Washington, US President Donald Trump probably has the power to pardon himself in the Russia collusion affair but does not intend to do so, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani has said.
A special counsel is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election, and whether Trump obstructed justice.
The question of self-pardon arose after the New York Times published a letter to the counsel from Trump’s lawyers, BBC reported on Sunday.
In it they say he has absolute power as US legal chief to end investigations, or “even exercise his power to pardon”.
Such absolute powers, they argue, mean that he could not have obstructed justice in any case.
He appeared on ABC’s This Week programme and was asked whether Mr Trump had the power to pardon himself.
Giuliani, the head of Trump’s legal team, said he “probably does”, but added: “He has no intention of pardoning himself.”
He went on: “I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another.”
Speaking on CNN on Sunday, House Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that no president should pardon himself.
It all stems from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged collusion between the Trump team and Russian officials in the election campaign that brought the president to power.
Trump has always maintained there was no collusion and that the investigation is a “witch hunt”.
Part of Mueller’s investigation is looking at whether Mr Trump sought to criminally obstruct it, in particular with the sacking of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI director James Comey, and with his reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the investigation.