US President Donald Trump, currently facing a probe over involvement of Russia in the 2016 US elections, has asserted that he has “absolute right to pardon” himself. However, the US President has also said that he doesn’t need to exercise his right as he has “done nothing wrong”.
Taking to microblogging site Twitter on Monday evening, Trump said, “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!”
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
The statement by the US President comes a day after his attorney Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday that Trump probably has the power to pardon himself but has no plans to execute the same. Giuliani said that Trump "has no intention of pardoning himself," but that the US Constitution, which gives a president the authority to issue pardons, "doesn't say he can't."
Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently conducting an investigation into whether Russia meddled in the presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow. Mueller, whose investigation already has led to criminal charges against Trump campaign aides including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is also looking into whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.
Both Russia and Trump have, however, denied any collusion during the US Presidential elections, and the president has denied obstructing the probe.
The possibility of a self-pardon appeared to be raised in a letter dated January 29 from the US President's lawyers to Mueller, published by the New York Times on Saturday. The letter argues that the US President could not have obstructed the probe given the powers granted to him by the Constitution.
"It remains our position that the President`s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired," Trump's lawyers wrote in the letter.
(With Reuters inputs)