The President made this claim on Monday, though constitutional scholars are highly divided on that assertion as it is untested by the courts.
President Donald Trump announced Monday that he has the absolute right to pardon himself, before adding that he had done nothing wrong. He further stated that the same opinion is shared by numerous legal scholars.
A few hours after this claim – which the President made via tweet – he posted another tweet claiming the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller ‘’totally unconstitutional’’. Still, he said that he would ‘’play the game’’ 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? 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 issue as to whether a President could pardon himself or not has the legal community divided from the middle.
Some of the legal scholars claim the US Constitution gives him the power to do that – as Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, gives the President the power to ‘’grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment’’.
However, the other side points to the history of the United States to rubbish this claim. For, never before has a US President invoked this clause to pardon himself. Neither Bill Clinton nor Richard Nixon – two Presidents who faced charges while in the office – invoked this clause to grant self-clemency.
Even before he posted this Tweet, the president’s legal team sent a 20-page letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in January. The letter, which NY Times report was sent in January, made the assertion that the president could even ‘’exercise his power to pardon’’.
The abovementioned tweets by the President have come just a day after one of his lawyers, Rudy Guiliani, made the same claim. While talking to Chuck Todd for ‘’Meet the Press’’, Mr. Guiliani, who is the former mayor of New York, claimed that the president could pardon himself.
However, at the same time, Guiliani warned Trump that he would likely face impeachment if he decides to pardon himself.
Trump’s Mueller Strategy has Changed
For many months after the appointment of Mr. Mueller as Special Counsel, Mr. Trump and his legal team avoided challenging him directly. His lawyers at that time had concluded that the best way to evade public criticism and bring the investigation to a fruitful end was to co-operate fully with the Special Counsel.
That strategy, however, changed at the start of this year when the president overhauled his legal team. Another factor which might have impressed upon Mr. Trump’s legal team to change their strategy is the growing murmurs that the Special Counsel is considering subpoenaing Mr. Trump for an interview.
For, if the Special Counsel is able to convince a grand jury to issue a subpoena to the President, Mr. Trump could do nothing but to appear before the Special Counsel for an interview.