also noted that the “Republican party has shifted away from democracy and the idea that every voice counts. To the unaware, only one voice matters: that of the former president.”

Later in the show, Menendez turned to Stengel and said, “Well, speaking of situations that we have not found ourselves in before, you have a person who is vying for the presidency and yet telling us he does not want to abide by the Constitution of the country.”

“Yes, I was struck by the roll that you had before because he obviously, from the beginning, has confused the job of president of the United States with king,” Stengel responded. “That’s exactly what he thinks it is. I mean, the ruling by the federal court doesn’t seem novel to me.”

“If there’s any principle enshrined in the Constitution, it’s that no person is above the law, even a former president. And, by the way, as the court said in another case, the highest office in a democracy is citizen, so they called him ‘Citizen Trump,'” Stengel continued. “So we’re only looking at these things because you have someone who basically wants to be a dictator, wants to be a king.”

“And the Supreme Court, if you’re asking me what I think they’ll do, I think they’ll weasel out of it. Because they do want the other thing that the Constitution provides us: We do want to have elections make decisions. And the question of whether the Article III is self-enforcing or not is one that they will probably weigh in on,” Stengel concluded.

Earlier in the segment, Menendez spoke with Lofgren about Tuesday’s ruling by a three-judge appeal panel that determined presidential immunity will not apply to the legal cases against Trump.

Lofgren told Menendez that based on what the Jan. 6 committee found, she wasn’t surprised by the result. She described the judges’ opinion as “carefully crafted” and said that it “comes to the logical conclusion that the ex-president is not above the law, and when he broke the law, he can be held accountable criminally.”

“We understood that,” Lofgren continued, “that’s why we voted unanimously to refer Trump to the Department of Justice for prosecution for a variety of criminal acts.”

Watch the full “Deadline” segment in the video above.

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