July 22, 2017

Answer: Yes.

Can the President pardon himself?

115 comments:

harrogate said...

Don't you have to be convicted of something before you can be pardoned?

At this point, for what would be be pardoning himself?

Achilles said...

harrogate said...

Don't you have to be convicted of something before you can be pardoned?

Questions are great.

For example: Doesn't there need to be evidence of a crime and a real investigation before a special prosecutor is appointed?

rhhardin said...

It doesn't prevent impeachment, so the witch-hunt would go on anyway.

Bob Ellison said...

President Gerald Ford famously pardoned Richard Nixon for pretty much anything and everything, with no crimes identified.

The proper question is: Is the pardon power an abuse of republican authority? Is it not a remnant of the authority of kings?

Hagar said...

For a while now I have read articles reporting that Don Jr. and entourage have expressed their willingness to speak before the Congressional committees "investigating" them. Then this last week there suddenly were articles about these committees threatening them with subpoenas if they did not appear voluntarily and pronto, but these inquisitorial sessions keep getting postponed to a later date.

I think this spate of speculations about Trump pardoning himself is just more of the same Washington parlor games. Pardoning himself for what, exactly?

Bill Harshaw said...

You can't get a pardon for future offenses, just past ones. Trump could arguably pardon himself for any and all offenses against federal laws committed on or before [date of pardon]. Though there's strong arguments that he shouldn't be able to pardon himself.

Brookzene said...

Whoever Trump pardons won't be able to plead the 5th concerning whatever they were pardoned for I suppose.

Earnest Prole said...

The President may also, theoretically speaking, blow himself, but that doesn't mean it would be smart to do it publicly, at least if he wishes to retain his office.

Tank said...

A crime, a crime, there must be a crime here somewhere !

We've got our Defendant, if only we had a crime !

clint said...

First and foremost -- note that the claim that the President is considering pardoning himself comes from yet another anonymous source of the Washington Post. The only actual quote by a named individual calls the story "not true" and "nonsense". This is the essence of Fake News.

But even granting the pretext of the Vox piece... So many logical fallacies and errors from so many highly credentialed individuals.


"A worst-case scenario like the current crisis..." -- Asha Rangappa

What a breathtaking lack of imagination.

Off the top of my head, a worse scenario: A VP pulls out a knife in the Oval Office and kills the President. The ex-VP immediately pardons himself.

"The fact that we're even talking about it is a measure of how far we've fallen under Trump." -- Samuel Gross

Yes. Yes, it is. But perhaps not in the way he means.

tcrosse said...

Can a president be impeached and removed from office for crimes committed before he took office ? More to the point, can a president be impeached and removed for office for any or no reason ?

Unknown said...

"Doesn't there need to be evidence of a crime and a real investigation before a special prosecutor is appointed?"

Why do people think there wasn't? Just because you don't know, doesn't mean there wasn't any.

Achilles said...

Bill Harshaw said...
You can't get a pardon for future offenses, just past ones.

He could also have the DOJ grant immunity for staffers just like Obama did for Hillary's people.

Achilles said...

Unknown said...
"Doesn't there need to be evidence of a crime and a real investigation before a special prosecutor is appointed?"

Why do people think there wasn't? Just because you don't know, doesn't mean there wasn't any.

Because you idiots are foaming at the mouth over 2008 land deals and 2013 beauty pageants.

Because if there was anything remotely like collusion the slugs in the swamp would have leaked it by now.

Because any thinking and sentient human being would know that Putin would rather have Hillary than Trump.


Unknown said...

Not quite so cut and dried as "Yes".

"Shortly before President Nixon resigned from office, the Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion in which they cautioned that no one may be a judge in his own case. (This is also a principle of so-called "natural law.") This meant, the OLC said, that the president cannot pardon himself."

"The recent revelation that President Trump has asked his lawyers whether the president of the United States has the constitutional authority to pardon himself is absolutely stunning. President Trump’s inquiry on the scope of the president's pardon power demonstrates consciousness of guilt. Only if President Trump believes that he may be guilty of a crime would he be interested in pardoning himself. This is not the behavior of an innocent man."

"I believe the president can pardon anyone, including him or herself. But the pardon cannot stop an investigation and, in a well-functioning democracy, should provoke an impeachment. The Constitution specifically provides that the pardon power does not prevent — or undo — an impeachment."

"There are two potential checks on the pardoning power that should be noted upfront. First, the Constitution specifically rules out the possibility of pardoning someone for impeachable offenses. Moreover, I think Congress could certainly regard an "abuse" of the pardoning power as an impeachable offense in and of itself (even if we were to think that such a pardon should be regarded as legally valid).

There are fair questions as to what should count as an abuse that would rise to that level, but a self-pardon should certainly do it. In this context, I think a pardon of any member of the Trump family for offenses committed as part of the presidential campaign or its aftermath would be an impeachable offense."

Sebastian said...

Just for the fun of mocking Mueller and his minions, he should advance-sign the pardons.

Hagar said...

Impeachment is a political process, starting in the House of Representatives. The House does need one or more reasons and state what they are, but they must consider the consequences of what the public (and, of course, the Senate) thinks of their reasons.

Prosecution, if any, following a successful impeachment is a criminal matter and there needs to be an actual crime alleged for the courts to take notice of it.

Achilles said...

In this context, I think a pardon of any member of the Trump family for offenses committed as part of the presidential campaign or its aftermath would be an impeachable offense."

Shorter Stalinist: We don't need no stinking laws. We can impeach Trump for anything we want to.

Unknown said...

"In the case of a self-pardon, ultimately the US Supreme Court would have to render its own conclusion on whether the courts should accept such a pardon as constitutionally valid, and there would really be no option but to reach an independent judgment on that question and not simply defer to the judgment made by the president.

Our legal tradition nonetheless recognizes implicit limits on that power (e.g., pardon can only be issued after the offense has been committed). There is no well-established legal tradition regarding self-pardons. All that might suggest that the president could do it, and then take his chances in an impeachment."

"The text of the Constitution says that the president has no pardon power over impeachment. If the president were to pardon himself to preempt a legitimate investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing, it would have no effect on congressional investigations. In the debates surrounding the framing of the Constitution, the framers were very clear: No one, least of all the president, can be above the law."

Chuck said...

harrogate said...
Don't you have to be convicted of something before you can be pardoned?

No. Nixon was not convicted, or even charged, when he was pardoned by President Ford.

btw; today is the commissioning of the new supercarrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford in Norfolk, VA.

Unknown said...

"There is, of course, no precedent on whether a president can pardon himself. The question is mostly academic. A president can’t be prosecuted federally while in office, so a pardon would only be of legal significance after he left office, and the validity of it would likely be tested in a federal prosecution.

In any event, a president cannot use the pardon power to immunize himself from impeachment or from prosecution by one or more of the 50 states. Were a president to pardon himself, this would surely trigger prosecution in the states (e.g., for fraud or tax evasion). It would, therefore, be a very foolish decision The pardon would be admissible evidence of guilt.

gspencer said...

So, is this like the situation where the genie offers you one wish, and your one wish is never to run out of wishes.

DJT is impeached by the House. During the Senate's trial but before conclusion of the evidence, he pardons himself.

And we go through this loop endlessly.

I know the MSM loves to toy around with all these what-if questions. To which I say, better Russia meddled with our election.

Achilles said...

The left is reacting predictably and stupidly to Trump's forward pricking.

Is Inga cutting and pasting out of the same article? It looks like the left got their marching orders written up for them early today.

AJ Lynch said...

At the rate we are going re how Trump is being crucified by the media and the Dem Resistance which includes his opponent, Hildabeast, I think every president should pardon himself on his last day in office.

n.n said...

So far, the baby hunt has only exposed witches and warlocks.

I suppose it depends on if there was collusion with a post-coup government, foreign assets, partisan press, corporate myth maker, bureaucratic bitter clingers, living constitutional judges, reformed/progressive "religious" institutions, and a domestic coverup conspiracy with a premeditated intention to disenfranchise American citizens.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Not that I care much, Unk, but who are you quoting?

Brookzene said...

In this context, I think a pardon of any member of the Trump family for offenses committed as part of the presidential campaign or its aftermath would be an impeachable offense."

This is why nepotism is so pernicious. What wouldn't you do to protect your family?

Meade said...

He should pardon Clinton and Obama. Get that long national nightmare finally over.

Unknown said...

The consensus of these law professors seems to be "maybe", not "yes".

"First, can Trump pardon himself? That’s surprisingly hard to answer. The constitutional text gives no answer, and the convention debates aren’t particularly helpful."

"The Constitution gives the president the power to pardon, but as is always the case with powers bestowed by the Constitution, the contours of that power are uncertain. A judge would probably worry that if he ruled that a president can pardon himself, future presidents will feel free to commit crimes.

It is possible that a judge would rule that even if a self-pardon would relieve the president of liability for a crime, the act of self-pardoning itself is a crime, obstruction of justice, that would independently create criminal liability."

"In other words, this is a gray area, but the Constitution's commitment to checks and balances and more generally to the rule of law strongly argue against self-pardoning."

Unknown said...

"Not that I care much, Unk, but who are you quoting?"

Read the article that Althouse linked to.

harrogate said...

Thanks for the clarifications, y'all.

How odd though, to pardon yourself for things unspecified and/ or things you haven't done.

To quote Dodgeball, I find GOP rule about as "useful as a poopy-flavored lollipop," but this Russia caterwauling has just been even less useful than that.

Sad!

Mark said...

The assertion that a president could pardon himself is grounded in the executive power residing in the president and because the language of the Constitution does not expressly exclude the possibility.

However, the whole purpose of the president is to see that the laws are faithfully executed, which means not exempting himself as if he were above the law. Moreover, implicit in the idea of pardon is that it applies to another. One cannot forgive himself. And for thousands of years, it has been a principle that one cannot be a judge in his own case.

That a president could murder hundreds or thousands or commit any number of crimes against humanity and then say, "You can't touch me, I pardon myself," would be an obvious absurdity. And the Constitution does not implement such gross absurdities. Like any other true "law," it must comport with right reason.

Otherwise, it would be an injustice, and unjust law is no law at all.

Hagar said...

Uknown, llr Chuck, and others may think it a "crime against humanity" that "Rodney Dangerfield" Trump was elected President of the United States and so grounds for impeachment, but perhaps they should consider that by traducing him as they do, they are also traducing all of us who voted for him and may well also succeed in irritating some more people into voting for him next year.

Achilles said...

Bad Lieutenant said...
Not that I care much, Unk, but who are you quoting?

The Vox story Althouse linked to. Vox does some mind reading and determines that Trump is going to pardon himself and everyone. It goes on to quote a bunch of leftist "law professors."

It is another fantasy world imagination meant to keep idiots like Inga on the Dem plantation and keep them from noticing the DNC rigged their primary.

Unknown said...

"...but perhaps they should consider that by traducing him as they do, they are also traducing all of us who voted for him and may well also succeed in irritating some more people into voting for him next year."

Does not matter, not even worth considering, it's just that foolish. He won't get any more votes in 2020 because of people revealing him and his possible ciminial activity. The next Presidential election is not "next year" BTW. If you consider yourself to be traduced because people have noticed Trump's negative qualities and have remarked on them, then I would ask, why is your self worth so connected to Trump's?

Michael K said...

The left has worked itself up into this week's hysteria with an anonymous report that Trump made inquiries about pardoning himself.

I wonder what the following week's hysteria will be ?

Maybe we could get a mole into the DNC fantasy creation workshop and steal the hysteria stimulus for the next couple of months.

It would be pretty funny watching the left running around with a whole month's worth of fantasies.

Michael K said...

Richard Fernandez has the real question.

Who will win the Cold Civil War ?

Each side is increasingly drifting toward "different truths" in Bernstein's phrase, and American politics is bifurcating under separate banners. As with marital divorces, much of the fuel for political estrangement is the lack of money. Government has long lived beyond its means. "Health care is devouring the budget. ... federal health spending has jumped to 5.5 percent of GDP today, on its way to a projected 9.3 percent thirty years from now." Now the money is running out. State funding for higher education dropped in 2016, with Illinois leading the collapse. Pensions are at risk. "According to a 2015 study from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA), public pension funds are around $1 trillion in the red," writes Forbes. "They’re facing two major problems: a severe rise in the old-age dependency ratio and dwindling investment returns."

Fighting over scraps.

Socialism eventually runs out of other people's money.

Unknown said...

"The Vox story Althouse linked to....It goes on to quote a bunch of leftist "law professors.""


Maybe those law professors should just ask for Achilles' vaunted legal opinions.

Kevin said...

He should pardon Clinton and Obama. Get that long national nightmare finally over.

His only response should be, "I've seen the classified files. They know what they did."

Hagar said...

I remember reading somewhere that in 1788 the constitutional convention in Virginia was rather against adopting the proposed Constitution of the United States, but Patrick Henry spoke so long and so hard against it that in the end they voted for it just to annoy him.

Hagar said...

Of course, by that time it no longer mattered since Delaware(?) already had become the 9th state in favor.

Feste said...

"Answer: Yes."

Matters not,
7th Seal peeled back,
man in black comes,
in time,
says,
“I’m [political] death.
You ready?
That game,
you’‘re playing,
is Mine.”

FullMoon said...

Meade said...

He should pardon Clinton and Obama. Get that long national nightmare finally over.
7/22/17, 12:18 PM

Yep, then read a long, long list of crimes real and imagined that he is pardoning them for. Put them in awkward position of claiming innocence and opening themselves up to arguments for and against. Throw in Holder Rice, and some others for flavor.

Achilles said...

Unknown said...

Maybe those law professors should just ask for Achilles' vaunted legal opinions.

Lawyers are in general very limited thinkers and very literal. They are also programmed to think in a certain way. It is a form of logic that leads to having the answer you want and finding justification for it. They will argue this, but it is the essential truth of their existence. They are to truth what global warmism is to science. They are specialists.

Your key problem on this thread and in general on this topic is you think like a specialist. You grab the scrap of information that is thrown in front of you and you follow it down a rabbit hole to a conclusion you already had in mind. You are completely unaware of the world around you.

This makes you predictable. This is why Trump is beating you.

Unknown said...

"Lawyers are in general very limited thinkers and very literal. They are also programmed to think in a certain way."

Oh how sad. They should be programmed to think like a Trumpist sycophant, such as yourself.

Unknown said...

"This is why Trump is beating you."

Trump is beating his loyal subjects, his sycophants,, but they haven't a clue as to what is happening to them.

Michael K said...

"They should be programmed to think like a Trumpist sycophant, such as yourself."

Lack of self awareness seems a leftist virtue of some sort.

It's an interesting phenomenon.

FullMoon said...

Achilles shotguns...

Unknown said...

Maybe those law professors should just ask for Achilles' vaunted legal opinions.

Lawyers are in general very limited thinkers and very literal. They are also programmed to think in a certain way. It is a form of logic that leads to having the answer you want and finding justification for it. They will argue this, but it is the essential truth of their existence. They are to truth what global warmism is to science. They are specialists.

Your key problem on this thread and in general on this topic is you think like a specialist. You grab the scrap of information that is thrown in front of you and you follow it down a rabbit hole to a conclusion you already had in mind. You are completely unaware of the world around you.

This makes you predictable. This is why Trump is beating you.

7/22/17, 1:11 PM


Blogger Unknown bleeds..

"Lawyers are in general very limited thinkers and very literal. They are also programmed to think in a certain way."

Oh how sad. They should be programmed to think like a Trumpist sycophant, such as yourself.

7/22/17, 1:14 PM


Jesus, inga, you would have been better off pretending you did not read the comment.

Unknown said...

"Lack of self awareness seems a Trumpist virtue of some sort.

It's a dangerous phenomenon."

FTFU

David said...

Indeed. Impeachment is the remedy.

"Though there's strong arguments that he shouldn't be able to pardon himself."

So make the argument, smarty pants. What is it?

Hint: there is no credible argument. But hearing the incredible would be fun.

FullMoon said...

Unknowninga gasps for breath...

"Lack of self awareness seems a Trumpist virtue of some sort.

It's a dangerous phenomenon."

FTFU

7/22/17, 1:22 PM


OMG! Stop while there is still time. Even I am beginning to feel sorry for you. Go for a walk, call a friend, attend a meeting.Say a prayer.

Achilles said...

Oh well.

Ann Althouse said...

Back in the 1990s, I did a conlaw exam on the question whether the President has the power to pardon himself. It was back when Bill Clinton was committing crimes.

Bob Ellison said...

If we're going to pretend to know the law and the Constitution, we should at least toddle up to the third-grade level.

The Constitution says the President can pardon except in case of impeachment. "...he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

We can amend it.

Ann Althouse said...

The check is political. And he'd be inviting impeachment, which is strong pressure. The impeachment power (along with the desire for political approval) are enough to balance the power to pardon himself. Since there's no relevant express limit on the President's power and no strong reason to find an implied limit, he has the power.

At the link, Mark Tushnet, a man of the left, gives the straightforward answer:

"The president's constitutional power to pardon "offenses against the United States" is limited only by excluding "cases of Impeachment." A self-pardon for ordinary criminal offenses does not fall within that exception, on my understanding. 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), but the response the Constitution creates for such misconduct is impeachment, a political rather than criminal remedy."

I wouldn't be surprised if he was asked the question back when Bill Clinton got into so much trouble and that's what he said back then. You can't be President-specific in questions like this. It's not that hard to get right, and the fact that there are other lawprofs over at Vox saying whatever doesn't make me feel the slightest bit confused about it.

Michael K said...

Inga demonstrates what I commented about.

Thank you, Inga.

Birkel said...

Delaware was the First State.
It's right there on their license plates.

New Hampshire was ninth.

Bob Ellison said...

That's why I wanna be President. I didn't mean to burn those french fries in the toaster and start that fire.

Birkel said...

Can somebody give a definition of the word plenary?

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...
The check is political. And he'd be inviting impeachment, which is strong pressure. The impeachment power (along with the desire for political approval) are enough to balance the power to pardon himself. Since there's no relevant express limit on the President's power and no strong reason to find an implied limit, he has the power.

Ann Althouse said...
Back in the 1990s, I did a conlaw exam on the question whether the President has the power to pardon himself. It was back when Bill Clinton was committing crimes.

Before I continue this post I am going to say that I don't think Ms. Althouse falls into the specialist trap as badly as other lawyers. But the nature of this particular blog is to posit a topic and comment on it specifically while trying to avoid broader implications.

I just wanted to try to drag some more intelligent people into the discussion of how lawyers think and why Trump is pricking them forward so easily. I think Journalists are falling into the specialist trap also. Well that is obvious I guess...

I also wanted to work Michael K's line of thinking in here as well. If Trump is impeached people are not looking at the broader implications. The Cold Civil War will no longer be cold.

Bob Ellison said...

Birkel, see under dialecticism.

tcrosse said...

If Gerald Ford could pardon Nixon, could not President Pence pardon Donald Trump for crimes yet to be determined ? I am informed that proof of these is on the horizon, which is an imaginary line that recedes as one approaches it.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Setting aside doubts about WaPo's anonymous sources; if you were President with all this BS going on wouldn't you be curious to know what your pardon powers might be just as part of the process? I know it's a question I would ask- if for no reason, but curiosity - especially if I am being reminded of the Scooter Libby travesty. It's not a stupid question and, in reality, means nothing other than Trump may be curious whether there is some leverage to be gotten through the threat of a pardon.

Brookzene said...

He was asked to make inquiries on behalf of Jared.

Achilles said...

tcrosse said...
If Gerald Ford could pardon Nixon, could not President Pence pardon Donald Trump for crimes yet to be determined ? I am informed that proof of these is on the horizon, which is an imaginary line that recedes as one approaches it.

President Pence would be watching DC burn from Air Force One and hoping he wasn't implicated in the coup. He wouldn't be worrying himself over who to pardon.

Unknown said...

@Michael K said "Lack of self awareness seems a leftist virtue of some sort."

All your comments are of a similar rant type. Is that all you got big guy. Demonstrates the intelligence of a snowflake which gives snowflakes a bad name.

Jim at said...

So now we're speculating Trump could pardon himself for crimes or misdeeds or simply pissing off the left by winning the election?

That's what it's come to?

Snort.

Any day now, leftists, and you'll finally get Trump.

Any.
Day.
Now.

Hagar said...

Is there any names attached to this report of Trump asking about his pardon powers?

Tushnet's answer is not all that straight-forward for someone as obtuse as I. Does it not boil down to that the President cannot stop an impeachment with consequent removal from office upon conviction, but he can stop any subsequent criminal prosecution based on the same grounds as the articles of impeachment?

antiphone said...

Socialism eventually runs out of other people's money.

Running out of other people's money is not an insoluble problem. Ask the Donald, he's done it many times.

Brookzene said...

Any day now, leftists, and you'll finally get Trump.

Any day now, you'll finally get Trump's agenda.

Birkel said...

In which antiphone confuses Donald Trump, Sr., the man, with his business enterprises that were all found to be separate legal entities. It's a common failing of a partisan hoping to make partisan points.

The difference, of course, is that when the entities joined others in contracts, they did so willingly on all sides. There was no coercion and no threat of armed men coming to put them in jail if they did not participate. That a Leftist cannot see the screaming chasm between freely entered contracts where bankruptcy was a possible final outcome, with a government that can force you to do what you otherwise might wish not to do is an ETHICAL and MORAL failure.

Go and think.

Birkel said...

Brookzene:
Your keypad to God's ears.

Over 800 regulations repealed.
Only a few hundred thousand left to go.

Brookzene said...

I dunno Birkel. Seems he's accomplished about as little as a President with the benefit of both houses could accomplish in six months. And yes, thank God.

Brookzene said...

Donald Trump, bringing us together in prayers of gratitude for how he's managed his first six months in office. A uniter.

Brookzene said...

Actually I shouldn't be snarky. No one should. This last six months is about as much of a nightmare as America should ever have to stand.

Birkel said...

I cannot make you go and read the things that have been done. And I congratulate you on accomplishing your goal of ignoring those things you wish were not so.

But the fact is, Trump has signed roughly 50 pieces of legislation.
And his cabinet has been hard at work reversing the growth of centralized government that Obama caused with his pen and phone.

I expect the Judiciary Committee to get to work in short order. I expect Chuck Schemer to have lots of sad days when filibuster proof judges are appointed.

Stay ignorant, my friend.

antiphone said...

...a government that can force you to do what you otherwise might wish not to do is an ETHICAL and MORAL failure.

All government is, by these standards, unethical and immoral and laws should be called instead, suggestions.

Unknown said...

T ... RU ... MP

Geddit? Russia is in the middle of everything Trump has done wrong.



Michael K said...

"This last six months is about as much of a nightmare as a leftist American should ever have to stand."

FIFY

Michael K said...

" Is that all you got big guy."

No but pearls before swine and all that.

Birkel said...

antiphone:
It is a cruel world you occupy, with only black white and burning straw men. How desolate. You avoided the critical distinction I offered. You stayed ignorant as I knew you would. Commendable.

The reason the Constitution was written to limit the power of the federal government was as a recognition that government can be unethical and immoral. So it should be limited to keep people from exercising the worst.

Now you can explain how entering a private, consensual contract is in any way the same as your relationship to government. Stay ignorant.

Unknown said...

"President Pence would be watching DC burn from Air Force One and hoping he wasn't implicated in the coup. He wouldn't be worrying himself over who to pardon."

And this type of comment is why I know that such extremists are not nearly as intelligent as they imagine themselves to be. If they were to have more functioning brain cells and a healthy psychological profile, they'd know just how bizzare these threats of burning and mayhem are. I believe the majority of Americans, even most Trump supporters, will be capeable of recognizing that America will not and should not tolerate a criminal running the countr. When the investigations are over, we all will be able to see for ourselves. We are a nation of laws, not extremist psychopaths.

Birkel said...

Hey UnknownInga51.

Unknown said...

"Is there any names attached to this report of Trump asking about his pardon powers?"
------------------------------
"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. FAKE NEWS," Trump tweet.

Why should we believe any of the reporting is fake news? Not exactly a credible source himself, lol.


jaed said...

Tushnet's answer is not all that straight-forward for someone as obtuse as I. Does it not boil down to that the President cannot stop an impeachment with consequent removal from office upon conviction, but he can stop any subsequent criminal prosecution based on the same grounds as the articles of impeachment?

Basically. The pardon power applies to federal criminal prosecution: the President is empowered to pardon anyone who has committed or might have committed an offense against federal law. (Including, by the letter of the Constitution, himself. The wording doesn't say "except himself"; the power is unlimited.) A pardon precludes Federal prosecution, or vacates conviction if the prosecution has already taken place.

Impeachment, however, isn't a criminal proceeding. The pardon power therefore does not apply to it, and the Constitution also states this specifically. The only sanction available in impeachment is removal from office. Impeaching an official can't put him in prison or fine him or execute him; that would have to be a criminal proceeding.

(This limit is on all impeachments, not just of the President. If, say, a SC justice were impeached, tried, and removed from office, the President couldn't use the pardon power to put that justice back, even if he considered the impeachment and trial to be corrupt or unjust.)

And one more thing, the President's pardon power doesn't apply to any state-level prosecutions; the President doesn't have any power over those.

Birkel said...

It's mainly the fakeness of the news that makes people think the news is fake: FAKE NEWS.

antiphone said...

The reason the Constitution was written to limit the power of the federal government was as a recognition that government can be unethical and immoral. So it should be limited to keep people from exercising the worst.

Now you can explain how entering a private, consensual contract is in any way the same as your relationship to government. Stay ignorant.


It doesn't matter much what kind of ...ism you want to attach to it, contracts don't mean anything without an enforcement mechanism, laws, regulations, government. Trump has exploited a rigged system,one that's rigged in favor of charlatans and frauds like himself. To claim that this makes him uniquely qualified to "drain the swamp", --as he has-- now requires evidence that he's doing it, got any?


Birkel said...

antiphone:
One of the mechanisms is bankruptcy for the entity. Stay ignorant.

Unknown said...

"And one more thing, the President's pardon power doesn't apply to any state-level prosecutions; the President doesn't have any power over those."

Yes indeed.

"Presidential pardons can’t apply to state prosecutions. That means state attorneys general, especially New York’s Eric Schneiderman, Washington, D.C.’s Karl Racine, and Delaware’s Matthew Denn should think about canceling their summer vacation plans. (Yes, Delaware. Go Google “quo warranto,” see this old post, or better yet continue reading.) And maybe they should open up some office space for Mueller and his A-Team when he inevitably gets fired for getting closer and closer to hard evidence of serious crimes.

The president cannot pardon people for state crimes. Even if Trump pardons, say, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a state prosecutor can bring charges under state law anytime. Similarly, Trump can be prosecuted under state law. President Richard Nixon’s attorney general concluded in 1974 that a sitting president can’t be indicted, but there is no constitutional text or precedent for such a conclusion—and it was obviously an interpretation that benefited Nixon. I think this is an open question."

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/07/no_matter_who_he_fires_or_pardons_trump_won_t_be_able_to_escape_state_attorneys.html

Birkel said...

Further, my claim is that you are ignorant and espouse political rhetoric that your better have put in your mouth without care or concern for how foolish you sound to anybody familiar with the underlying issues. All the rest of the crap you tried to put in my mouth, I reject as so many straw men.

Your life is surrounded by Unknown Unknowns. Try to imagine why.

Birkel said...

UnknownInga51,

Imagine if all the qualifiers were gone and there was a single solid sentence supported by evidence. Imagine that.

Michael K said...

Too much leftist tit for tat stuff here today.

Get a life,

It's Saturday. There are days when there is interesting discussion here but this is not one of them.

Earnest Prole said...

Yes, yes, "Cold Civil War." While scattered internet dopes left and right fantasize about murdering each other, the vast number of ordinary people trust that our system of checks and balances will produce the compromises that will allow us to muddle through tough times and eventually thrive again. It's called the Genius of American Politics.

Khesanh 0802 said...

Probably the real question here is: "Why would Trump bring this up other than to send the MSM into a screaming tizzy... once again? Really, what other point could there be?

Achilles said...

I believe the majority of Americans, even most Trump supporters, will be capeable of recognizing that America will not and should not tolerate a criminal running the countr. When the investigations are over, we all will be able to see for ourselves. We are a nation of laws, not extremist psychopaths.

Bill Clinton is an admitted rapist. He paid a settlement to keep the case quiet.

Obama knowingly emailed classified material to Hillary's private server.

We have noticed that you really don't give a shit about the laws. You selectively apply them when it gains you power. You were going to elect Hillary Clinton. A known criminal. The left did it's best to destroy the rule of law.

Now we watch you go on a Stalinist witch hunt to find a crime Trump committed so you can commit a coup.

I know you are too stupid to actually think through these things. But when the curtain comes down and you are forced to look back on your mistakes they are manifest and obvious. For you people history starts today. You have not the ability to reflect or think.

Unknown said...

"We have noticed that you really don't give a shit about the laws."

How? You've got a magic eight ball or a crystal ball of some sort?

"Now we watch you go on a Stalinist witch hunt to find a crime Trump committed so you can commit a coup."

Who is "we"? Do you speak for everyone here? Are you their spokesman? God forbid the majority of Althouse commenters also are delusional extremists, such as yourself.

hombre said...

The article isn't particularly enlightening except to demonstrate the extent to which some of the leftmedia's pet law professors are: A) prepared to speculate about the unproven premise that the President is considering pardoning himself as an excuse to make derogatory remarks about him; B. Are willing to forward absurd ideas to cast him in a negative light. E.g., The pardon wouldn't affect the Mueller investigation. The pardon should lead to impeachment. The pardon is an admission of guilt. All bollocks!

Lefty law profs and lefty judges are frequently partisan pimps. Since I don't know which are and which aren't, the safe bet is to wait and see who proves otherwise. I won't be holding my breath.

hombre said...

"Don't you have to be convicted of something before you can be pardoned?"

No. Clinton pardoned Marc Rich for offenses for which he had been indicted but not convicted - for no legitimate reason.

hombre said...

Unknown (3:13): "I believe the majority of Americans, even most Trump supporters, will be capeable of recognizing that America will not and should not tolerate a criminal running the country."

Oh, bullshit. Don't you still claim that crooked Hillary got a majority of the votes? Regardless, most Democrats were content with the idea of President Hillary despite the fact that there is actually evidence of her crimes that has been put before then many times. In fact, Democrats rejoiced at the Comey/FBI whitewash of her email felonies.

Truth is, today's Democrats are by and large at least amoral and consider any observation of the dishonesty of their leaders a matter of lèse majesté.

Michael K said...

Who is "we"? Do you speak for everyone here? Are you their spokesman? God forbid the majority of Althouse commenters also are delusional extremists, such as yourself.

I agree with him, not fools like you with your Trump obsession.

However, I have better things to do that read the droppings of leftist hysterics.

Unknown said...

"I agree with him....."

You would. Not surprising.

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Unknowninga: Na-na-na-nah!!! And so is your old man!

bgates said...

In the debates surrounding the framing of the Constitution, the framers were very clear

When it comes to firearms or the concept of a government of limited, enumerated powers, the Constitution is as obscure and vague to Ezra Klein's outfit as a three word sentence fragment from one of those lost plays of Greek antiquity, but for this one specific hypothetically anti-Trump purpose, the fog lifts and for a moment the hacks at Vox embrace original public meaning.

n.n said...

the fog lifts and for a moment the hacks at Vox embrace original public meaning

They're Pro-Choice, selective, unprincipled, and opportunistic. Their religion operates at the twilight fringe.

iowan2 said...

Non-lawyer here. Why would the president need to pardon himself from a criminal act? He needs only order the DOJ, not to prosecute. (Like Lynch,and, Comey did for Clinton's wife). AGAIN, political blowback is the only check on the power of the executive. Republicans controlled the house and senate and could have impeached Obama, but Republicans keep doing the honorable thing, and in return are treated to FAKE RUSSIA!!!! non stop for 9 months and the Democrats refusing, for the first time in history, to a peaceful turn over of power.

Night Owl said...

I doubt Trump is thinking of pardoning himself. More wishful thinking on the part of the media. Just like they speculated that Trump was going to use executive privilege to stop Comey from testifying. We all know how that turned out.

After a year or more of intelligence leaks, spying and investigations, and getting through the campaign unscathed, and years of IRS audits, Trump probably feels pretty confident that the army of lawyers will turn up nothing criminal and the investigation will be a big loss for the opposition-- basically just a continuation of what's been going on since he won. No need to pardon himself if the lawyers can't find any crime.

Scott Adams says Trump's is signaling that he'll pardon anyone the frustrated lawyers try to accuse of dancing with the devil (my paraphrase.) Adams is probably right.

Night Owl said...

"Trump" not "Trump's", in the last paragraph.

Michael K said...

Trump's is signaling that he'll pardon anyone the frustrated lawyers try to accuse of dancing with the devil (my paraphrase.) Adams is probably right.

I agree with that and bitterly regretted that Bush did not pardon Libby. It took him far down in my estimation.

Trump derangement proceeds apace,

Bad Lieutenant said...

He need only find that no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute anyone in Trump's Administration. That seems to be more or less the truth.

gadfly said...

The solution of using presidential pardons fits the dishonest bent present in the questionable character of Narcissus Trump, the non-Greek-speaking God of Stupidity. Those accepting pardons must admit to the crime and that would include Trump if he attempted to pardon himself.

But it seems that there indeed may be a limitation to presidential pardon power, according to the NY Times, if the study performed by Ken Starr's staff in the Clinton impeachment has any bearing.

Rusty said...

bgates said...
"In the debates surrounding the framing of the Constitution, the framers were very clear

When it comes to firearms or the concept of a government of limited, enumerated powers, the Constitution is as obscure and vague to Ezra Klein's outfit as a three word sentence fragment from one of those lost plays of Greek antiquity, but for this one specific hypothetically anti-Trump purpose, the fog lifts and for a moment the hacks at Vox embrace original public meaning."

Which is why Vox and those that reference Vox should be given the same weight in consideration as , say, The Weekly Reader.

virgil xenophon said...

@Rusty/

LOL. I'm 73. Is the Weekly Reader even published any more? And if it is are there any 4th graders around even capable of reading it in todays "schools?"

Bad Lieutenant said...

gadfly said...
Those accepting pardons must admit to the crime and that would include Trump if he attempted to pardon himself.

This is a lie.


Blogger Night Owl said...
I doubt Trump is thinking of pardoning himself. More wishful thinking on the part of the media.


What happened is, Trump asked how this could all be put behind them, and someone said, "You could pardon them." Trump asked for an explanation and got one. This constituted the "Trump asks about pardoning himself" clickbait.

Gospace said...

iowan2 said...
Non-lawyer here. Why would the president need to pardon himself from a criminal act? He needs only order the DOJ, not to prosecute. (Like Lynch,and, Comey did for Clinton's wife). AGAIN, political blowback is the only check on the power of the executive. Republicans controlled the house and senate and could have impeached Obama, but Republicans keep doing the honorable thing, and in return are treated to FAKE RUSSIA!!!! non stop for 9 months and the Democrats refusing, for the first time in history, to a peaceful turn over of power.


Democrats refusing, for the second time, to a peaceful turnover of power. There is that little unpleasantness from 1861-1865 to consider. It was Democrats then, and Democrats today.