Can Trump constitutionally forgive himself

"Untouchable" Trump: may he shoot someone without consequences?

Can the President even shoot someone? Trump's lawyers have recently claimed that his power protects him from investigation. Behind this is a strategy that has worked before.

After Richard Nixon was chased from office over the Watergate affair, he summed up his view of his power as US president in one sentence. "If the president does something, it means it's not illegal."

This sentence is not missing in any book on American contemporary history. Mostly it serves the purpose of showing how far a president can move away from the established system of separation and entanglement of powers.

Now, forty years later, Donald Trump is bringing the ideas behind that phrase back to the White House.

Trump and his lawyers are firing from all the pipes with a message: The power of the president is virtually infinite and excludes him from prosecution. With this they want to protect him from special investigator Robert Mueller.

Can Trump pardon himself?

The latest volte is that Donald Trump could pardon himself if necessary. First she brought Rudy Giuliani, the US President's lawyer, into conversation at the weekend, then Trump himself followed suit on Monday. He has the "absolute right to pardon myself", but of course he has not been guilty of anything. Shortly afterwards he called the special investigation against him "unconstitutional".

For a year the special investigation by ex-FBI boss Robert Mueller against Trump because of possible cooperation with Russia and allegations to hinder the work of the judiciary. Trump himself should still be heard and numerous contradictions of the president should be examined.

And while the investigation was grudgingly running in the first few months in the hope that the whole thing could be over quickly, in the past few months, the closer a possible statement comes, another course has prevailed: Trump tries to investigate to discredit as politically motivated and now he and his lawyers are additionally relying on legal discrediting by portraying Trump as immune.

It is doubtful that Trump invokes "numerous constitutional researchers" for the alleged power to self-pardon. A majority reject the construct. However, the question has not been decided by a judge.

"He could have shot Comey too"

Lawyer Giuliani does not care, he has long been fired from all pipes: Trump could not be charged as president, his old companion emphasizes particularly often these days. To underline his point, Giuliani took this picture: Trump was not only allowed to fire Comey, he could also have shot him in the Oval Office without fear of being charged, he told the "Huffington Post". Only when the president has been removed from office can he be charged.

Comey's case is at the center because it could provide an indication that Trump may have hampered the work of the judiciary. But Trump's lawyers have already found an answer to this, as can be inferred from a letter to special investigator Mueller that the "New York Times" published over the weekend.

Trump could not hinder the work of the judiciary at all because he himself was the top judicial officer in the republic, it is said accordingly. Accordingly, he could fire all subordinates without being accountable. So far, the highest judicial officer has been the "attorney general", Minister of Justice and Attorney General in personal union, but so be it.

If one follows the argument, this would mean: Even if the investigators could prove to Trump that he had fired Comey in order to get rid of the Russia investigation, it would not matter.

The strategy with the "witch hunt"

The new reference to the president's quasi-untouchability now appears publicly alongside the discrediting of the special investigations as a political maneuver by Trump opponents. Trump has been talking and tweeting about a witch hunt for months, and the White House spokeswoman has also used the term. The two also claim that it has been proven that there was no illegal cooperation with Russia.

Repeating these terms like a prayer wheel has consequences. More and more Trump supporters are adopting these categories. In an "Economist" poll in May, 75 percent of Republicans also described the special investigation as a "witch hunt". 61 percent even said that the FBI wanted to blame Trump for something.

The poll is just one of several that show the following development: The majority of Trump's supporters will at some point take over his remarks against the FBI and special investigators. If he repeats the interpretation often enough that investigations cannot harm the president, he should hope for a similar effect.