Giuliani said impeachment was the initial remedy for a president's illegal behavior ― even in the extreme hypothetical case of Trump having shot former FBI Director James Comey to end the Russian Federation investigation rather than just firing him. Critics accused Trump of subverting the rule of law.
WASHINGTON ― Candidate Donald Trump bragged that he could shoot someone on New York's Fifth Avenue and not lose any support, and now President Donald Trump's lawyer says Trump could shoot the Federal Bureau of Investigation director in the Oval Office and still not be prosecuted for it.
Second, even if Trump did order Comey to drop the investigation, the letter says, his defense lawyers have identified a criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1505, that couldn't have been violated because (they say, as have some courts) it doesn't apply to FBI investigations.
"The Department of Justice is a creature of the president", Giuliani said. He [has] no intention of pardoning of himself.
Speaking on CNN, former USA attorney Pretty Bharara said: "It would be outrageous" for a sitting president to pardon himself. But, Giuliani added: " I'm a lawyer ... "Pardoning other people is one thing, pardoning yourself is tough".
"I think (if) the President decided he was going to pardon himself, I think that's nearly self-executing impeachment", Bharara, a CNN legal analyst, said on CNN's "State of the Union".
Trump has not been shy about using his pardon power.
"The true extent of presidential power has not been tested because most presidents have avoided going to the outer extent of that power", Harry Sandick, a former prosecutor with the US attorney for the Southern District of NY and now a white-collar defense lawyer, said in a telephone interview. Trump, for his part, has consistently complained that Mueller's investigation is a "witch hunt".
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"As you know, and as Mr. Comey himself has acknowledged, a President can fire an FBI Director at any time and for any reason", the attorneys wrote. "That's another really interesting constitutional question: Can the president pardon himself?" he added.
The principle laid out in the letter is "a ludicrous legal theory, " said Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general who now works in private practice at Hogan Lovells.
The debate over a self-pardon has been further fueled as Trump has issued - or hinted at - a series of pardons to political allies, and done so in a way Democrats say is meant to signal his present and former aides that they need not fear resisting the Mueller probe.
"So we'll say, 'Come on, own up and make your decision", Giuliani said.
Trump can't obstruct justice, as "that would amount to him obstructing himself", Dowd and Sekulow argued.
Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chairman, faces charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent and money-laundering conspiracy and also two false-statement charges related to information he shared with the Justice Department about his Ukrainian political work.