Ted Cruz Wrote Academic Article About Presidential Pardoning Power He Claims He Never Studied

Senator Ted Cruz didn't have much to say on Monday when one reporter asked him if President Donald Trump could really pardon himself in the ongoing Russia investigation.

Cruz, who was a constitutional law expert and lawyer before becoming a congressman, took an 18-second pause before telling the press that pardoning was not a constitutional issue he has studied and therefore he would withhold judgment on the matter.

Alright, folks. Here's the audio pic.twitter.com/3UhsX3f8Jh

— Haley Byrd Wilt (@byrdinator) June 4, 2018

But an article that Cruz wrote for the The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy in 2015 suggests otherwise, as was first reported by LawandCrime.com.

The piece, titled "The Obama Administration's Unprecedented Lawlessness," is not wholly about presidential pardoning, but Cruz does include multiple citations about the issue throughout the text.

In one instance he quoted Chief Justice John Marshall, who once said that pardoning "is an act of grace, proceeding from the power intrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed."

Cruz then directly commented on Marshall's statement, writing that "pardon power carries a scope specifically limited to crimes already committed. The pardon may not apply to acts that have not yet been committed, because it would function as a personal waiver, the impermissible dispensation of the laws."

After the audio clip of Cruz's pause went viral, the Republican from Texas took to Twitter to defend himself and accuse reporters of doing "dishonest journalism" in a thread that includes 17 tweets.

On the question of whether a president can pardon himself, we're seeing an abundance of knee-jerk partisanship and dishonest journalism.

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2018

The senator claimed he paused after the question was initially asked because he was late to a meeting in the Capitol and was choosing to simply ignore the question as "senators do every single day in the Capitol."

He also dismissed the conversation surrounding the question of a potential presidential pardoning as "nothing more than an academic debate."

Trump and his administration have been under fire since the president tweeted earlier this week that he has "the absolute right to pardon" himself but won't because he has "done nothing wrong."

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani defended the president's statements, and told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that while Trump most likely will not pardon himself or shut down Robert Mueller's investigation he could do so if he wanted to. But many Republican lawmakers say that if Trump were to pardon himself it would be political "suicide."