President Donald Trump, who has sworn that there was no collusion between him and Russia, tweeted Monday morning the claim that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself.
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? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
His declaration comes after he’s handed down a handful of politically-charged pardons and speculated about a few more — leading some to suggest that he’s sending a message to federal prosecutors and the associates of his campaign whom they are investigating.
The President’s ability to pardon others for federal crimes is well founded. But whether the President can pardon himself is a more open question among legal scholars.
A letter written by Trump’s attorneys in January to special counsel Robert Mueller that was obtained by the New York Times over the weekend claimed that the President “could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani — who replaced Trump lawyer John Dowd, one of authors of the January letter — made similarly bombastic claims while on the Sunday show circuit this weekend.
Giuliani suggested that Trump could pardon himself but that doing so would lead to his impeachment. He also said that the president couldn’t be indicted while in office, telling the Huffington Post Sunday that if Trump “shot [former FBI Director] James Comey” he would be “impeached the next day,” but that an indictment would have to wait until after he was impeached.