In tweet storm, Trump decries ‘illegal leaks’ and asserts ‘all agree’ he has complete power to pardon
NORFOLK — A defiant President Trump unleashed a flurry of nearly a dozen tweets Saturday morning, asserting that he has the “complete power to pardon” aides, family members and possibly even himself — an apparent response to the special counsel’s widening Russia probe — and decrying “illegal leaks” in the “FAKE NEWS.”
The president also lashed out at a new Washington Post report of previously undisclosed alleged contacts between Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the time a U.S. senator and senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign — and a Russian official. In a tweet, Trump called the disclosures an illegal new “intelligence leak,” part of his continuing effort to try to shift the public focus to what he claims is a partisan attempt to undermine his presidency.
The president’s defense of his pardoning authority came days after The Post reported that he and his legal team have discussed his power to pardon those close to him, including himself.
Shortly after his tweet storm, which started just after 6:30 a.m. and lasted nearly two hours, Trump flew to Norfolk, where he injected a small dose of partisan politics into the ceremonial commissioning of a new naval warship.
Speaking aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford, Trump extolled the virtues of the “wonderful, beautiful but very, very powerful” nuclear-powered warship — “We will win, win, win,” he said, “we will never lose” — but also decried the budget compromise known as sequestration, which requires mandatory and corresponding military and domestic cuts.
Trump promised to try to restore higher levels of military funding but also urged the crowd of about 6,500 — many in uniform — to help him push this year’s budget, in which he said he will seek an additional $54 billion in defense spending, through Congress.
“I don’t mind getting a little hand, so call that congressman and call that senator and make sure you get it,” he said, to applause. “And by the way, you can also call those senators to make sure you get health care.”
Read more at The Washington Post.