Donald Trump insists he has ‘complete power’ to pardon
US President Donald Trump has insisted he has the “complete power” to pardon people, amid reports he is considering presidential pardons for family members, aides and even himself.
A Democratic Party spokesman has called the reports “extremely disturbing”.
The US authorities are probing possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia. Intelligence agencies think Russia tried to help Mr Trump to power.
Russia denies this, and the president says there was no collusion.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Mr Trump and his team were looking at ways to pardon people close to him.
Presidents can pardon people before guilt is established or even before the person is charged with a crime.
Describing the reports as disturbing, Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said “pardoning any individuals who may have been involved would be crossing a fundamental line”.
On Saturday, Mr Trump tweeted: “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. FAKE NEWS.”
Mr Trump also attacked “illegal leaks” following reports his attorney general discussed campaign-related matters with a Russian envoy.
The Washington Post gave an account of meetings Attorney General Jeff Sessions held with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. The newspaper quoted current and former US officials who cited intelligence intercepts of Mr Kislyak’s version of the encounter to his superiors.