Trump claims authority to strip constitutional citizenship from American children born to immigrants
President Donald Trump (Axios on HBO)

President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that would end birthright citizenship -- and set off a constitutional battle.

The president said he's been assured by his counsel that he has the authority to issue an executive order to remove the right to citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil, reported Axios.

"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment," Trump said. "Guess what? You don't."

The executive order would almost certainly result in a legal challenge under the 14th Amendment, which states "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

"Axios on HBO" had been working on a report for weeks about Trump's plans for birthright citizenship, based on conversations with multiple sources, and the president seemed surprised the website knew about the order.

"I didn't think anybody knew that but me," he said. "I thought I was the only one. "

Most constitutional scholars believe the president does not have the authority to change birthright citizenship, but some conservatives have argued the 14th Amendment was only intended for children born in the U.S. to lawful permanent residents.

"We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States ... with all of those benefits," Trump said. "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous -- and it has to end."