Trump: I have the right to pardon myself

President TrumpDonald TrumpJury in Jussie Smollett trial begins deliberations Pence says he'll 'evaluate' any requests from Jan. 6 panel Biden's drug overdose strategy pushes treatment for some, prison for others MORE on Monday said he has the right to pardon himself but insisted he has no reason to do so because he has not committed a crime, doubling down on an argument his lawyers made to the special counsel leading the Russia investigation.

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“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” the president wrote in an early morning tweet.

“In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!” 

In a subsequent tweet, the president argued the appointment of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE as special counsel “is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL” but cited no evidence to support his claim.

“The appointment of the Special Councel [sic] is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Despite that, we play the game because I, unlike the Democrats, have done nothing wrong!” he wrote. 

Trump’s statements will almost certainly inflame the debate over whether he can use his presidential powers to protect himself if Mueller accuses him of wrongdoing in the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

The question was reignited over the weekend when The New York Times published a January letter from the president’s legal team that opened the door to Trump shutting down the obstruction investigation into him or even pardoning himself.  

"He could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired," the attorneys wrote to Mueller.

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani was not a member of the team when the letter was sent, but he nonetheless agreed with the expansive view of the president’s powers shared by his predecessor, John Dowd.

Giuliani said on ABC News's “This Week” that while the president “probably” does have the power to issue himself a pardon, it would not be politically expedient.

“I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another,” the former New York City mayor said. 

The idea of a self-pardon received pushback from legal scholars and Democrats, who said it shows the president believes he is above the law. 

They fear that a string of politically tinged pardons made by Trump is a sign he could be gearing up to use clemency to shield his associates who have been indicted in the Russia probe — or even himself.

“Mr. President — you are 0 for 2 on the Constitution this morning,” tweeted Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGillibrand slams committee leadership, Pentagon for military justice reform cuts Build Back Better Is bad for the states  Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda MORE (D-N.Y.).

Some Republican allies of Trump also warned him not to pardon himself. 

“I don't think a president should pardon themselves,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyLiberals ramp up pressure on Pelosi to discipline Boebert  Cawthorn 'likely' violated rules by bringing candidate on House floor Pressley offering measure condemning Boebert MORE (R-Calif.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

Updated at 9:40 a.m.