Former US attorney: Trump pardoning himself would be 'self-executing impeachment'

Former US attorney: Trump pardoning himself would be 'self-executing impeachment'

Preet BhararaPreetinder (Preet) Singh BhararaBudowsky: If Dems win control of Congress The Hill's Morning Report: Trump’s allies turn against him The Hill's Morning Report — Battle lines drawn as Trump and Cohen dig in MORE, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Sunday that it would almost be a “self-executing impeachment” if President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE were to pardon himself.

“I think it would be outrageous for a sitting president of the United States [to self-pardon],” Bharara told CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“I think if the president decided he was going to pardon himself, I think it is almost self-executing impeachment. Whether or not there is an argument that is not what the Framers could have intended.” 

Trump fired Bharara last year after he refused to resign from his post.

Bharara's comments came in response to an earlier statement made by Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in which the attorney said the president has the power to pardon himself.

Giuliani, appearing on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning, said Trump could pardon himself, though has no plans to do so.

ADVERTISEMENT

"He’s not, but he probably does," Giuliani, said on ABC.

"He has no intention of pardoning himself," Giuliani added. "That’s another really interesting constitutional question: Can the president pardon himself?"

"It would be an open question. I think it would probably get answered by, 'gosh that’s what the Constitution says.’ And if you want to change it, change it. But, yeah.”

Bharara’s and Giuliani's comments come after The New York Times published a confidential 20-page letter from Trump’s lawyers to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, who is leading an investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In the letter, attorneys argued that the president couldn’t have obstructed justice because he has authority over all federal investigations. Lawyers also wrote that the Constitution gives Trump the broad authority to, "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon."