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Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself

President Donald Trump speaks to the press while walking to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House Dec. 15, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 04, 2018

The President has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but he would not do so, as he has “done nothing wrong,” President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday.

“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,” Trump said.

Chatter about a Presidential pardon for himself began last week, after Trump granted a full pardon to Dinesh D’Sourza, who was convicted of campaign finance violations.

This was Trump’s fifth pardon, and he has also commuted one sentence since taking office more than a year ago. In comparison, former President Barack Obama pardoned 212 people and commuted the sentences of another 1,715 people in the eight years he was in office.

Trump has also pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court; former U.S. Navy sailor Kristian Saucier, who was convicted of unauthorized possession and retention of national defense information; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a CIA leak scandal; and Trump posthumously pardoned Jack Johnson, who was convicted in 1913 for traveling with his white girlfriend by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act, which made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.

Sholom Rubashkin, who was sentenced to 27 years in prison for bank fraud, was commuted by Trump this past December.

It was reported that the President is also considering pardons for Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Discussions began surfacing last week about whether or not Trump would later pardon others who were implicated in the ongoing Russia investigation.

The President has almost absolute power to pardon whomever he deems is appropriate. A pardon grants the person who has been convicted of a crime absolution of that conviction, as if it had never happened.

In the U.S., the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment,” according to the Constitution. It has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to include power to grant pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites and amnesties.