Speaker of the House Paul Ryan does not believe the president should pardon himself in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election, adding to a growing list of congressmen who believe the president would be mistaken.
“I don’t know the technical answer to that question, but I think obviously the answer is he shouldn’t. And no one is above the law,” Ryan told reporters at the Capitol Wednesday.
The New York Times reported June 2 that the president’s legal team is floating the possibility that he might invoke executive privilege to avoid a grand jury subpoena in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (RELATED: REPORT: Trump’s Legal Team Used Executive Privilege Card To Avoid Mueller Subpoena)
The report sparked an immediate legal controversy as to whether or not the president has the power to pardon himself, with legal scholars, members of Congress and media pundits weighing in on the issue.
The president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said June 3 that the U.S. Constitution does not forbid the president from pardoning himself. (RELATED: Giuliani Says Trump Can Pardon Himself)
“He’s not, but he probably does” Giuliani told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos as to whether or not the president can pardon himself. “He has no intention of pardoning himself, but that doesn’t say he can’t.”
“That’s what the Constitution says, and if you want to change it, change it,” Giuliani said.
Former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie said June 3 that he thinks the president will not pardon himself in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“There is no way that will happen. And the reason it won’t is because it then because a political problem, George. If the president were to pardon himself, he’d get impeached,” Christie told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning.
The president followed up the weekend takes with a statement claiming he does, in fact, have the power to pardon himself.
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
“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!” the president tweeted Monday.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said Monday that if he were president and his lawyers advised he could pardon himself in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, he would find new legal representation.
“If I were president of the United States and I had a lawyer that said I could pardon myself, I think I would hire a new lawyer,” Grassley told reporters Monday.
Other senators, like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is notably a Constitutional scholar, have said they haven’t studied the relevant legal questions. (RELATED: Cruz Lays Out Case For Trump Self-Pardon)
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