Politics & Government

Trump self-pardon would 'destroy' the GOP, Graham warns

White House: President won't need to use his 'absolute power' to pardon himself

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responds to reporters' questions concerning President Donald Trump's comments that he has the right to pardon himself, repeatedly saying that he had done nothing wrong.
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White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responds to reporters' questions concerning President Donald Trump's comments that he has the right to pardon himself, repeatedly saying that he had done nothing wrong.

Sen. Lindsey Graham warned President Donald Trump on Tuesday that a self-pardon would “destroy” the Republican Party.

“The political consequences of that would be overwhelming," said Graham, R-S.C. of Trump's notion that he could pardon himself.

"It would destroy the party, it would destroy his presidency," said Graham, an attorney. “I don’t know if legally he can. I think that’d be a bad idea."

On Twitter Monday, Trump said “numerous legal scholars” backed his claim of an “absolute right” to pardon himself, though the president said he wouldn’t need to do so because he hasn’t done anything wrong.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, also a Republican, called Trump’s tweet “irrelevant."

"In this situation ... there’s no outcome that has [Trump] in the crosshairs at all, according to all that I’ve read and heard,” Scott said. “It will never be a factor.”

Graham has experience with imperiled presidents. He burst onto the national political scene in 1998 as a Republican House prosecutor in President Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceeding.

The idea of a presidential self-pardon has frustrated Republicans. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is evaluating Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election and the potential involvement of the Trump campaign.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that a Trump self-pardon was “unthinkable.”

And, Giuliani warned, “pardoning himself would … probably lead to immediate impeachment.”

Courts have not considered whether the president can pardon himself. He has the power to absolve individuals of federal crimes, but could not use a pardon to avoid impeachment proceedings..

Christine Condon: ccondon@mcclatchydc.com
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