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Trump claims "complete" power to pardon family, associates, and even himself
The Constitution does not explicitly prohibit the president from a self-pardon.
By Paul Pate
Contributor
Jan 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — President Trump asserted that the presidency gives him the power to officially pardon anyone in the event that the probes into his campaign and finances result in any criminal charges, Trump tweeted on Saturday. He made this claim after inquiring with his lawyers about how pardons work and whether he could pardon not only family and associates, but possibly even himself, according to the Washington Post.
Every president from Gerald Ford on has pardoned large numbers of individuals, including some close associates. But these personal pardons are usually controversial: Ford incurred a furious public backlash after pardoning his predecessor, Richard Nixon, for example. But no president in U.S. history has ever pardoned himself.
The Constitution does not explicitly prohibit the president from a self-pardon. But Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic congresswoman who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal, wrote in an op-ed this month that Trump would profoundly upend U.S. law if he went this route.
"A presidential self-pardoning power would seriously undermine the rule of law. If presidents could self-pardon, they could engage in monstrously wrongful and criminal conduct with impunity," she wrote. "That would utterly violate the framers' belief in a limited presidency and in the idea that no president is above the law."
Pardons were not the only subject that Trump brought up in his latest string of tweets. He also asked why investigators weren't looking into Hillary Clinton's past email server use insteadnotwithstanding that Congress and the FBI had spent more than a year on the case. And he took a swipe at his new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, for a 2015 news story in which he was quoted calling Trump a "hack."