President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh dodged a question about presidential self-pardons during the second day of his confirmation hearings on Wednesday, sidestepping an issue Trump himself says he believes is settled.
‘It’s a hypothetical question that I can’t begin to answer in this context’ said Kavanaugh.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, asked Kavanaugh about Trump’s statement that he’s got the “absolute right” to pardon himself. Trump made that assertion June 4 in a tweet, adding, “but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”
Kavanaugh told Leahy he’d “never analyzed” the question of self-pardon. What’s more, he didn’t answer when Leahy asked if the president can pardon someone in exchange for a promise not to testify against him.
Trump reportedly sought advice on pardoning his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, while he was on trial for bank and tax fraud. But his legal team advised against it, arguing the president should at least wait until special counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.