Conservative group Republicans for the Rule of Law (RRL) released two new advertisements on Monday highlighting how President Donald Trump has allegedly attempted to avoid all forms of oversight.
The group’s latest videos, which ran on Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity, come ahead of Tuesday’s oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court which could determine if Trump could be indicted for crimes while in office. Trump’s legal team argues that the president cannot be investigated for wrongdoings while he is in office.
In the case of Trump v. Vance, SCOTUS will hear arguments about whether a subpoena for Trump’s tax records and financial papers from roughly a 10-year period constitutes a violation of Article II of the U.S. Constitution. While Article II does grant executive powers to the president, Trump claimed in June 2019 that the clause meant “I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”
“At its core, our Constitution relies on the fundamental principle of checks and balances,” RRL Chief of Communications Carson Putnam and Protect Democracy Policy Advocate Justin Vail said in a joint statement on Monday. “Neither the president, nor Congress, nor the courts can have unlimited power. But President Trump blatantly flouts that notion, abusing his power and then playing a dangerous shell game to avoid any accountability.”
“Tomorrow President Trump’s attorneys will tell the Supreme Court that the president is immune from all accountability,” they added. “The Supreme Court—and we the people—must defend the future of our democracy and reject the President’s extreme arguments.”
One animated video depicts Trump as a king instead of a president as a voiceover intones, “No one is above the law and no one gets special treatment. Not even the President.”
In a separate video, former Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman says “if a president is deemed to be above the law, that no one can hold him accountable, then we’re in a very dangerous position because that means a president can do whatever they want.”
“His lawyer actually said in court that the rule they’re looking for in the Vance case that would enforce the principle that the president, even if he shot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue, he could not be held accountable for it while he’s president,” Donald Ayer, who served as U.S. Deputy Attorney General during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, told Newsweek on Monday. “Now, he could be after, but he couldn’t be prosecuted for that conduct in state court and that is just not the law.”
Trump has alleged that under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, he has complete immunity and cannot be the subject of any criminal investigations.
According to Ayer, Trump is the only president to attempt to use that argument. “There aren’t any other major Supreme Court cases on the subject relating to a president on this subject,” Ayer said, “so I don’t think someone else has tried to do that.”