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Donald Trump's lawyer has claimed the USA president "probably" has the power to pardon himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Bharara's comments came in response to an earlier statement made by Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in which the attorney said the president has the power to pardon himself. "Pardoning yourself is another", Giuliani said on ABC's "This Week". "I think it would probably get answered by, gosh, that's what the constitution says".

But the president's powers are expansive, and many questions remain about how Trump's office could protect him from the special counsel investigation examining whether his campaign coordinated with Russian Federation to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The question of self-pardon arose after the New York Times published a letter to the counsel from Mr Trump's lawyers.

Speaking on CNN, former U.S. attorney Pretty Bharara said: "It would be outrageous" for a sitting president to pardon himself.

A special counsel is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election, and whether Mr Trump obstructed justice.

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Although Giuliani said a decision about whether the president will voluntarily sit for an interview with Mueller's team would not be made until after a planned June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, he said "we're leaning toward not" doing it. The "Justice Department is given a tremendous amount of independence". Giuliani based that claim on his reading of the Constitution, and the fact that the Attorney General is appointed by the President (though AG Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation).

He added it would probably lead to an immediate impeachment. But Mueller could lay out his findings in a report that could eventually be turned over to Congress, where lawmakers could, if they decided there was wrongdoing by Trump, pursue his impeachment. "If the president were to pardon himself, he'll get impeached".

"It could lead to impeachment, if he terminated an investigation of himself", Giuliani said in a separate interview on NBC's "Meet the Press". Now he said he is not sure when it will end because Mueller is taking too long and not turning over material to Giuliani ― such as a report of what was learned from an Federal Bureau of Investigation informant who made contact with several members of the Trump campaign with links to Russian Federation.

Giuliani was not part of Trump's legal team when the letter was written, he said he stands by most of it. They said that while the courts might ultimately limit what the president could be asked, it was unlikely they would agree with the president's legal interpretation that he cannot obstruct justice.

"I think Jay was wrong". "I'm not billing by the hour, otherwise I could tell you exactly", he joked about the case he has taken on for free.


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