Jun 3, 2018

Giuliani: Trump "probably" has power to pardon himself

President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani said on ABC News' "This Week" that Trump "probably does" have the power to pardon himself if special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation found him guilty of obstructing justice in the Russia probe.

He's not, but he probably does. He has no intention of pardoning himself, but that doesn't say he can't. That's really interesting constitutional argument: 'Can the president pardon himself? ... It would be an open question.
— said Giuliani, when host George Stephanopoulos asked if Trump has such authority.

The background: The comment follows a Saturday report detailing how Trump's legal team's new strategy is to argue he can't obstruct the Russia investigation because his presidential authority is so broad it makes obstruction impossible.

  • They also flirted the possibility of a legal fight over if Mueller’s team ordered Trump to answer questions.

Highlights of Giuliani’s round robin on Sunday morning talk shows:

  • On the White House's apparent shifting explanations on Trump Tower meeting: "This is the reason you don't let the president testify. Our recollection keeps changing, or we're not even asked a question and somebody makes an assumption," he said on "This Week."

Asked on "Meet the Press" if Trump can terminate any federal inquiry: "It could lead to impeachment, if he terminated an investigation of himself." But, Giuliani added there could be a constitutional argument that Trump could.

Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara quickly followed up on CNN's State of the Union saying: "I think if the president decided he was going to pardon himself, I think it is almost self-executing impeachment. Whether or not there is an argument that is not what the framers could have intended."

Go deeper

Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.