Trump is no stranger to controversy – and he’s also completely unafraid to step up and tell the rest of his government when enough is enough. His no-nonsense political style is exactly what drew most of his voters to him in the first place. Now, he’s taking that standpoint to the next level in his fight against the “expensive, wasteful” Russian collusion investigation, something he calls “a witch hunt.”
• “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” he tweeted, “but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?
• The tweet immediately raised ire from Democrats and Trump’s biggest detractors, but it appears there is precedence for such a claim. Technically, the President does have the power to pardon himself (and anyone else, for that matter), but it would be a questionable move to make.
• Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was quick to clarify that the POTUS didn’t necessarily mean he would follow through with such an action. “He probably does,” Giuliana explained, cautioning that …”he has no intention of pardoning himself.”
• Giuliana also addressed questions about the Constitution and whether self-pardoning is permitted by the POTUS currently in office. “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.”
• But the lawyer seemed to contradict himself just last Saturday, when he called Trump’s claims of self-pardoning power “unthinkable.” He also said the move would “probably” lead to “immediate impeachment.”
• Legal analysts have mixed feelings about Trump’s ability to self-pardon. No POTUS in the history of the United States has ever taken the opportunity.
• Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, specifically states “Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” This is the argument most supporters make for the POTUS’ right to pardon himself.
• But a letter from 1974, drafted during the Nixon case, creates questions. It states specifically that “no one may be a judge in his own case.” Even if the President pardoned himself, the courts could interpret the action as “acting as his own judge,” instantly opening up the floor for impeachment.