Trump Weighs In on the Idea of Pardoning Himself

He says he could have done it as president, but 'had 'no interest in even thinking about it'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2023 1:30 AM CDT

In an interview Thursday with Meet the Press that will air in full Sunday, former President Trump addressed the idea of pardoning himself should he be convicted of any crimes. Asked whether he would pardon himself were he to be re-elected in 2024, Trump gave a quite lengthy answer (watch it in full in the gallery) that can essentially be boiled down to the fact that in his final days as president, he says he was told by lawyers and others that he could pardon himself, and he told them in no uncertain terms that he would not. "I said the last thing I'd ever do is give myself a pardon," he says at one point, then "I said I would never give myself a pardon." As CNN notes, a presidential self-pardon has not yet been legally tested. And as USA Today notes, a presidential pardon would not be applicable in the state cases Trump faces, just the federal ones.

Trump also, of course, bemoaned the "thugs, horrible people, fascists, Marxists, sick people" and "sick lunatics" who, he said, are after him for purely political reasons. Had he pardoned himself before leaving office, he said, he wouldn't be facing "these fake charges, these Biden indictments. They're all Biden indictments, political. They indicted, they want to arrest, their political opponents. Only third-world countries do that, banana republics." In a follow-up, he was asked to clarify that his commitment to never pardoning himself would hold true "even if you were re-elected, in this moment." His response: "I think it's very unlikely. What, what did I do wrong? I didn't do anything wrong. You mean because I challenge an election, they want to put me in jail?" The Daily Beast's take on that is that Trump "didn't fully rule it out." (More Donald Trump stories.)

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