Self-par­don ‘would cause cat­a­clysm’

Wash­ing­ton’s all atwit­ter over Trump’s tweet, but his team says there’s noth­ing to for­give

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - MARK NI­QUETTE WASH­ING­TON —

U.S. Se­nate Demo­cratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would trig­ger “a cat­a­clysm” if he fires Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller or par­dons him­self, even as one of the pres­i­dent’s lawyers said par­dons aren’t be­ing dis­cussed.

Schumer said he can’t imag­ine his Repub­li­can col­leagues, in­clud­ing Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, “just stand­ing by” if Trump moves to dis­miss Mueller or par­dons him­self or some­one close to him who’s un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“It would be one of the great­est, great­est break­ing of rule of law, of tra­di­tional demo­cratic norms of what our democ­racy is about,” Schumer said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sun­day. “It would cause a cat­a­clysm in Wash­ing­ton.”

While the pres­i­dent has the con­sti­tu­tional power to grant par­dons — though the U.S. Supreme Court prob­a­bly would have to de­cide whether he could par­don him­self — his le­gal team isn’t hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with him about it, Jay Seku­low, one of Trump’s per­sonal lawyers, said on ABC.

“We’re not re­search­ing the is­sue be­cause the is­sue of par­dons is not on the ta­ble,” Seku­low said. “There’s noth­ing to par­don from.”

Trump sug­gested in an in­ter­view with the New York Times on July 19 that Mueller would cross “a red line” if he looked into those is­sues, and the pres­i­dent mentioned par­dons as part of a series of ear­ly­morn­ing Twit­ter posts on Satur­day.

“While all agree the U.S. pres­i­dent has the com­plete power to par­don, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us,” Trump told his 34.3 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter.

An­thony Scara­mucci, whom Trump named his new com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor on Fri­day, called the fo­cus on Rus­sia “overblown.” He said on “Fox News Sun­day” that the pres­i­dent brought up the is­sue of par­dons in the Oval Of­fice last week and said that he doesn’t need to use it.

“There’s no­body around him that has to be par­doned,” Scara­mucci said. “He was just mak­ing the state­ment about the power of par­dons.”

Trump “in all like­li­hood” has the power to par­don him­self, but it’s not a good idea, Repub­li­can Sen. Rand Paul of Ken­tucky said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “In a po­lit­i­cal sphere, I would cau­tion some­one to think about par­don­ing them­selves or fam­ily mem­bers,” Paul said.

Seku­low said Trump’s le­gal team hasn’t raised it with Rod Rosen­stein, the deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral who ap­pointed Mueller af­ter At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions re­cused him­self from the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We’re go­ing to be con­stantly eval­u­at­ing that sit­u­a­tion,” Seku­low said on ABC.

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