- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday that President Trump likely has the power to pardon himself under the U.S. Constitution.

The Kentucky Republican’s interpretation of the Constitution comes after the president tweeted Saturday about having the “complete power to pardon,” and after The Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump discussed pardons with his advisers.

The question about whether Mr. Trump has the authority to pardon himself is being debated as the investigation into connections between his campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election heats up.

“I think, in all likelihood, he does,” Mr. Paul said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that some of this hasn’t been adjudicated.”

Mr. Paul said he understands the president is frustrated with the constant allegations of collusion, but he cautioned him from thinking about pardoning family members or himself.

But Jay Sekulow, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, said the issue would likely end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, and he told ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos that no one from the legal team is researching pardoning powers for the president.

“The issue of pardons is not on the table. There’s nothing to pardon from,” Mr. Sekulow said Sunday. “We’re not researching it, I haven’t researched it because it’s not an issue were concerned with or dealing with.”

Mr. Trump said in one of his tweets on Saturday: “While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS”.

According to The Post report, Mr. Trump has inquired about the authority he has as president to pardon aides, relatives or even himself.

Congressional lawmakers say Mr. Trump’s eldest son and his former campaign chairman won’t be forced to testify publicly this week as part of the Russia election meddling investigation. Donald Trump Jr. and former campaign Chairman Paul Manafort are discussing undergoing a private interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, and top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, also say they are negotiating with Mr. Trump Jr. and Mr. Manafort about possibly turning over documents.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and top White House aide, is scheduled to speak behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday and the House intelligence committee on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump defended his son in one of the tweets, saying he “openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!”

Mr. Trump’s eldest son has become a focus of the investigation after it was revealed that he, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Manafort met with Russian representatives at Trump Tower in June 2016. Mr. Trump Jr. later released email exchanges concerning the meeting on Twitter, after learning that The New York Times was about to publish them.

This article includes wire service reports.

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