Trump stated in front of television cameras that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself, but since a pardon requires an admission of guilt and self-pardon will be self-impeachment.
Trump said, “I never want anybody to be above the law. The pardons are a very positive thing for a president. I think you see the way I’m using them. I have an absolute right to pardon myself but I’ll never have to do it because I didn’t do anything wrong. Everybody knows it. There’s been no collusion. There’s been no obstruction. It’s all made up fantasy. It’s a witch hunt.”
As Preet Bharara said on CNN, “I think it would be outrageous for a sitting President Of The United States. 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 a minor legal argument that some law professor in some legal journal could make, that is not what the framers could have intended. That’s not what I think the American people would stand for. The second thing is when Rudy Giuliani says, and I hate to keep harping on this point, Rudy, just like Jay Sekulow keeps coming up with things that end up being false. When he says, the president is not contemplating something I have no faith in that whatsoever.”
A pardon requires an admission of guilt
A person can’t be pardoned if they have done nothing wrong. If Trump were to pardon himself for obstruction of justice he would be admitting that he obstructed justice. Congress would have no choice but to impeach him. The pardon is not a get out of jail free card. Legally the president can’t pardon himself according to the Department of Justice, but if Trump tried, he would be impeached.
Trump is trying to redefine the pardon, and if he sticks to this definition, it will lead to him becoming the first president to impeach himself.
For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.