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President pardoning himself? Can it be done?


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So, in light of yesterday's events (Capital riot), a lot of legal issues are popping up all over the news media.  Among them, are the 25th amendment question to remove Trump (won't happen), or impeachment (not sure there is enough time to make it happen.  Another question I have seen is that of Trump granting a self-pardon and his family members.  While this is an untested theory, and the Constitution or Federal law doesn't say he CAN do this, it doesn't necessarily say he can't either.  I would argue, however, that though not expressly forbidden, that it defies the spirit of the law, in that I doubt very much the founders would want a despot to pardon himself.  In fact, Nixon stepped down and resigned, in part, because he was assured by Ford that he would receive a pardon to prevent future prosecution.  If the president indeed had the power to self pardon, Nixon would have done that, instead.  

 I would further add that I see a scenario where Trump could attempt to issue a blanket pardon to all the capital rioters, although he likely cares as much for them, as the 4 people who died in the riot, let alone the hundreds of thousands who have died, got sick, or lost their jobs over the last year, due to his incompetence in handling COVID.  In any event, I am curious what you all have to say about this topic.  Do you think the President can pardon himself or herself?  Is that in keeping with the spirit of the law? Do you think it is possible to issue blanket pardons to these rioters?  While I am against both, Trump has been researching this idea since at least 2017, and it makes me wonder if his legal aides have given him the idea (or false hope?) that he can pardon himself, which makes me wonder if this SOB will get away with what I consider instigating a riot, yesterday.

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It would seem to me that if Trump and these treasonous pieces of shit aren't officially charged until after Trump is out of office that he couldn't pardon them. Exactly what crime would he be pardoning them of? If you just grant a general pardon when no charge has been levied it seems more like just a "permission to commit any crime you want" type of thing rather than a pardon? This is from no legal expertise but just seems logical to me. 

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Those are my questions also, actually.  My understanding how the pardon is supposed to work is you already committed a crime, and request the pardon.  If the president deems that you have shown contrition, or even in some cases where one was charged, but proved to be innocent, that is what the pardon is for.  I don't see how it can be used as a license to commit a crime and pardon oneself.  That said, because of the wording, there is a train of thought that says  Trump can preemptively pardon himself  for tax crimes (previous argument he's made in the past), or in this case, for instilling a riot, sedition, or some similar charge.   Essentially, due to wording, it seems Trump thinks there is a loophole there.  And I have to wonder if there is a loophole.

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Furthermore, I think the loophole for the loophole is that pardons cannot be used if impeachment is involved (EG President is impeached, he can't pardon himself at that point), which, if congress is serious about what they are saying, they need to impeach Trump's ass NOW, so that he cannot pardon himself.

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Just now, The Choc said:

It would seem to me that if hes not charged then how could be pardon himself? I guess its just kind of a logic loop, I don't know. 

I think that is the question everyone has.  However the precedent might be that Ford preemptively pardoned Nixon, but my understanding is that was a pardon only regarding any charges that could be brought as a result of Watergate.  But it still wasn't a self pardon.  Nixon was not president at the time he received the pardon.

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He obviously should not be able to pardon himself.  I actually think yesterday was about him knowing he probably can't get away with pardoning himself. I literally think that was about saying "these people will do whatever I say so don't come after me when my term is over."

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20 minutes ago, The Choc said:

It would seem to me that if Trump and these treasonous pieces of shit aren't officially charged until after Trump is out of office that he couldn't pardon them. Exactly what crime would he be pardoning them of? If you just grant a general pardon when no charge has been levied it seems more like just a "permission to commit any crime you want" type of thing rather than a pardon? This is from no legal expertise but just seems logical to me. 

Nixon was pardoned for all crimes he may have committed while president. He wasn't charged with anything.

Precedent says it's possible. While I don't think such a general pardon has been challenged in court, I would see it standing because of the Nixon pardon.

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Whether or not he can pardon himself is really the question, not whether he can be pardoned preemptively.

Of course the other part is that pardons include an admission of guilt, so if he's pardoned for anything that includes state charges, that would be used against him. 

The other alternative, Trump resigning so Pence can pardon him, isn't going to happen. Pence wasn't willing to bend reality for Trump, so he's not trustworthy.

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1 minute ago, The Choc said:

He obviously should not be able to pardon himself.  I actually think yesterday was about him knowing he probably can't get away with pardoning himself. I literally think that was about saying "these people will do whatever I say so don't come after me when my term is over."

I hope you are right that he can't legally pardon himself.  And if you are correct that this is supposed to be a veiled threat, that is the very definition of insurrection.

1 minute ago, Fozzie said:

Nixon was pardoned for all crimes he may have committed while president. He wasn't charged with anything.

Precedent says it's possible. While I don't think such a general pardon has been challenged in court, I would see it standing because of the Nixon pardon.

Well, if Trump stepped down, and Pence pardoned Trump, I think you are right there.  Though, Pence is pissed at Trump, and he might not do it.  

But I think the question remains is the self pardon.  It would surely have to go to the Supreme Court.  What is your opinion on self pardon?

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Yes, a pardon is an admission of guilt. So if Trump pardons himself and then it's somehow determined that you cannot self pardon he is really kinda fucking himself pretty bad. 

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Just now, Zathras said:

I hope you are right that he can't legally pardon himself.  And if you are correct that this is supposed to be a veiled threat, that is the very definition of insurrection.

Well, if Trump stepped down, and Pence pardoned Trump, I think you are right there.  Though, Pence is pissed at Trump, and he might not do it.  

But I think the question remains is the self pardon.  It would surely have to go to the Supreme Court.  What is your opinion on self pardon?

I think it all depends on how it's being decided. But, spitballing, the current Court would find that there's no restriction to the presidents pardon power, because the Founders intentionally didn't put any. They didn't envision the current partisan atmosphere where Congress would refuse to hold the president responsible for his actions.

 

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16 minutes ago, Fozzie said:

I think it all depends on how it's being decided. But, spitballing, the current Court would find that there's no restriction to the presidents pardon power, because the Founders intentionally didn't put any. They didn't envision the current partisan atmosphere where Congress would refuse to hold the president responsible for his actions.

 

Yeah with 2 Trump appointees, SCOTUS has a really good chance of saying just that. Also, I think you are correct in that the reason the pardon power was left vague is not that they implied a president could pardon himself, but because they probably thought having explicit means for removing a president by impeachment was a sufficient implication that a president could not self pardon. I also think the founders probably never envisioned we would devolve to such a litigious society that we have become, where parsing words is far more a valuable skill than common sense. Or justice, for that matter.

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I like the way this guy explains this clusterfuck. It basically all boils down to who the hell knows and we'll have to wait to see how it plays out. But, honestly, I don't think it's going to matter for Trump. The real question is whether or not congress and/or SCOTUS are going to clear up this loophole for the future. 
 

 

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27 minutes ago, The Choc said:

He's back on twitter. Posted a video thats about 30 hours late but I suppose its better than further incitement. 

Yeah. This is the “Oh crap they really might get rid of me” video.

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So I guess, as usual, the immediate response from his supporters is split. Some are turning on him for not following through on ANYTHING he promised them he would do. Some are sticking to the "that's not what he meant" line of bs that has become so predictable after every damn thing this man says. 

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1 hour ago, Cerina said:

I like the way this guy explains this clusterfuck. It basically all boils down to who the hell knows and we'll have to wait to see how it plays out. But, honestly, I don't think it's going to matter for Trump. The real question is whether or not congress and/or SCOTUS are going to clear up this loophole for the future. 
 

Well, the Supreme Court can only clear it up if there’s a case that comes to them. So, unless Trump pardons himself AND the federal government attempts to prosecute him for those crimes, the Court won’t get involved.

Of course this is all possibly moot because Trump would have to acknowledge that he’s done something wrong and he honestly believes he’s innocent of everything.

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I firmly believe that if Trump tries to pardon himself, it'll wind up in the Supreme Court. I have no idea who is going to take it there or how, but I do believe it will happen. 

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From what I understand, he likely cannot pardon himself because its a principal of the judicial system that you cannot be your own judge or jury. Basic conflict of interest. That said, if he tries it, it will likely go to the Supreme Court.

Honestly, much as we all screamed about Judge Barrett, it sounds like she is actually a very good judge and not an idiot. I do not think his appointees feel they will owe him anything if he tries to pull this. They might go for overturning Roe v Wade, but I do not think they will let him blatantly break the law.

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Surely you can't pardon yourself until you have been charged with something? Surely you cant preemptively pardon yourself for things you may be charged with in the future as a president.

 

So like, wait till the Orange Goblin is no longer the sitting president and then throw the book at him.

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11 minutes ago, Odine said:

Surely you can't pardon yourself until you have been charged with something? Surely you cant preemptively pardon yourself for things you may be charged with in the future as a president.

 

So like, wait till the Orange Goblin is no longer the sitting president and then throw the book at him.

You can pardon someone for crimes they haven’t been charged with. That’s been done.

So whether or not he’s been charged is irrelevant. The question is whether or not he can pardon himself, regardless. And the Constitution, the guide for pardons, is completely silent. It gives the President the power to pardon all offenses against the United States. So, yes, a plain text reading of the Constitution allows the president to pardon himself. The only thing the president cannot pardon is impeachment. And since that’s supposed to be how we handle crimes by the president, it seems likely that the Supreme Court will read it and say that the president can pardon himself, and that power encompasses all offenses against the United States, not just offenses for which charges have been filed.

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28 minutes ago, Fozzie said:

You can pardon someone for crimes they haven’t been charged with. That’s been done. 

Am I mad or does that not seem like a bad idea?

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