Trump can probably pardon self: Giuliani

Yasmeen Abutaleb and Arshad Mohammed
Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani says the president could probably pardon himself but he won't

US President Donald Trump, under pressure from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 US election, probably has the power to pardon himself but does not plan to do so, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani says.

Asked whether Trump has the power to give himself a pardon, Giuliani said, "He's not, but he probably does."

Giuliani added that Trump "has no intention of pardoning himself" but that the US Constitution, which gives a president the authority to issue pardons, "doesn't say he can't".

Speaking on ABC's This Week program on Sunday, Giuliani added, "It would be an open question. I think it would probably get answered by, gosh, that's what the constitution says."

Mueller is investigating whether Russia meddled in the presidential election and whether Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow. Mueller, whose investigation already has led to criminal charges against Trump campaign aides including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is also looking into whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Both Russia and Trump deny collusion, and the president has denied obstructing the probe.

Giuliani noted that the political ramifications of a self-pardon could be severe. Giuliani told NBC's Meet the Press with Chuck Todd that "the president of the US pardoning himself would just be unthinkable. And it would lead to probably an immediate impeachment."

Under the constitution, a president can be impeached by the House of Representatives and then removed from office by the Senate.

Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to again rage against the FBI and Justice Department, saying he would not have hired Manafort if he had been told Manafort was already under investigation.

"As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn't the FBI or Department of 'Justice' have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign? Should have told me!" Trump tweeted.

"Paul Manafort came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time ... but we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn't have been hired!" Trump wrote, referring to former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last year.

The possibility of a self-pardon appeared to be raised in a January 29 letter from Trump's lawyers to Mueller, published by the New York Times on Saturday, arguing that the president could not have obstructed the probe given the powers granted to him by the constitution.