Preet Bharara says Trump pardoning himself would be 'almost self-executing impeachment'

Glen Norman
June 4, 2018

Giuliani's comments follow the publication of 20-page letter from Trump's legal team to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the federal Russian Federation investigation.

The assertion by President Trump's lawyers that he can not obstruct justice because he has absolute authority over all federal investigations is legally problematic, analysts say, because it would essentially mean the nation's commander in chief is above the law.

Donald Trump probably has the power to pardon himself in the Russian Federation collusion affair but does not intend to do so, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani says. Some across social media find Rudy Giuliani's comments when asked about President Trump's strategies questionable as many feel he shows less support for Trump and more for Democrats by his answers. I think it would probably get answered by gosh, that's what the Constitution says, and if you want to change it, change it.

In an interview with CNN Sunday, former US attorney Preet Bharara said Trump would be wise to cooperate and let the investigation play out.

"The president of the United States pardoning himself is would probably lead to immediate impeachment", he said.

That memo, first reported by the New York Times, also asserted that a president has full power over Justice Department investigations and therefore can not be charged with obstruction of justice. Could he self-pardon for "all prior federal crimes", including things like tax evasion, and continue doing so each morning for the rest of his tenure in office?

This is not the first time the issue of the president's ability to pardon himself has come up. This fact is coupled with a legal protection that makes the president not readily available to be interviewed unless the information can not be obtained by any other means.

"I don't know how you can indict while he's in office", he added.

Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump.

Under the Constitution, a president can be impeached by the House of Representatives and then removed from office by the Senate.

"The whole switch in public opinion that has been on the President's side", Giuliani said, "would probably shift back". Critics accused Trump of subverting the rule of law. The president's lawyers fear an interview could lead to Trump inadvertently, and they say innocently, committing perjury.

These are interesting legal questions. I spent a moment wondering, but in the end I think they didn't mean this the way it sounds.

Jed Shugerman, a Fordham University Law School professor, said raising the idea of pardons could be read as a warning to Mueller that if he pushes to subpoena Trump, the president could escalate the fight by pardoning people under investigation. The memo also hinted that the president could have the power to pardon himself if convicted of wrongdoing. "President Trump has no need to do that".

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