The Jury Talks Back


READER POLL: Would You Support Trump Pardoning Himself?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:59 am

A report in the Washington Post, based on anonymous sources (natch), suggests that Trump is looking into pardons, including even a pardon of himself:

Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, 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.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

Reports based on anonymous sources are not to be taken at face value until corroborated. But it made me wonder:

If President Trump pardoned himself, would you support that action?

Would you support President Trump pardoning himself?

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  1. I’m not sure a President can self-pardon but let’s assume he can. Would he have to identify the crimes he is pardoning, or can be simply pardon himself from any federal offense ever committed? Either way, that’s a bad image to take to his 2020 re-election campaign and it invites credible candidates to primary him.

    It’s far more likely that Trump will pardon his family members in order to protect them. I don’t expect him to pardon anyone outside the family because I think the pardon would take away any Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if a court of Congress wanted to question Trump Administration folks about past events. Given his propensity for non-exclusive agreements, I doubt Trump wants to loosen any tongues with a pardon.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/21/2017 @ 7:36 am

  2. And, really, is Trump able to admit he has ever done anything that needs pardoning? His ego won’t let him do it.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/21/2017 @ 7:39 am

  3. The Constitution talks about the President having the power to “grant… Pardons”. The word “grant” suggests that it is something given to others. That’s a textual argument for “No”, but not an ironclad one.

    Comment by Kman — 7/21/2017 @ 9:55 am

  4. The US Supreme Court has held that accepting a pardon is an admission of guilt. I imagine asking if you can give yourself a pardon isn’t exactly evidence of innocence.

    . Would he have to identify the crimes he is pardoning, or can be simply pardon himself from any federal offense ever committed?

    As you surely already knew, Nixon’s pardon was very general. I imagine Trump’s would go as far as possible. Hell, if he could pardon himself for future crimes he would. This presidency is like a bad intrigue plotline on 24.

    His ego won’t let him do it.

    The talking point is already out there. He’s pardoning himself from sham charges, nothing more, just to shut down this terrible investigation that actually followed the money, which no legitimate investigation would ever do.

    Comment by Dustin — 7/21/2017 @ 10:02 am

  5. I think a president can, as a practical matter, self-pardon, for the following reason: who is to stop him?

    It’s not clear to me that a subsequent administration would be unable to prosecute anyway and then challenge the efficacy of the pardon in the court. I think they would be *able* to — but as a practical matter I think it’s unlikely that they would, because it would mean extending the crisis rather than letting it fade into the past and beginning the recovery.

    Honestly, though — simply pre-emptively pardoning his family would demonstrate that the rule of law is dead, and since I expect the Congress would let him get away with it, it would mean the *functional* end of the Republic I grew up in, and its replacement by something … else.

    Comment by aphrael — 7/21/2017 @ 11:07 am

  6. Heck no I would not support Trump pardoning himself. The idea of any president pardoning him or her self utterly disgusts me. I’d be very much in favor of immediate impeachment if he did so.

    Would Trump be impeached for self-pardon? Not exactly IMHO, as it’s not an impeachable offense. However, if he self-pardons, he’d need to be explicit on what he was pardoning himself for, and could simply be impeached for whatever that was.

    BTW, I’m highly dubious that Trump is considering this, and even more dubious that he has something to pardon himself for. I’m merely going with the posed hypothetical.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 7/21/2017 @ 6:30 pm

  7. So was the solution to a rogue judicial power, like Bob McDonnell ted Stevens and Tom delay was subject to, you tell me.

    Comment by narciso — 7/22/2017 @ 5:01 am

  8. Give Trump and the GOP time, narciso. Right now the GOP exists to help Trump, whose sole goal is to hurt the media because the media opposes him. But it won’t be long until the courts start hurting Trump and he will turn his attention there.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/22/2017 @ 6:25 am

  9. By the way, speaking of courts, now Trump is screwing up the War on Terror. This is exactly what Hillary would have done. I thought Trump was untrustworthy but now I know he’s also an idiot.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/22/2017 @ 6:31 am

  10. Allahpundit said he thought 40% of GOP voters would answer this question “yes.”

    That is precisely the result the poll currently shows.

    Comment by Patterico — 7/22/2017 @ 8:37 am

  11. To me, 40% of today’s Republicans believe the ends justify the means.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/22/2017 @ 9:33 am

  12. He was being transferred from a european country, Abu khaybar would be a better test case.

    Comment by narciso — 7/22/2017 @ 9:48 am

  13. I answered the question, properly but what of my concern?

    Comment by narciso — 7/22/2017 @ 9:49 am

  14. Are you asking about the courts, narciso? You probably aren’t asking me but here is my answer:

    One option is to stop politicizing the courts, but I don’t think that can happen. Things will only get more politicized, not less.

    Another option is to reform education so logic matters more than emotions. Modern dumbed-down education impacts everyone, including doctors and lawyers. We can change education with vouchers and especially by not requiring education degrees to teach. Having a degree in the field one wants to teach should be enough.

    Finally, encourage textualism in the law and encourage our leaders to understand and support it.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/22/2017 @ 12:39 pm

  15. 12. Can you clarify your comment? There have been detainees from Europe, including from Britain, Denmark and France. Its probably true that most were detained in the Middle East or Afghanistan, so that may be the distinction you are highlighting.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/22/2017 @ 1:07 pm

  16. Later is most obvious,over there, considering how the deep state logorhea has slowed down any practical consideration of interrogation sites.

    But my wider point concerns at least three cases of prosecutorial malpractice.

    Comment by narciso — 7/22/2017 @ 2:44 pm

  17. The answer to prosecutorial abuse is to limit of eliminate judicial immunity, but that comes with a cost to the public when the lawsuits claiming abuse skyrocket.

    Comment by DRJ — 7/22/2017 @ 3:01 pm

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