On Monday morning President Trump tweeted, “…I have the absolute right to PARDON myself…” in a tirade about the Mueller investigation. The day before, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani implied that Trump couldn’t be indicted even if he had murdered James Comey. This assertion of unqualified presidential power is both wrong and dangerous. President Nixon once asked the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) whether the President could pardon himself. OLC said no. Four days later, President Nixon resigned from the presidency. We're doubtful that Trump would take that path, but by asserting the ability to pardon himself, Trump is claiming that he can violate federal law and face no legal consequences. Combined with his unwillingness to promise to accept the results of the 2016 election were he to have lost, there’s no reason to doubt that Trump might interfere with the next election, only to pardon himself if he were to win or refuse to accept the results if he were to lose. This “I’m above the law” stuff is potentially more damaging and dangerous than just about anything else Trump has said or done. In a bizarre twist, Trump even suggested NFL athletes who kneel for the anthem could recommend people they would like to see pardoned (what?!). Were we the only ones to think of that scene from Life of Brian with the Roman emperor?

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