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

Live updates: SpaceX attempts to launch NASA astronauts Saturday

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

At 3:22 p.m. ET today, SpaceX is expected to launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time.

Why it matters: The liftoff — should it go off without a hitch — will be the first time a private company has launched people to orbit. It will also bring crewed launches back to the U.S. for the first time in nine years, since the end of the space shuttle program.

Follow along below for live updates throughout the day...

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 5,968,693— Total deaths: 365,796 — Total recoveries — 2,520,587Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,749,846 — Total deaths: 102,900 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Economy: The future of mobility in the post-pandemic worldGeorge Floyd's killing and economic calamity are both part of America's unfinished business.
  4. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  6. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  7. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.

America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.