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Politics A primer on presidential family pardons

16:25  05 december  2020
16:25  05 december  2020 Source:   thehill.com

Trump Pardons His Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for Lying to FBI

  Trump Pardons His Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for Lying to FBI President Trump said Wednesday he had pardoned Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, declaring it a “Great Honor” just in time for Thanksgiving. “Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” the outgoing president tweeted. It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!” the outgoing president tweeted.It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon.

A federal pardon in the United States is the action of the President of the United States that completely sets aside the punishment for a federal crime.

A presidential pardon is a right granted to the President of the United States by the U.S. Constitution to forgive a person for a crime, or to excuse a person However, presidents can only grant pardons for violations of federal laws. In addition, a presidential pardon only provides immunity from federal

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: A primer on presidential family pardons © Getty Images A primer on presidential family pardons

In an earlier piece, I predicted that one of the things Donald Trump would do as a lame duck president is begin to pardon a lot of people, ultimately perhaps himself. This week finds him warming up his pardon pen, with talk of his active consideration of pardons for his family becoming viral on social media.

What follows is a quick primer on the presidential pardon power and how it applies to any pardons involving his family.

Can a president grant preemptive pardons?

Yes.

"A preemptive pardon is a presidential pardon granted before any formal legal process has begun," American University professor Jeffrey Crouch commented to National Public Radio this week.

Trump ponders more pardons after Flynn

  Trump ponders more pardons after Flynn President Trump may have shunned the convention of delivering a concession speech and kept largely out of the public eye since his election defeat, but he does plan to follow one tradition of a departing president. © Provided by Washington Examiner Aides are drawing up proposals for a string of pardons before he leaves office. One, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was crossed off the list Wednesday after he received a full pardon from Trump.

A presidential pardon is the right given to US presidents to pardon others for committing crimes, to commute the sentences of To deal with the number of pardon requests, the Office of the Pardon Attorney reviews pardons , and makes recommendations to the president on which petitions may be

Each day brings new reporting about how President Donald Trump might creatively stretch and bend his expansive pardon power not just to protect himself but also to shield his children and his closest associates from future legal problems -- all moves that would test the spirit of the power and legal

In other words, let's assume that a member of the president's family has committed a federal crime. Given that the crime has already occurred, it can now be pardoned. The notion that a president must wait until the person is charged with the crime, indicted, pleadings are filed, there is a trial and so on, is a legal fiction.

Even if he pardons his family?

Seemingly yes.

It is clear that family pardons are something President Trump is considering.

President Clinton issued a pardon for his half-brother Roger Clinton after he served a year in prison for pleading guilty to cocaine distribution charges. The pardon was one of 140 Clinton issued on his last day in office and the only presidential family pardon currently part of our nation's historical record.

Who Did Barack Obama Pardon?

  Who Did Barack Obama Pardon? The former president was responsible for 212 pardons and 1.927 total acts of clemency in eight years.Flynn is a high profile case as he admitted lying to the FBI and agreed to co-operate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe but later sought to withdraw his guilty plea.

Here's how presidential pardons work. Presidential pardoning power was written into the Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution. The Constitution isn't exactly clear on how far presidential pardoning power can be extended. Now, President Donald Trump is testing the idea that he could pardon

Dept. of Health and Human Services. Dept. of Labor. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Dept. of Transportation. Dept. of Energy. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Dept. of the Interior. Dept. of Agriculture. Dept. of Commerce. Cabinet-level offices. White House Chief of Staff.

However, back to the point above, if President Trump pardons his family, what would be truly unprecedented is that he would be pardoning family members who are not currently accused of federal crimes. This is where things really become historically interesting.

Can he really pardon his wife?

Yes, and maybe there's a remote chance that there's a no in there somewhere.

The is a longstanding legal doctrine about husband and wife called spousal privilege. In general, it permits a married criminal defendant to prevent his spouse from testifying against him. No matter the nature of a legal proceeding, either spouse holds a privilege to refuse disclosure of confidential communications made between the spouses while they remained husband and wife. Both spouses hold the privilege, and it does not matter which one is party to a case.

Even if President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were to divorce, this does not terminate the privilege retroactively. Any confidential communications made before they divorced would remain protected from disclosure.

Opinion: What America's former Presidents can teach Trump about pardons

  Opinion: What America's former Presidents can teach Trump about pardons Thomas Balcerski writes rather than invoking pardons for purely partisan ends, President Donald Trump should take notes from his predecessors, including Warren Harding and Jimmy Carter, and use this power to help unify the country after a contentious election cycle.Last week, President Donald Trump announced three major pardons -- two traditional pardons for two turkeys named Corn and Cob on Tuesday and a controversial pardon of his former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Wednesday. For a President still hotly railing against the results of the presidential election, the Thanksgiving turkey pardons struck a strangely conventional note.

The pardon power is one of the most sweeping powers the president has. But Trump's pardons are raising new questions about its purpose and limits. In other words, a robust presidential pardon power is a necessary check on the criminal justice system. Are there any limits to whom the president

clemency involving presidential family members or crimes against Congress and explicitly outlaw presidents from pardoning themselves. Clinton prompted an investigation in Congress, saying that lawmakers had no power whatsoever to put restrictions or conditions on presidential pardon powers.

Is there a valid legal theory that could be constructed around the spousal privilege that would preclude a presidential spouse from a pardon? Maybe, but even if there were, this incarnation of the Supreme Court would be unlikely to entertain it for long.

Refresh my memory - does a presidential pardon apply to federal and state crimes?

No. Just federal crimes. So even if the president could preemptively pardon his family, he would not have the power to absolve them of the many potential state crimes that they may or may not have committed.

From what we know, most of President Trump's current legal problems are at the state level in New York, where he is being investigated on a range of charges by Manhattan's district attorney, Cyrus Vance. We don't know the extent to which the investigation and potential state charge might extend to his family.

Will President Trump's pardons be legally-binding?

Yes.

The pardon powers of the president are based on Article Two of the United States Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1), which provides: "The President ... shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of impeachment."

Trump’s pardon shenanigans are ramping up

  Trump’s pardon shenanigans are ramping up Flynn is likely just the start.Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators back in 2017 — but that’s not all Trump pardoned him for.

The appearance of corruption in a presidential pardon means nothing legally.

When all is said and done, there is really nothing that can be done to stop or even offer a viable challenge to President Trump's forthcoming pardons. The presidential pardon authority is extremely broad, and the Constitution intentionally provides no way for a presidential pardon to be reviewed.

That may be a little difficult to digest, especially with how many bitter and jagged pills we have had to consume in 2020, but it's the truth.

But couldn't the next Department of Justice (DOJ) pursue Trump for these pardons?

Yes, but they won't. It would be remarkably politically ill-advised and seen by Trump and his supporters as another witch hunt.

While the Biden DOJ could try to build a case around the illegality of corrupt pardons, the federal courts have recognized that pardon authority is at the discretion of the executive. Absent a constitutional amendment (which isn't coming in the next six weeks, if ever) limiting a president's pardon power, this is probably a judicial and political hill on which the legal arms of the Biden administration should choose not to fight.

Aron Solomon is the senior digital strategist for NextLevel.com and an adjunct professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University.

Live politics updates: Biden secures the number of electors needed to defeat Trump, become president .
Biden has the electors to be president; Trump pressures Kemp to get the state legislature to flip Georgia ahead of rally – politics updates.President Donald Trump has cleared the way for Biden's team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race.

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This is interesting!