President Donald Trump claimed Monday that he had the right to pardon himself but wouldn’t do so because he had “done nothing wrong.”
“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?” he tweeted.
“In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” he added, referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump added falsely that the “the appointment of the Special Councel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!,” misspelling the word “counsel.” (The appointment of a special counsel by the Justice Department — as Mueller was — or Congress is perfectly legal.)
The appointment of the Special Councel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
The tweets came less than 24 hours after Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for the president, said that while Trump’s broad constitutional powers included the authority to end that investigation and pardon himself, he would be unlikely to do either because both would create a path to impeachment.
“The president of the United States pardoning himself would just be unthinkable. And it would lead to probably an immediate impeachment,” Giuliani said. “President Trump has no need to do that. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
But Giuliani — whose comments represented an extension of a legal argument outlined in a 20-page memo that Trump’s legal team sent Mueller and was leaked to the press over the weekend — also said that Trump could pardon himself if he wanted to.
“Nothing limits the presidential pardon,” he said.
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, whom Trump fired last year, dared the president to make good on his claim.
“Do it,” Bharara wrote.