Donald Trump tweeted on Monday morning that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but he won’t.
Early Monday morning, Trump brought up the possibility of issuing a presidential pardon to himself but stated that there’s absolutely no need to since he’s innocent.
“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?”
Trump then went on to reference the ongoing FBI investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election – the result of which could theoretically result in criminal charges against the 45th president, and thus the need to pardon himself.
“In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”
Rudy Giuliani On Self-Pardoning
The subject of Trump being able to pardon himself once again entered the national conversation on Sunday, when Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani made the rounds of the Sunday morning news shows. As reported by the Inquisitr, Giuliani told both NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos essentially the same thing: that Trump could pardon himself, but won’t.
Giuliani, however, said that Trump wouldn’t pardon himself not because of his innocence but because doing so will almost certainly result in impeachment.
“The president of the United States pardoning himself is unthinkable… it would probably lead to immediate impeachment.”
Further, Giuliani was a little more judicious in his choice of words, indicating that Trump probably could pardon himself; as opposed to Trump’s assertion that he absolutely could pardon himself.
So, Can The President Pardon Himself?
The answer to that question relies mostly on speculation, since neither the Constitution nor case law are clear about the topic, and there’s no legal precedent.
However, the view among a couple of top legal scholars, according to a July 2017 Washington Post report, is that no, the president can’t pardon himself.
Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, cites the case of Richard Nixon. Four days before Nixon tendered his resignation letter, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel stated that a presidential self-pardon was theoretically impossible because of “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case.”
In case you were wondering, the governors of the 50 states all have the power to pardon, and at least one has tried – and succeeded – in pardoning himself. According to Newsweek, in 1911, Tennessee Governor B.W. Hooper sentenced himself to two days in prison in order to grant himself a first-hand look at conditions in the state’s prisons. He then pardoned himself the day after finishing his sentence.