Donald Trump has not done anything wrong, so no need for pardon: White House

By: | Published: June 5, 2018 10:44 AM

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is the Special Counsel appointed by the Department of Justice to investigate into the allegation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections in Trump's favour.

Donald Trump has not done anything wrong and therefore there would be no need for a pardon, the White House has said, sidestepping questions about the US president’s remarks that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself. (Reuters)

Donald Trump has not done anything wrong and therefore there would be no need for a pardon, the White House has said, sidestepping questions about the US president’s remarks that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself. Trump yesterday said that he has absolute right to pardon himself as he slammed the opposition Democratic party for witch-hunt against him alleging that the appointment of a special counsel is unconstitutional. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is the Special Counsel appointed by the Department of Justice to investigate into the allegation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections in Trump’s favour. “Thankfully, the President has not done anything wrong and wouldn’t have any need for a pardon,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Sanders, at her daily news conference, was flooded with questions on President Trump pardoning himself, after he twitted that he had an absolute right to pardon himself. “Certainly, the Constitution very clearly lays out the law. And, once again, the President hasn’t done anything wrong, and we feel very comfortable in that front,” she said. “Certainly no one is above the law,” she added. The assumption that president has done anything wrong is incorrect, she asserted in response to another question. “It seems like it would be a completely wrong assumption. The president has not done anything wrong,” she said.

Earlier, Trump tweeted, “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?” “The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!” he added in a second tweet. It was the first time Trump asserted the power to pardon himself.

A day earlier, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had told Sunday talk shows that the president does has the power to pardon himself, but that would be politically very tough. “I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another. Other presidents have pardoned people in circumstances like this, both in their administration and sometimes the next president, even of a different party will come along and pardon,” Giuliani told ABC news.

According to The Wall Street Journal, constitutional scholars say the question of the presidential self-pardon remains unresolved. “It’s an abuse of the pardon power for the president to self-pardon. It violates constitutional prohibitions on self-dealing, and if you use the pardon power to eviscerate checks on the presidency, that’s also an abuse of the pardon power,” Gillian Metzger, a constitutional-law scholar at Columbia University told the daily.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, slammed Trump for such a tweet, asserting that the president has no such power. “This morning, the president tweeted that he “has the absolute right to pardon himself” and that “the appointment of the special counsel is totally unconstitutional.” President Trump, you went 0 for 2 on the Constitution this morning,” Schumer said on the Senate floor yesterday afternoon. “First, of course, no president has the power to pardon himself or herself. If they did, the presidency would function above and outside the law, counter to the very founding principles of our country — that we don’t have a king. We are a nation of laws, not men.

That’s what the Founding Fathers created America all about, they didn’t like the monarchies, but if a president can pardon himself, it’s virtually a monarchy, at least as far as the president’s concerned. If presidents had the power to pardon themselves, we’d no longer be a democracy,” Schumer said.

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