News and Commentary

Trump: ‘I Have The Absolute Right To PARDON Myself’

President Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning to unequivocally assert that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself should Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt” attempt to bring charges against him. But, the president added, he shouldn’t have to because he’s done “nothing wrong.”

“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” said Trump. “In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”

Trump’s comments were in part prompted by the publication by The New York Times of a confidential letter sent by the president’s lawyers in January to Mueller arguing that the president’s broad executive authority means he cannot be charged with obstruction of justice. The Times reports:

President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.

In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

On Sunday, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani told ABC’s “This Week” that he thinks Trump “probably does” have the power to pardon himself.

“He probably does,” Giuliani told host George Stephanopoulis on Sunday. “He has no intention of pardoning himself but he probably — not to say he can’t. I mean, that — that’s another really interesting constitutional argument, can the president pardon himself? It would be an open question. I think it would probably get answered, by gosh, that’s what the constitution says and if you want to change it, change it. But yes.”

Though Giuliani expressed confidence that Trump could “probably” do it, he admitted that the “political ramifications” of doing so would be “tough.”

“Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another,” he said. “Other presidents have pardoned people in circumstances like this both — both in their administration and sometimes the next president, even of a different party will come along and pardon.”

Related: Rudy Giuliani Thinks President Trump ‘Probably’ Can Pardon Himself