President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday “we’re leaning toward not” sitting down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
He also said in Sunday morning talk show interviews that the president “probably does” have the authority to pardon himself, but such a move would be “unthinkable.”
Giuliani, speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” said that “the president of the United States pardoning himself would just be unthinkable. And it would lead to probably an immediate impeachment.”
Later Sunday, Giuliani said to the Huffington Post — while stressing the breadth of presidential constitutional powers — that: “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted . . . I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.”
He said that would be the case even if Trump were to shoot former FBI Director James Comey to end the Russia investigation rather than just firing him.
“If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day,” Giuliani said. “Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”
Giuliani, who also appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” discussed a possible interview with Mueller, and said, “There’s got to be a high bar they have to reach in terms of convincing us that they’re fair, convincing us that we’re going to get the things we need.”
The New York Times on Saturday reported that Trump’s legal team sent the special counsel’s office a letter in January as part of its efforts to avoid a grand jury subpoena of Trump. The president’s legal team wrote that the “President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.”
Giuliani, asked on “This Week” if the president has the power to pardon himself, said: “He probably does. . . . He has no intention of pardoning himself, but that doesn’t say he can’t. . . . I think the political ramifications of that would be tough.”
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Giuliani addressed the subject of the pardon and said Trump “has no need to do that” because he committed no wrongdoing.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, “The president is not saying he is going to pardon himself.” He added, “I don’t think a president should pardon themselves.”
Preet Bharara, the former federal prosecutor whom Trump fired last year, said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” that it would be “outrageous for a sitting president” to pardon himself. “I think if the president decided that he was going to pardon himself, I think that it is almost self-executing impeachment.”
Trump in several Sunday morning tweets, addressed Mueller’s investigation and referred to his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was indicted as part of the special counsel’s probe on charges related to work he performed for pro-Russia officials in Ukraine. Manafort was named campaign chairman in June 2016 and resigned in August of that year.
“As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of ‘Justice’ have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign? Should have told me!”
In another tweet, Trump wrote, “Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time (he represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole & many others over the years), but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!”