Ryan warns Trump against pardoning himself

Schaff for The New York Times

Schaff for The New York Times

"I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate, but we have more digging to do", Ryan said.

Trump made the pardon assertion in a series of Twitter posts on Monday in which he again criticized Mueller's criminal investigation, which has been going on for just over a year, of whether his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russian Federation to sway the election in his favor and whether there has been any subsequent obstruction of justice.

Ryan also said that even if Trump has the legal authority to pardon himself, that's not something he should do because "no one is above the law".

Ryan said earlier that he agreed with GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy's assessment that there was no evidence to support the commander-in-chief's "SPYGATE" claims. That's according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump has claimed that a spy was planted in his campaign to help his Democratic opponent. The official declined to be named because the briefings are classified.

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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". After Ryan's remarks, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr - who was briefed with Ryan and other top lawmakers on the informant last month - said Gowdy's analysis was correct.

The Justice Department on Thursday offered lawmakers an additional classified briefing about the FBI's use of a confidential informant during its investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

His comments prompted a wave of push back from Trump allies, including the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who called him "uninformed". "If we got all the information we were looking for, we could wrap this up faster". In a joint statement, the four Democrats who attended said "there is no evidence to support any allegation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any intelligence agency placed a "spy" in the Trump Campaign, or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols". "But I think obviously the answer is, he shouldn't and no one is above the law".

"You've just confirmed whatever Republican leaders say you believe". He demanded a Justice Department inquiry of the matter and dubbed the matter "SPYGATE" in repeated posts on Twitter.

Trump recently said he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself if it were necessary - which Trump says it won't be, because "I have done nothing wrong".

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