by Lauren Wynn
In a move that is being described as quintessentially Trumpian, the President is seeking guidance on his Presidential pardon powers. In a Washington Post article published last night, it was revealed that several members of Trump’s legal team are looking into the President’s ability to pardon not only himself but also his aides and family members as the Russia probe continues full-throttle.
While the entire conversation is hypothetical at the moment — one must have committed a crime in order to be pardoned — it is an interesting one and one which has yet to be decided in a court of law. The Constitution states that the President
shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. https://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A2Sec2.html
That’s a pretty broad power and it’s a question that received quite a bit of attention during the campaign as pundits mused over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s ability to pardon herself if elected. When the question once again came to the fore thanks to Russiagate, a host of legal minds were called upon for their opinions. Among them was Professor Brian Kalt, a Michigan State University law professor, who once opined that – if tested – the court would likely reject the attempt.
The question on many minds, however, is why would the team be investigating this in the first place? Do they think it might become necessary? Do they believe that Mueller will uncover some nefarious acts by Trump and his minions? Only time will tell, of course, but it’s an interesting set of circumstances to consider: a U.S. President charged with crimes for which he would need a Presidential pardon. The mind boggles.