President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet today that he has the “complete” ability to pardon, according to the Huffington Post.
Trump’s pardon claim came after The Washington Post reported that he had inquired with his lawyers about how pardons work and speculation he is considering pardons for aides, his family, and even potentially himself.
It’s unclear if he actually could legally pardon himself. The Constitution’s presidential pardon provision does not explicitly ban the president from doing so. But Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic congresswoman who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal, argued in a Post op-ed this month that the president pardoning himself would undermine the entire constitution.
“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.”
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