Speed Reads


The DOJ ruled 44 years ago that the president cannot pardon himself

President Trump's "numerous legal scholars" apparently aren't on the same page as the Justice Department.

Trump took to Twitter on Monday to claim his "absolute right" to grant himself a presidential pardon, though he said it would be unnecessary as he has "done nothing wrong." He cited "numerous legal scholars" to back his claim.

However, as Bloomberg reporter Steven Dennis pointed out, that wasn't the case at the end of former President Richard Nixon's time in office. "Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself," the Department of Justice declared in 1974. The DOJ spelled it out just four days before Nixon resigned, explaining that the president's pardoning power "does not extend to the president himself."

Trump's claim echoed that of his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who also said without evidence that Trump "probably" has the power to pardon himself. When Nixon was facing impeachment, however, the DOJ decided that only Congress would be allowed to grant a president a pardon in certain cases.