Former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara responded to the claim made by Trump lawyer Rudy Guiliani, another former U.S. attorney in the same district, that the president can “probably” pardon himself.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Bharara called the idea “outrageous” and said he didn’t believe Giuliani when he claimed that Trump wasn’t planning on pardoning himself.
“I think (if) the President decided he was going to pardon himself, I think that’s almost self-executing impeachment,” Bharara said. “Whether or not there is a minor legal argument that some law professor somewhere in a legal journal can make that the President can pardon, that’s not what the framers could have intended. That’s not what the American people, I think, would be able to stand for.”
Bharara’s comments on the statement by former New York Mayor-turned defense attorney for the president comes a day after The New York Times published a leaked letter from Trump’s previous legal team that made an equally audacious claim that the president simply cannot obstruct justice because of his constitutional oversight over the federal justice system.
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Bharara, a CNN legal analyst, criticized the credibility of Trump’s legal defenders.
“Rudy, just like Jay Sekulow, keeps coming up with things that end up being false. When he says the President is not contemplating something, I have no faith in that whatsoever,” he said.
He went on to cite Sekulow, the last remaining member of Trump’s original trio of legal representatives now that both John Dowd and Ty Cobb have resigned, for misleading the public with his comments about the response drafted aboard Air Force One when the Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and multiple members of Trump’s inner circle, including his son, Don Jr., was revealed in the press.
“Sekulow said time and time again directly into the faces of the American people on television — Sarah Huckabee Sanders did the same thing — and said in no uncertain terms, if you go back and look at the statements. There’s no wiggle room here,” Bharara said. “They said the President had nothing to do with that statement by Donald Trump Jr., and didn’t draft it, didn’t sign off on it and it turns out that is completely untrue.”
Bharara’s skepticism over the veracity of anything that the president or his legal team says is well founded in experience. He himself was asked by President Trump to stay on in his position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York when Trump was first elected, only to be summarily dismissed a few months later when Attorney General Jeff Sessions ousted all the U.S. attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration.
With Bharara in the midst of several investigations closely touching on key Trump allies and Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz telling his client that “this guy is going to get you,” it’s no question that his dismissal was politically motivated.
Luckily, Trump’s attacks on the media as “fake news” haven’t yet prevented critics like Bharara from going on TV to condemn the subversion of democracy that he and his cronies are attempting. They may be trying to rip up the Constitution, but they haven’t yet managed to subvert the Bill of Rights, despite their seemingly endless efforts.
You can see a clip of Preet Bharara’s appearance on CNN’s State of the Union in the video clip below.
"That's not what the American people, I think, would be able to stand for." Former US attorney Preet Bharara says it "would be outrageous" and "almost self-executing impeachment" for a sitting president to pardon himself. https://t.co/Ke3BZkrghS pic.twitter.com/ab3EBSx2F0
— CNN (@CNN) June 3, 2018
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