U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday President Donald Trump should not pardon himself, weighing in on the president’s assertion that he had “absolute” power to do so.
Asked whether Trump can legally pardon himself, Ryan told reporters at the U.S. Capitol: “I don’t know the technical answer to that question but obviously he shouldn’t. No one is above the law.”
Trump made the pardon assertion in a series of Twitter posts on Monday in which he criticized federal Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal probe of whether his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election.
“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?” Trump said.
In another tweet he called Mueller’s appointment “totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”
The comment came as Mueller’s investigation, which includes possible illegal obstruction of the Russia probe by the president, has entered its second year.
Trump has denied he colluded with the Russians or obstructed justice and repeatedly calls Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt.”
Ryan, who is not seeking re-election, has avoided taking a confrontational approach with the president after having had an often-strained relationship with him.
The Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, also discouraged talk of a self-pardon by Trump on Tuesday.
“Let me just tell you that from - from my perspective - I don’t think the president needs any advice on pardoning himself,” McConnell told reporters. “He obviously knows that would not be something that he would or should do.”