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Late-night hosts on Monday night pounced on President Donald Trump’s latest incendiary morning tweet, in which he said that he has “the absolute right to PARDON myself” if he was found guilty of offenses against the United States.
On Monday, Trump tweeted, “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? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”
The tweet followed a story in The New York Times on Saturday that published Trump lawyers’ confidential memo to Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. In the memo, lawyers argued that Trump could not have obstructed justice because the Constitution enables him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
The presidential pardon, a power outlined in the Constitution’s Article II, Section 2, says the president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” A president has never before pardoned himself.
On Monday night’s Late Night, Stephen Colbert read Trump’s tweet aloud then joked, “Oh, I love riddles. I know this one: It’s because if you bring the grain over the river first, the fox will collude with the Russians to get the chicken.” He added, “But why are you bringing it up if you’re not going to do it? It’s like a surgeon saying, ‘It’s just a routine appendectomy, but I could kill you at any time. But why would I do that? Okay, now count backwards from 10.'”
On The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, the host compared Trump pardoning himself to a particular personal sexual act. “A guy from my high school claimed he could pardon himself, but everyone said he would have to have a rib removed so he could do it,” Klepper said.
Also on Comedy Central, The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah said that Trump’s invocation of his executive powers “makes sense.” “I mean, we already know when the founders were like, ‘You know what America needs? A king!'” he said.
Responding to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s argument that Trump would be too busy to testify even if he were indicted, Noah joked, “The dude has spent 600 days of his 500 days playing golf, are you serious?”
In his opening monologue on Live! on Monday, Jimmy Kimmel also threw in a jab at the president’s tweet. “Definitely the kind of thing that people who are not guilty would say,” he said.
And over on TBS, Conan host Conan O’Brien joked of the tweet, “The latest rumor in Washington is that President Trump could decide to pardon himself. This would be completely constitutional, according to Trump’s new Supreme Court Justice Donald Trump.”
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