The Detroit Post
Saturday, 04 December, 2021

Can Trump Preemptively Pardon

David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 13 October, 2020
• 7 min read

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trump talked with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, citing two people briefed on the matter. The Times also said Trump has asked advisers about the possibility of preemptively pardoning his three eldest children.



But in 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned hundreds of thousands of “draft dodgers” who avoided a government-imposed obligation to serve in the Vietnam War. The nation’s founders saw the pardon power as a way to show mercy and serve the public good.

In 2001, former President Bill Clinton pardoned his brother, Roger, who was convicted for cocaine possession in Arkansas. Clinton pardoned about 450 people, including a Democratic Party donor, Marc Rich, who fled the country because of tax evasion charges.

Some scholars have argued the nation’s founders intended for pardons to be specific, and that there is an implied limit on their scope. Vance, a Democrat, has suggested in court filings that his probe could focus on bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

The inquiry by James, a Democrat, began after Trump ’s former lawyer Michael Cohen told Congress the president inflated asset values to save money on loans and insurance and deflated them to reduce real estate taxes. Republican Trump has called the Vance and James’ probes politically motivated harassment.

“When people ask me if a president can pardon himself, my answer is always, ‘Well, he can try,’” said Brian Salt, a constitutional law professor at Michigan State University. Many legal experts have said a self- pardon would be unconstitutional because it violates the basic principle that nobody should be the judge in his or her own case.


Trump could try to pardon himself preemptively to cover the possibility of prosecution after he leaves office. At present, Donald Trump is embroiled in an absurd attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election because he’s physically incapable of admitting defeat and maybe also because he sees it as a possible way to collect a nice chunk of change from the easy marks that are his supporters.

Eventually, though, his efforts will fail; Joe Biden will move into the White House on January 20, 2021, and Trump will revert to being just another civilian, albeit one with so much debt and bitterness that national security experts fear the possibly that he might reveal state secrets for money. Also: he’ll no longer be able to use the staff of the Justice Department as his personal legal team to fend off prosecutors, which is a very worrisome thing for a guy who’s potentially committed numerous crimes; we know this because, according to the New York Times, he’s concerned “not only about existing investigations in New York, but the potential for new federal probes as well.” And that obviously brings us to whether or not he might actually try to pardon himself.

The Justice Department looked at the question in the Nixon era and concluded it wasn’t within the president’s power to pardon himself. “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself,” the Office of Legal Counsel wrote in August 1974.

Even if Trumpcanpardon himself or have Pence do it for him, a self- pardon would only protect him from federal crimes and not a number of ongoing investigations and civil suits currently underway, including two led by Manhattan District Attorney CY Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who are pursuing possible criminal charges related to the Trump Organization. Among those likeliest to benefit are former Trump campaign associates who have convictions following Special Counsel Robert Mueller ’s investigation: Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, and others.

Throw in a line about how he could clearly run a sub-2:30 marathon and beat Barack Obama in a game of horse and that pardon is in the bag. You’re going to have to wake up a lot earlier in the morning, and call for people’s murders numerous times instead of just once, if you want to get kicked off of Facebook.

pardon trump souza

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told an all-staff meeting on Thursday that former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon had not violated enough of the company’s policies to justify his suspension, according to a recording heard by Reuters. “We have specific rules around how many times you need to violate certain policies before we will deactivate your account completely,” Zuckerberg said.

The company had not previously answered questions about those actions and did not immediately respond to a Reuters request about Zuckerberg’s comments. He previously played a clip of St. Thomas More’s trial and was making an allusion to this historical event in Tudor England for rhetorical purposes.

In addition, Mr. Bannon has supported comments from the White House calling for the immediate firing of Dr. Fauci.” Ben and David Hewitt-McDonald, who operate a YouTube channel and cruise blog about their sea travels, confirmed to the Daily Beast on Thursday that a ship-wide announcement went out saying five members of a family from the U.S. had been diagnosed with COVID-19 after being tested twice.

Editorial board of Sheldon Abelson -backed newspaper tells Trump it's time to face reality (Politico) This question has been percolating since at least 2018 when the special counsel investigation on Russian election interference was well underway and some of Trump's closest aides, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, had been indicted.

They said that the Constitution gives the president the power to act as a judge in another person's criminal case as he sees fit. “The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment or removal,” they wrote in a 2017 Washington Post op-ed.


A president might also avoid taking such action for political reasons, Brian Salt, a law professor at Michigan State University, wrote in 1996. But John Yew, a former Justice Department official under George W. Bush, argued that the president's pardon powers are absolute.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani discussed a possible preemptive pardon that would shield him from the prospect of federal criminal charges arising from his work as the president's aggressive defender-in-chief. Federal investigators in New York have been examining Giuliani's business dealings with two men who were indicted last year on campaign finance violations.

Ukrainian-born LEV Paras and Igor Truman of Belarus are accused of conspiring to circumvent federal campaign finance laws by funneling foreign money to U.S. political candidates in a scheme to buy influence. President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Nixon, for any crimes he might have committed related to the Watergate scandal.

President Jimmy Carter preemptively pardoned hundreds of thousands of men who avoided the draft during the Vietnam War. Bush pardoned former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and former CIA official Duane Carriage before they were tried on charges tied to the Iran-Contra scandal.

And that the president, until that occurs, could change his mind, so I think the operative question here is going to be what constitutes delivery, and we don't have a Supreme Court opinion on exactly what that would be,” Dan Mobil, a law professor at Capital University in Ohio, told NPR in 2008, shortly after Bush reversed the pardon. Trump's use of his clemency powers has drawn scrutiny because he has granted these to people with personal or political connections to him or in cases indirectly tied to him.


And he has done so often without consulting with the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney, which traditionally advises the president on who qualifies for clemency. He commuted the entire sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime ally who was convicted of lying to Congress for protecting Trump and his campaign from the Russia investigation.

Trump is being pushed to preemptively pardon his entire family, including his adult children, before leaving office next month. However, sources pushing for this action say the argument is an “insurance policy” against concerns that the incoming Biden administration could undertake politically motivated investigations.

The only thing holding Trump back from issuing these pardons is that he doesn’t want to admit guilt or look guilty. Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.

The pardon authority can ’t be construed to allow a president to commit a crime or to violate constitutional principles in exercising it. He or she couldn’t decide, for instance, that only members of a particular racial group could be pardoned or begin selling reprieves to the highest bidder.

The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel determined as much in 1974, when there was concern that President Nixon might try to pardon himself during the Watergate scandal. Of course, Trump has routinely ignored some or all of those guidelines in granting pardons and commutations, notably for former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Armies and campaign crony Roger Stone.

trump himself pardon

Some have referenced it as a potential justification for the general family pardons Trump seems to be contemplating, but it is not clear that it established a legal precedent. It did at least have an important public purpose and one that clearly motivated Ford: It brought about an end, in his words, to the “long national nightmare” of Watergate.

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