WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump ignited a whole new round of questions about his intentions in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation when he tweeted that he has the “absolute right to PARDON myself,” but that he wouldn’t need to do that because he has done “nothing wrong.”
Trump’s claim that he could pardon himself — something that he said was backed up by “numerous scholars” — actually is contradicted by others. A Justice Department opinion issued just days before President Richard Nixon resigned from office concluded that the president could not do so.
“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!” Trump wrote on Monday morning.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Trump’s legal team sent a 20-page letter to Mueller in January that asserted that the president had ultimate authority over the investigation and could “even exercise his power to pardon.” On Sunday, one of Trump’s lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that the president probably had such power to pardon, but would likely face impeachment if he did so.
Trump also tweeted another attack on Mueller’s authority, writing that “the appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!”