News

Law & the Courts

Trump Says Mueller Appointment Was Unconstitutional, Claims He Can Pardon Himself

Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill in 2006 (Jason Reed/Reuters)

President Trump employed a novel tactic in attacking special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election Monday, calling the very appointment of a special counsel “totally unconstitutional.”

In an earlier tweet, Trump claimed the authority to pardon himself should he be indicted.

Trump’s brash assertion of presidential authority comes one day after his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said that he “could have shot” former FBI director James Comey — rather than firing him — and could not be prosecuted for the murder while in office.

“In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” Giuliani told HuffPost Sunday. “I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.”

Since joining Trump’s legal team, Giuliani has aggressively defended an extremely broad interpretation of executive power, repeatedly insisting that Trump — regardless of the circumstances surrounding his firing of Comey — could not possibly have obstructed justice because of his position as the chief executive.

That expansive interpretation of Trump’s authority was articulated in a 20-page letter sent to the special counsel by former White House attorneys Jay Sekulow and John Dowd, who was later replaced by Giuliani.

“He could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired,” read the letter, which was obtained by the New York Times.

The letter also revealed that Trump “dictated” the public statement released by his son, Donald Trump Jr., after news emerged of his meeting with a Russian attorney at Trump Tower in June 2016.

That admission contradicted multiple official White House and Trump legal team statements indicating that Trump was not involved in crafting the statement, which came under scrutiny after emails revealed that Trump Jr. attended the meeting to obtain damaging information about then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani explained that “our recollection keeps changing,” when confronted about the discrepancy Sunday.

Most Popular

Immigration

Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist

The political philosopher Michael Oakeshott said that the “rationalist” is hopelessly lost in ideology, captivated by the world of self-contained coherence he has woven from strands of human experience. He concocts a narrative about narratives, a story about stories, and adheres to the “large outline which ... Read More
Immigration

What the Viral Border-Patrol Video Leaves Out

In an attempt to justify Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s absurd comparison of American detention facilities to Holocaust-era concentration camps, many figures within the media have shared a viral video clip of a legal hearing in which a Department of Justice attorney debates a panel of judges as to what constitutes ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pro-Abortion Nonsense from John Irving

The novelist has put up a lot of easy targets in his New York Times op-ed. I am going to take aim at six of his points, starting with his strongest one. First: Irving asserts that abortion was legal in our country from Puritan times until the 1840s, at least before “quickening.” That’s an overstatement. ... Read More
Film & TV

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished Up

I  like Adam Sandler, and yet you may share the sense of trepidation I get when I see that another of his movies is out. He made some very funny manboy comedies (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy) followed by some not-so-funny manboy comedies, and when he went dark, in Reign over Me and Funny People, ... Read More