Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani on Sunday argued that the President “probably” has the power to pardon himself, but said that Trump “has no intention” of doing so.
In an interview with Giuliani, ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked about a 20-page letter sent in January from members of Trump’s legal team to Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The New York Times published the letter Saturday. In it, Trump lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow argued that the President had broad executive authority to, among many other things, “terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.”
“Do you and the President’s attorneys believe the President has the power to pardon himself?” Stephanopoulos asked Sunday.
“He’s not, but he probably does,” Giuliani said. “He has no intention of pardoning himself, but he probably does. It doesn’t say he can’t. There’s another really interesting constitutional argument: Can the President pardon himself?”
“You think it’s an open question?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“It would be an open question,” Giuliani said. “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 yeah.”
“I think the political ramifications of that would be tough,” Giuliani added later. “Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another. Other presidents have pardoned people in circumstances like this, both in their administration and sometimes the next president even of a different party will come along and pardon.”
Separately, Stephanopoulos brought up the letter’s admission that Trump dictated Donald Trump Jr.’s statement to the Times in July of last year regarding the campaign-era meeting in Trump Tower with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. The Trump camp has repeatedly denied that Trump was behind his son’s initial, misleading statement.
“It’s not a very complicated thing,” Stephanopoulos said of the false claims that the President wasn’t involved in Trump Jr.’s initial statement regarding the meeting. “The President was there, he was dealing with the letter. At first it was all denied, and now you’re saying he dictated it.”
“I don’t know, and Jay [Sekulow] would have to answer that,” Giulinai said. “But I’ve talked to him about it. I think Jay was wrong.”
“This is the reason you don’t let this President testify,” he added. “Our recollection keeps changing, or we’re not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption.”