Trump: 'I could have pardoned myself' but didn’t because 'it would look terrible'

Trump: 'I could have pardoned myself' but didn’t because 'it would look terrible'
PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 22: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at the Phoenix Convention Center during a rally on August 22, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. An earlier statement by the president that he was considering a pardon for Joe Arpaio,, the former sheriff of Maricopa County who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for defying a court order in a case involving racial profiling, has angered Latinos and immigrant rights advocates. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images).

Former President Donald Trump told NBC News moderator Kristen Welker on this Sunday's edition of Meet the Press that he could have pardoned himself at the end of his term but chose not to.

"Mr. President, if you are reelected, would you pardon yourself?" Welker asked.

"I could have pardoned myself," Trump replied. "Do you know what? I was given an option to pardon myself. I could have pardoned myself when I left. People said, 'Would you like to pardon yourself?' I had a couple of attorneys that said, 'You can do it if you want.' I had some people that said, 'It would look bad if you do it,' cause I think it would look terrible."

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Trump continued, "I said, 'Here's the story.' These people are thugs, horrible people fascists, Marxists, sick people. They've been after me from the day I came down the escalator with Melania, and I did a great job as president. People are acknowledging — great economy, great jobs, great this, great that. I rebuilt the military, Space Force, everything. I could go on forever. Let me just tell you."

Trump added, "I said, 'The last thing I'd ever do is give myself a pardon.' I could have given myself a pardon. Don't ask me what I would do. The last day I could have had a pardon done that would have saved me all of these lawyers and all of these fake charges, these Biden indictments — they're all Biden indictments, political — they indicted, they want to arrest their political opponents. Only third-world countries do that. Banana republics. So, ready? I never said this to anybody. I was given the option. I could have done a pardon of myself. You know what I said? 'I have no interest in even thinking about it.' I never even wanted to think about it. And I could have done it. And all of these questions you're asking me about the fake charges you wouldn't be asking me because it's a very powerful, it's a very powerful thing for a president. I was told by some people that these are sick lunatics that I'm dealing with. 'Give yourself a pardon, your life will be a lot easier.' I said, 'I would never give myself a pardon.'"

Welker followed up, "Even if you were reelected in this moment?"

Trump responded, "Oh, I think it's very unlikely. What did I do wrong? I didn't do anything wrong. You mean because I challenged an election they want to put me in jail?"

Watch the segment below via NBC News or at this link.

READ MORE: 'I’m not going to answer that': Trump loses it when Fox News asked about classified documents

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