Trump asserts ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself

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U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about his recent trip to Asia in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump on Monday asserted an “absolute right” to pardon himself, once again lashing out at a probe into possible collusion with Russian election meddling and obstruction of justice.

“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?” he said on Twitter.

“In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”

It was believed to be the first time Trump himself has asserted the power, although his lawyers have taken expansive views of the president’s prerogatives, including the right to pardon.

A Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, argued on Sunday that the president “probably” had the power to pardon himself, but doing so would have “tough” political ramifications.

In a letter to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Russia meddling, the president’s lawyers argued in January that Trump “could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.”

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