Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.) warned on Tuesday that President Donald Trump's presidency is a tyrannical one.
"We used to warn of the imperial presidency, now I must tell the folks they ought to be worried about a tyrannical one," Quigley said.
CNN host Alisyn Camerota asked Quigley about Trump's recent comments that he could pardon himself and if the Mueller investigation was closing in on Trump, causing him to act in this way.
"I think investigations also begin on the periphery, and having watched a number of these in Chicago and Illinois and nationwide, the reaction from the executive always tends to get more extraordinary as the investigation gets closer," Quigley said. "Clearly this is a time to be concerned."
Quigley said he believes the founding fathers fought for independence from a king and that they did not intend the president to be able to pardon himself.
"The founding fathers had just thrown off a tyrant, the king. There was no way in the world they intended a pardon to be something sort of get out of jail free card allowing the executive to be above the law," Quigley said. "His own ability following their extreme examples, what they're talking about is the president could take a bribe and if caught, pardon the person who offered the bribe and himself for taking it. The president could shoot someone and pardon himself immediately. This is extraordinary talk."
The Illinois Democrat concluded that Trump's reaction could be a greater threat to U.S. democracy than anything the Russians did.
"It leads further evidence that what the Russians did to begin this investigation was an attack on our democracy. I think it's important for the American public to begin to acknowledge the president's reaction probably is a greater threat long-term to our democracy than anything the Russians did," Quigley said.