Trump claims 'complete power to pardon' as probe widens

NORFOLK (Virginia) • A defiant US President Donald Trump unleashed a flurry of nearly a dozen tweets, 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.

The President also decried "illegal leaks" in the "FAKE NEWS".

He lashed out at a Washington Post report of previously undisclosed alleged contacts between Attorney-General Jeff Sessions - at the time a US senator and senior adviser to Mr Trump's 2016 presidential campaign - and Russia's then ambassador to the United States.

In a tweet, Mr Trump called the disclosures an illegal new "intelligence leak".

The charge was part of his continuing effort to try to shift the public focus to what he claims is a partisan attempt to undermine his presidency.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'Trump claims 'complete power to pardon' as probe widens'. Print Edition | Subscribe