Can President Trump Pardon Himself?
Some of U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation into Russian collusion, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.
Could President Trump actually pardon himself? It's definitely within the realm of possibility.
Dr. David Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University, pointed to Richard Nixon’s scandal-riddled presidency when asked if Trump could pardon himself.
“The abiding rule, repeated many times, was that ‘the president is not above the law,’” Woodard told Fox News. “By that, I think that official power might have been legal – but it proved to be politically suicidal.”
A person can be pardoned before being convicted and even before being charged with anything. The pardon need not specify what offenses are covered. President Richard Nixon’s case exemplifies this breadth; Nixon had not been indicted, but President Gerald Ford pardoned him preemptively for every federal offense he had “committed or may have committed” while in office.
So it's possible he could pardon himself (that is, if there were ever any impending or proven guilt of anything - fake news does NOT count), and the repercussions would be political suicide? I don't think Trump has any further political aspirations having reached the highest office in the land and most powerful in the world. This leaves the chance of executing a self pardon very, very real.
With a weekend tweet, President Donald Trump gave constitutional scholars a reason to engage in what one called their “favorite parlor game” – arguing over whether a president can self-pardon.
“While all agree the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us,” Trump tweeted on July 22.
Trump’s tweet came after the Washington Post reported that the president had been asking advisers about his ability to pardon aides, family members and himself as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion with the Russians during the presidential election continues.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s lawyers, told ABC News on Sunday that “the issue of pardons is not on the table, there is nothing to pardon from.” Sekulow added that the issue of whether Trump would be able to self-pardon would “have to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court to determine constitutionality.”
And instead of waiting for a potential ruling, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, introduced legislation Monday that would bar Trump from issuing a self-pardon.
“To permit the president to self-pardon would place the president above the law and beyond justice,” Green said in a statement.
Whether a president has the ability to issue a self-pardon is a favorite topic for lawyers to debate as there is really no clear resolution, Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar and law professor at George Washington University, told Fox News.
The courts have usually given the president a lot of leeway on clemency issues. It’s likely that a self-pardon would end up in front of the Supreme Court. From there, they could find a self-pardon appropriate or not. Actually, it’s totally possible that they could rule that a self-pardon is permissible, and point out that the remedy for abuse of clemency is what the framers of the Constitution intended for any abuse of power: impeachment. That leaves both doors open still, but leaning toward Trump pulling through.
Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet also focused on impropriety over illegality.
"A self-pardon might well be outrageously improper (unless there was the prospect of charges brought by a rogue prosecutor, whom, for some reason, the president could not control by firing him or her)," he told Vox journalists, "but the response the Constitution creates for such misconduct is impeachment, a political rather than criminal remedy."
So he may be able to pardon himself, or anyone else for that matter, but may a strong possibility of impeachment. So in the unlikely chance that occurred, Trump is out of office. And then. You have Mike Pence, Trump's right hand man as the next president still hell bent on following through with the duo's campaign promises and ideology of how to make America great.
Do we really want Pence as a puppet?