Trump says has power to pardon himself; critics disagree

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Mr. Trump's team has requested a briefing about the informant, but Giuliani said Sunday that the president would not order the Justice Department to comply because it would negatively affect public opinion.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to the Trump legal team, told ABC's "This Week" that a president "probably does" have the power to pardon himself, even while he insisted that Trump had no intention of doing so.

It's likely that Trump pardoning himself would come across as unethical to the majority of Americans who do support the investigation.

Trump's assessment of his pardon powers echoed that of his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who offered an expansive view of the president's executive powers during a series of interviews Sunday, arguing that Trump probably has the ability to pardon himself.

In a subsequent tweet, the president attacked the legality of a special counsel all together.

A digital billboard appears in Times Square on November 21, 2017 in NY, funded by Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmentalist and Democrat, urging the impeachment of US President Donald Trump.

Trump's lawyers sent the letter as part of a broader argument that the President should not have to sit down with the special counsel.

Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor at The George Washington University, said that while executing a self-pardon would be an "ignoble and self-defeating act", nothing in the constitution explicitly bars the president from pardoning himself.

He quoted conservative Fox News analyst Jesse Watters as saying, "The only thing Trump obstructed was Hillary getting to the White House". Giuliani further acknowledged that halting Mueller's investigation would have huge political consequences, and "could lead to impeachment", because it would leave Congress and the courts the only formal check on presidential power.

He described the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling as a "witch hunt".

"In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted". "I don't know how you can indict while he's in office - no matter what it is".

Even if it is granted that Trump possesses the authority to do so, pardoning himself would not protect him from impeachment, and could even be cited as cause in articles of impeachment. Trump wrote on Twitter.

And if Trump, he concludes, "really does have the power to just make anyone's legal trouble go away because he happens to feel like it, then we're all in a world of trouble". The foundation of America is that no person is above the law.

The former USA attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said that if Trump pardoned himself, it would be a "self-executing impeachment". "I don't think a president should pardon themselves".

The president also tweeted Monday morning about trade, asserting that Canada has "all sorts of trade barriers" on United States agricultural products.

There does seem to be an interesting loophole a president could use to receive a pardon and remain in office.