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President Trump Defends His Power to Pardon Individuals -- Update

22 Jul 2017 3:59 pm
By Michael C. Bender 

President Donald Trump defended his "complete power to pardon" individuals who may be guilty of a federal offense, but said Saturday that the "only crime so far" has been leaks of sensitive information.

Mr. Trump made his statements in a whirlwind of early morning posts on Twitter, in which he also blamed Democrats for the failure of health-care legislation to move through the Republican-controlled Senate and pressed GOP lawmakers to pass a bill.

"The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace," Mr. Trump said.

The president also noted his only scheduled public event for the day, his trip to Norfolk, Va., to commission the U.S.S. Gerald Ford aircraft carrier.

His tweet on presidential pardon power came two days after the Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump has been asking advisers about his authority to pardon aides, family members and even himself amid a probe into Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 election and whether his team was involved.

"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," Mr. Trump wrote.

John Dowd, one of the main attorneys representing Mr. Trump in the probe, has disputed the Post's report, saying it wasn't true.

Mr. Trump has said there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia, and has called questions about campaign associates' Russia ties a "witch hunt." The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election but Moscow has denied any interference.

Write to Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 22, 2017 11:59 ET (15:59 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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