WASHINGTON — President Trump, ramping up his assertions of vast executive power, declared in a tweet on Monday that he had “the absolute right” to pardon himself for any crime.
While no president has ever attempted to pardon himself, and it is not clear whether Mr. Trump could legitimately take such a step, the president’s claim was the latest in an aggressive series of moves to assert his control over federal law enforcement.
Last month, Mr. Trump crossed a traditional line by ordering an investigation into the Russia investigators. And late last year he boasted he has “an absolute right to do what I want to with the Justice Department.”
The president has had help in shaping his expansive view of his vast executive power: For at least a year, his lawyers in the investigation into whether he tried to obstruct the Russia inquiry have been advising the president that he wields sweeping constitutional powers to impede investigations no matter his motive — and despite obstruction-of-justice laws that everyone else must obey.