Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took a shot at President Donald Trump on Monday over his claim that he has the power to pardon himself, arguing that doing so would be akin to treating the United States as a “monarchy.”
“If a president can pardon himself, it’s virtually a monarchy, at least as far as the president is concerned. If the presidents had the power to pardon themselves, we’d no longer be a democracy,” Schumer said from the Senate floor on Monday.
“As the Department of Justice legal counsel wrote four days before Nixon resigned, ‘Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself,'” he added.
Schumer continued his rant on the Senate floor on Tuesday, calling the president’s statement “dead wrong.”
“Despite what the president and his allies may feel about his authority or his absolution from legal repercussions, the Constitution and the founding principles of our country tell us he’s dead wrong,” he said. “Mr. President, President Trump — we are not a monarchy. You are not a king. We are a constitutional democracy, so act like it.”
Schumer was responding to a Monday morning tweet from the president which claimed he has “the absolute right” to pardon himself regarding the special counsel’s investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.
“I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Trump tweeted.
He also took aim at the special counsel, calling it “unconstitutional.”
“Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!” he said.
Former CIA Director and Trump opponent John Brennan also ripped Trump’s assertion.
“His tweets are not the tweets of an innocent individual,” Brennan told “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” on Monday.
“So I think it really demonstrates just how desperate he is getting, grasping at straws and Rudy Giuliani as well,” he continued. “Neither Rudy nor his boss feel encumbered by facts, truth, or common sense, and that’s why they’re throwing these things out now to try to get whatever traction among their base as possible.”
During an appearance on ABC News’s “This Week,” Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that the president “probably” does have the power to pardon himself, but warned of the political backlash that would likely follow.
“I think the political ramifications of that would be tough,” Giuliani said. “Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders also addressed Trump’s comments, telling reporters that “certainly, no one is above the law.”
“Thankfully, the president hasn’t done anything wrong and wouldn’t have any need for a pardon,” she said.
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