Trump claims a president's 'complete power to pardon'

USA TODAY - A combative President Trump, reflecting growing pressure from the FBI's investigation of possible Russian ties to the campaign, issued a tweetstorm on Saturday claiming a president has the "complete power to pardon."

In his first tweet-o-rama since naming new Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci, Trump also railed against "illegal" leaks from the "Amazon Washington Post,' which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, called for legal action against Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey and declared ObamaCare "dead."

The 10-tweet blasts over a two-hour period began at 6:33 a.m. with a tweet complaining about an "intelligence leak" from The Washington Post about Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding the purported contents of his meeting with the Russian ambassador, based on U.S. communication intercepts. Tweets Trump: "These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!"

He also blasted the "Failing New York Times," the same newspaper to which he gave an expansive, exclusive interview earlier in the week, for what he said was foiling an attempt to kill Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State.

Only one tweet was benign, regarding his planned visit Saturday to Norfolk, Va., to commission the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

Most, however, were tied to the investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, particularly an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Front and center was a tweet following in the wake of reports by the Times and the Post that his legal team is looking into what a president can legally do regarding pardons for his family, associates and even himself.

While legal experts say the extent of a president to pardon himself is not clear cut, Trump begs to differ: "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."

Also foreshadowing the week ahead, when his son, Donald Trump, Jr., has been invited to meet with a Congressional investigators regarding his meeting with a Russian lawyer, Trump said his son "openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails.!"

He also leaned on a familiar device of claiming broad support for his views in saying that, "So many people are asking why isn't the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted? "

Finally, with the fate of TrumpCare hanging on a procedural vote Monday in the Senate, Trump finished off the tweet blast by stepping the pressure on the Republicans:

— "The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!"

Then, this:

— "ObamaCare is dead and the Democrats are obstructionists, no ideas or votes, only obstruction. It is solely up to the 52 Republican Senators!"

Copyright 2017 USA TODAY


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