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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

I have the power to pardon, says Trump

The U.S. president declares he has ‘complete power to pardon’

U.S. President Donald Trump made the remark in a series of tweets
U.S. President Donald Trump made the remark in a series of tweets

Donald Trump has insisted he has the power to pardon anyone, amid an ongoing investigation about his administration’s ties with Russia during his election campaign.

The U.S. president made the declaration on Saturday, as he took to Twitter to complain about his attorney general, the special counsel leading the Russia probe, and Republicans in Congress who are struggling to advance his legislative agenda.

The comment was apparently made in reference to the media, but it left many speculating whether Trump may be considering pardons for aides, family members and possibly even himself.

It came after a report in the Washington Post this week which revealed Trump and his legal team had looked into presidential pardons.

In one of his tweets posted on Saturday, Trump wrote: "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.”

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Russia's ambassador to the United States was overheard by U.S. spy agencies telling his bosses that he had discussed campaign-related matters with Trump adviser Jeff Sessions last year, when Sessions was a U.S. senator.

Sessions now leads the Justice Department as Trump's attorney general.

At the Senate confirmation hearings for his Cabinet position, Sessions initially failed to disclose his 2016 contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and later said they were not about the campaign.

Scholars have raised questions about the scope of the president's legal authority in issuing pardons. Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing by federal investigators who are probing alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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