Yesterday I wrote that I was seeing clear signs Donald Trump’s kids had begun trying to steer him toward pardoning them – and himself – and then resigning (link). As of this evening, there is now official confirmation that Trump has indeed begun the process of trying to figure out how to pardon himself and his family. This means, in no uncertain terms, that he’s looking for a way out of the presidency, and he’s looking for it as we speak.
Take a look at these two sentences from a brand new article in the Washington Post: “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.” (link). And there it is. Trump is now seriously entertaining the scenario in which he tries to pardon everyone he can, and then beats a path out the door. But as I explained last night (link), it’s not that simple for him.
There is no expert legal consensus as to whether the Constitution allows a president to pardon himself, his family, or his alleged co-conspirators. This is because no president, not even Nixon, has ever tried it before. If Donald Trump tries to go this route, the Supreme Court would likely end up having to decide whether these pardons would hold up. And in any case, Trump can’t pardon himself or anyone else from the state level charges that he’s likely to face in New York State for his alleged financial crimes the minute he leaves office. But one thing about this is clear.
Even someone as oblivious as Donald Trump is aware that if he tries to pardon himself or his kids or his campaign staff, his presidency will end right then and there. The public will see him as being guilty, all but his base will abandon him, and his approval rating will drop deep into the twenties. Even his Republican allies will turn against him for fear of his toxic unpopularity rubbing off on them. So if Trump does bust out the pardons, it means he’s planning to exit stage left. If you find Palmer Report valuable, make a donation.
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