Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Rudy Giuliani: Trump ‘probably’ has the power to pardon himself

Rudy Giuliani: Trump ‘probably’ has the power to pardon himself

US President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani said on Sunday the president probably has the power to pardon himself but does not plan to do so.

When asked by NBC's Chuck Todd whether he was asserting that the President has the power to end "any federal investigation", Giuliani replied "Yeah, that is pretty clear".

When asked whether Trump has the power to pardon himself, Giuliani replied, "he probably does". But he would likely be impeached, Giuliani said.

"I actually think he's probably right", Samuel Morison, a lawyer who formerly worked in the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney, told the New York Post.

The topic came up Sunday as Giuliani spoke with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" as the pair discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of possible collusion between Trump and Russian Federation to impact the 2016 presidential race.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said he believed the president has the authority to pardon himself, and using pardons as a piece of an obstruction case might be problematic "because the nature of the act is to bar prosecutions or set aside convictions".

With regard to the president himself, the special counsel shifted focus from investigating collusion to an inquiry into whether Trump obstructed justice in several steps he took as president.

Giuliani also defended the legal letter's broad claims about the president's power over the investigation itself Sunday, describing the U.S. Department of Justice as a "creature of the president".

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In it they say he has absolute power as U.S. legal chief to end investigations, or "even exercise his power to pardon".

First, it argues that the president has already allowed the Special Counsel to have many documents and interview White House staff, and that "i$3 n light of these voluntary offerings, your office clearly lacks the requisite need to personally interview the President".

The Constitution, in Article II, states that the president "shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States".

In reality, the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 to determine if Trump campaign associates were coordinating with Russian Federation to tip the election.

Although Giuliani said a decision about whether the president will voluntarily sit for an interview with Mueller's team would not be made until after a planned June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he said "we're leaning toward not" doing it.

President Donald Trump's lawyers have made a bold assertion of presidential power. In other words, even if the president fired Comey (or Mueller) exclusively to protect himself from criminal liability, it's all perfectly legitimate.

Trump's legal team has long pushed the special counsel to narrow the scope of its interview. Sessions recused himself because of his role within the Trump campaign.

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