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Politics Donald Trump Pardoning Himself Is Being Debated, but Is There Precedent for It?

12:50  28 november  2020
12:50  28 november  2020 Source:   newsweek.com

Trump cancelled his annual plan to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, as aides describe a 'bunker mentality' at the White House

  Trump cancelled his annual plan to spend Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, as aides describe a 'bunker mentality' at the White House Since the election President Donald Trump has largely confined himself to the White House, watching cable news, tweeting, and firing senior officials.Trump has kept a low profile since his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden, making few public appearances but maintaining his customary stream of tweets.

There is growing speculation that President Donald Trump could decide to issue himself a presidential pardon before leaving office in January, as a way to shield himself It states that "the president … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States

There is increasing speculation about Trump pardoning himself . "I actually think it 's time to look at the power of the pardon , not because of what Donald Trump is doing, but because for decades if not centuries, and in fact over multiple administrations, the power of the pardon has been abused," Cupp

The possibility that President Donald Trump could try to pardon himself has become the focus of speculation in the media and on social networking sites in recent days as his administration enters its final weeks.

Donald Trump, Mike Pence posing for a photo in a suit and tie: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) speaks as Vice President Mike Pence (R) looks on in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump made brief remarks about the stock market hitting 30,000. Speculation has mounted about Trump pardoning himself. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images U.S. President Donald Trump (L) speaks as Vice President Mike Pence (R) looks on in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump made brief remarks about the stock market hitting 30,000. Speculation has mounted about Trump pardoning himself.

There are outstanding questions about whether a president has the power to self-pardon as no precedent exists, if such a pardon could be overturned and whether it would indicate guilt on his part.

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Giuliani calls it ‘unthinkable’ that Trump would pardon himself . Giuliani’s comments came less than 24 hours after the revelation Saturday that the president’s legal team argued There is no precedent for it and, thus, no case law. Turley said he believes a president can pardon himself — but added that it

There is no precedent that says he cannot pardon himself and a decent legal argument that says he can. There are two questions on the table. First, might Trump pardon himself ? It is far too early to speculate about him facing criminal liability, but he certainly acts like someone who wouldn’t hesitate

On Thursday, CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp weighed in, saying pardon power should be reformed and Trump granting himself clemency would make him look guilty.

"If the president has designs on running again for president, this would certainly imperil that, and I would think encourage other justice departments to really look at what he had done while in office if he is tacitly admitting he needed to be pardoned for stuff," Cupp said.

"I'm not sure this is constitutional or legal, but it seems pretty clear it would be inadvisable for him to do that."

Also on Thursday, CNN commentator Asha Rangappa suggested that a self-pardon "might be a risky move."

Rangappa, a lawyer and senior lecturer at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, said that if the president pardons himself it could set an unwelcome precedent.

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" Trump should pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving Turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has too," Gaetz said on Fox News. "Because you see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after

I am not sanguine about Trump ’s attempt to “ self pardon ” being overturned by the Courts, although it obviously should be . But neither do I believe that the three Supreme Court Justice’s appointed by Trump will automatically support him. After all, they are appointed for life, so there is no reason that

"I think that it would be incumbent on a future Department of Justice to try to challenge that, because you don't want that to be the precedent, or at least you want the Supreme Court to clarify the bounds of this," she said.

Fox News also discussed the issue on Thanksgiving. Host Julie Banderas asked Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason if the president could grant himself a pardon. Mason acknowledged that there were "a lot of question marks" but ultimately said he thought Trump couldn't do so.

On Wedneday, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto posed the hypothetical of whether the president can pardon himself to veteran Republican political consultant Karl Rove.

"He obviously can, but why?" Rove said. "He would have to admit that there were things he had done that were worthy of being pardoned about. Think about the final note that's going to strike.

"Again, it is an unlimited power, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But whether that would be an appropriate use, whether history would judge that harshly, is another question entirely."

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Donald Trump probably has the power to pardon himself in the Russia collusion affair but does not intend to do so, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani says. The question of self - pardon arose after the New York Times published a letter to the counsel from Mr Trump 's lawyers. In it they say he has absolute power

President Donald Trump said Monday he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself . “ There is no language specifying who may or may not be the subject of a pardon ,” wrote legal expert Jonathan But there ’s at least one precedent that experts refer to in arguing a president cannot pardon himself .

In response to Cavuto's point that Trump may be looking to balance those considerations against any legal risk he faces when out of office, Rove added: "Remember, he can pardon for federal offenses, the things that the district attorney in Manhattan is looking into are state offenses, over which he has no authority.

"A governor may be able to issue a pardon for those kind of actions, but the kind of things that the DA in Manhattan is looking at are not federal charges, and therefore, he can't pardon himself of those."

A Trump self-pardon would be precedent-setting. No president in U.S. history has even attempted to grant themself clemency and while there's disagreement among legal scholars about the issue, it has never been tested in the courts.

"No American president, including Richard Nixon, has ever attempted to pardon himself," Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor of American politics at American University, told Newsweek. However, Crouch believes the president has the power of self-pardon.

Nixon resigned from office in 1974 as a result of the Watergate Scandal. He received a pardon from his successor, Gerald Ford, who had served as Nixon's vice president.

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Brian C. Kalt, professor of law at Michigan State University, doesn't believe Trump can pardon himself. He told Newsweek: "Granting a pardon is something that can only be done from one person to another. Linguistically, both 'grant' and 'pardon' are inherently bilateral."

"There is a venerable principle in American law that you cannot be the judge in your own case," Kalt said.

Because no president has tried to pardon himself, there is no legal precedent around the matter. Glenn Kirschner, legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, has argued such a pardon could be challenged.

"If Trump delivers a pardon to stop the recipient from providing incriminating information about him, such a pardon would be corrupt & challengeable in court," Kirschner tweeted on November 26.

"If Trump pardons HIMSELF, that would be corrupt & challengeable in court. Presidential pardons are NOT unchallengeable."

There is no consensus among legal experts about the ability to challenge or overturn a presidential pardon but there's also little precedent on the issue. Ultimately, these questions would likely be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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