Conclusion: The President Will Pardon Himself, And Should

POTUS pardon

For a party that has throttled down on the Big Lie that President Trump has been unusually disrespectful of crucial democratic norms, Democrats are remarkably fond of obliterating some of the most crucial norms established since 1792, norms that have served us well. They began by defying the norm of an opposing party accepting the election of a President and beginning his term with a demonstration of good will, loyalty and cooperation. They continued with the abuse of impeachment, dispensing with the requirement of a high crime or “misdemeanor,” seeking President Trump’s removal for conduct indistinguishable from that of his predecessors. Now it is clear as crystal that the party intends to prosecute Trump after he leaves office, criminalizing politics and following the practice of totalitarian regimes like the Soviet Union, which often imprisoned—or killed— political opponents as soon as they lost power.

Democrats have come close to doing this before. They would have prosecuted Nixon, whom they hated almost as much as they hate Trump, had Gerald Ford not courageously taken that opportunity away. Many in the party wanted to prosecute President Bush for “war crimes.” Now there is little question that, driven by a Trump-deranged base and supported by a legal establishment that has abandoned any semblance of objectivity or restraint, as well as a poisonous news media lacking prudence or perspective, Democrats will seek the imprisonment of Donald Trump as a matter of pure revenge. Whether they can prove his guilt of actual crimes is a secondary matter. They want to destroy him as a warning to any other outsider who dares to challenge what they believe is the inevitable progressive ascendancy.

Signaling this plan is, among others, Andrew Weissmann, formerly a top aide to special counsel Robert Mueller. After Trump’s recent pardons, he argued that the President had earned an obstruction of justice charge against himself and called on prosecutors to summon those who were pardoned to testify before grand juries. Weissmann is now a MSNBC analyst who teaches law. After he left the office of the special counsel, he wrote a book that argued that prosecutors ought to be actively seeking to indict the President. He is far from alone in advocating that position.

Given the evidence of determination by his political foes to use the criminal laws to exact their revenge, the President should spare the nation a descent into the culture of banana republics and thuggish dictatorships by removing the tempting target on his back. Pardoning himself would be almost universally criticized; it would haunt Trump’s legacy, and end the already slim chance that he could run successfully in 2024. The pardon would be almost certainly challenged in court, but there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. Indeed, it might well establish a new norm to freeze out the one Democrats would now inflict on American political culture. U.S. Presidents should not be subject to political vendettas using the criminal justice system as a weapon. If preventing that now requires every future POTUS to employ a self-pardon, so be it.

Even a pardon might not stem the hateful determination to satisfy the Trump Deranged among the Axis of Unethical Conduct. The office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has interviewed several employees of President Trump’s bank and insurance broker. The prosecutors have been fighting in court for more than a year to obtain Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, which they have called central to their investigation. Vance’s office is issuing new subpoenas and questioning witnesses, including some before a grand jury. The President’s pardon power applies only to federal crimes, and not to state or local prosecutions.

But Trump can, as Ted Kennedy would say, cross that bridge if and when he comes to it (speaking of non-prosecutions). The first step is to eliminate any chance of federal prosecution by Joe Biden’s henchmen. The President should pardon himself. It’s in the best interests of everyone.

37 thoughts on “Conclusion: The President Will Pardon Himself, And Should

  1. After Trump’s recent pardons, he argued that the President had earned an obstruction of justice charge against himself and called on prosecutors to summon those who were pardoned to testify before grand juries.

    I wonder what he felt about Bill Clinton pardoning Marc Rich.

    Pardoning Rich may have obstructed justice in an ethical sense, but could not in a criminal sense.

  2. Jack wrote:

    “The President should spare the nation a descent into the culture of banana republics and thuggish dictatorships by removing the tempting target on his back. Pardoning himself would be almost universally criticized; it would haunt Trump’s legacy, and end the already slim chance that he could run successfully in 2024.”

    I am not so sure that Trump should spare the nation a descent into the culture of banana republics. Such a descent would impose the costs of such on the very people that allowed it to happen. Why should Trump bear the costs of behaviors that he has no control over?

    I am sorry if the American people are so mindlessly stupid that they would allow their country to go in that direction. I am also not looking forward to the the violence that inevitably occurs when factions vie for power. I wonder how the BLM movement will evolve when America become no different than most African nations? I wonder what the LBGT community will do to appease the Muslim community’s views toward their lifestyle? Will the Latin American cartels impose their ideas on law and order on our judges?

    But if that is what the American people want so be it. And the legacies of Andrew Weisman, Cyrus Vance Jr., et al will go down in history as the men that destroyed the only true beacon of freedom and individual liberty on Earth. Let those men bear the costs.

  3. Honestly, Jack, do you really think that the Democratic Party has gone so far in the Hizbollah direction that they would not count the costs that would go with prosecuting a former president, nor the distinct possibility of it triggering a backlash that they might not be able to handle?

    If Biden, or his handlers, have even a little bit of practical wisdom, they should know that doing that will take the spotlight off the incoming administration and put it right back on Trump, giving him a huge platform to push back and his followers a huge rallying point.

    Then there’s the question of what will happen when the wheel turns and the Democrats find themselves in a severely weakened position. Do they want to find their leaders imprisoned? The last few times the system has stopped short, and actually the one Spanish judge who decided he was going to try to prosecute GWB ended up getting thrown off the bench and later disbarred. I refuse to believe the American people are this foolish. If they are, though, they get what they deserve.

    • Steve-O, I’d like to think you’re correct here, but I question your conclusion. The Dems have proven time and again that they’ll take form-busting actions in order to advance a short-term agenda, only to howl in outrage when Republicans play tit-for-tat. Examples: turning SCOTUS confirmation hearings into shitshows (see: Robert Bork); changing judiciary confirmation votes from 60% favorable to a simple majority; etc.

      Like spoiled children, the Democratic party has a nasty habit of pursuing the shiny object – even if that pursuit ends up taking them right over the edge of the cliff.

    • I think they no longer have the will or the integrity to resist the wackos in their party, who have reached a critical level of power. And even if they haven’t, the chance that they will try to metaphorically hang the President on a hook is too dangerous to risk.

      • The mainstream media are all saying that the squad will probably dissolve at this point. I think that could be an attempt to take the spotlight off of them while they consider more craziness.

  4. If Trump pardons himself he effectively confesses to crimes alleged but never proven. I believe that the Dems want him to pardon himself so they can say he admitted guilt which will then be used in New York to prosecute him at the state level.

    I actually want see if Weisman is willing to push the issue. I want to see if Americans will still stand up against Weisman and others like him.

    The American people have grown too used to playing games without costs. When homes start to burn in the gated communities of the elite, who think nothing of inciting the ignorant masses to believe government is their personal savior, they will begin to understand the evil they unleashed. When the government can no longer give the hoi poloi the bread and circuses they have used to keep them docile that group will factionalize and first coalesce against the government and then against the weak in their own coalition.

    If no one wants the above the the legal profession needs to assert its policing powers over rogue prosecutors and judges.

    It is ironic that the branch of government designed to address injustice will be the one that precipitates the next civil war.

    • Even Trump can make it clear what the pardon means. Pardons have never meant an admission of guilt. The captain of the Indianaplolis was pardoned. The relatives of Dr. Mudd have been asking for a pardon because they believe he wasn’t guilty. The Democrats still say he colluded with the Russians—who cares what they say?

      • If a pardon is not an implicit admission of guilt why not call it an exoneration instead. I looked up Pardon in Black’s Law Dictionary 5th edition. The closest thing to not an admission of guilt was the note differentiating Pardon from Amnesty. It states that one overlooks the offense and the other remits punishment.

        Mudd was convicted of crime. The captain of the Indianapolis Charles McVay was posthumously exonerated by the 106th United States Congress and President Bill Clinton on October 30, 2000 after being court martialed for the loss of his ship. The Navy says he should have zigged where he zagged😁.

        I admit I am no lawyer but I my reading of Black’s law dictionary leads me to believe that a pardon does suggest a crime was committed but the pardon was offered as it is not in the best interest of the state to pursue further prosecution or punishment.

        Do you honestly believe that Trump can effectively explain clearly what a pardon means if even I cannot discern it from reading a law dictionary?

        • Mike Flynn insists that he committed no crime, and the charges were dismissed. But again, I don’t see what difference it makes. The Democrats will claim Trump is a criminal anyway. The new norm should be that any American President is pardoned for any offenses real or imagined as part of the nation’s acknowledgment of his service to the nation.

          • Well, so much for the rule of law, then. But, what about other high, or even not-so-high officials? If the principle is that service to the nation earns one immunity, why stop at the presidency?

            • It doesn’t stop with the Presidency. That’s why there is government immunity. The sovereign has to consent to being sued, and individuals are not generally liable for damages, just the government, when a suit is allowed based on conduct in office. This is why angry mothers couldn’t sue George W. Bush for their sons dying in Iraq.

          • I agree that that should be the new norm but it Trump cannot make that case. It is up to Joe Biden to do that. If he is unwilling to do that nothing Trump says or does will establish this idea as the norm.

      • “Pardons never mean an admission of guilt.”
        That may be true from the perspective of the person being pardoned., but, the Executive granting the pardon must have a different view.
        John Marshall in The United States vs. George Wilson: “A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power intrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.”
        So, Trump the pardoned would not be admitting guilt, but Trump the pardoner would be saying, “Yes, you are guilty.”

        • Marshall was speaking in the context of a specific case. (Wilson refused that pardon, you know.) There have been citizens pardoned where their guilt was denied or in serious question. I never assumed that Nixon was admitting guilt by accepting his pardon; indeed, I’m not certain he was guilty of a crime as long as he honestly believed he was acting in the nation’s best interests (which he always claimed he was.) If a President issues a pardon because he thinks an individual is innocent, then accepting that pardon is not an admission of guilt.

          Moreover, since no one is guilty unless convicted in a court of law, a prospective pardon cannot be considered a statement of guilt.

            • That guilt requires a conviction may be true from a legalistic viewpoint, but, it seems to me that, outside that framework, guilt occurs when the crime is committed. Thus, given sufficient evidence, I could conclude guilt without a court proceeding. A preemptive pardon exists within the legal system, but when viewed as a political action, it would not preclude a conclusion of guilt, again, given sufficient evidence (or, given idiocy or true belief, neither of which require much in the way of evidence).

              • I agree (and have written here many times) that guilt can be fairly assessed without a legal determination, but that does not apply to presumed guilt based on behavior after the fact. That;s irrelevant; that was the cheap and unethical arguments used against Trump when his persecutors said, “If you have nothing to hide, who oppose a fishing expedition?” There is no basis at this point to conclude Trump was guilty of anything, just innuendo, rumors, and hope. Pardoning himself proves nothing, and anyone who thinks otherwise is too naive and vulnerable to manipulation to worry about.

  5. I’m not in favor of pardons after the justice system has done it’s due diligence and judged a defendant in a court of law because I think it’s one person intentionally undermining the justice system; however, since a preemptive pardon is before any prosecution it “feels” different to me because there have been absolutely no fact based justifiable accusations that would end up as charges of illegal activity needing prosecution.

    I’m a little conflicted on this but instead of President Trump pardoning himself and setting up a possible Constitutional questions that could reverse the pardon by declaring the action unconstitutional, how about a private ceremony about an hour before Biden’s inauguration where President Trump pardons Pence and everyone that served in his administration for any “offenses” that may arise from their service during his administration, then President Trump resigns, then they swear in Pence and then Pence immediately pardons President Trump for any “offenses” that may arise from his service as President of the United States then they head to Biden’s inauguration where they announce the actions just prior to the inauguration. Pardons like this would be reasonably justified after all the bald-faced partisan witch hunts, innuendo and lies spun at President Trump coming from the political left over the last four years. The tyrannical political left and anti-Trump haters will not stop in their pursuit to destroy Trump and I think the they need to have the rug yanked out from under them.

    Now what about civil suits against President Trump and members of his administration? I foresee that they will also try to destroy Trump in civil courts with endless lawsuits for many years to come costing him billions of dollars. I’ve heard over the last few months that there are families of COVID victims that want to sue Trump in civil court for billions because they think he lied about COVID and he is personally liable for the death of their family members, that’s how they eventually destroyed O.J. Simpson. What if there was some kind of class action civil suit that literally put Trump in the poor house?

    • I’ve heard over the last few months that there are families of COVID victims that want to sue Trump in civil court for billions because they think he lied about COVID and he is personally liable for the death of their family members, that’s how they eventually destroyed O.J. Simpson.

      Trump would be immune from this type of suit.

      • More stirring the pot…

        Michael T Ejercito wrote, “Trump would be immune from this type of suit.”

        Well, he should have been immune from an unconstitutional impeachment but we saw how that went, the left is bastardizing everything in an effort to “get” President Trump, why should this be any different?

      • Jack wrote, “He’s immune from lawsuits regarding his official acts.”

        Stirring the pot here…

        I can’t hardly wait to see how the anti-Trumper’s try to bastardize what is determined to be an “official act” as opposed to a personal opinion; for instance, is tweeting considered an “official act” or it it just a place that Trump could voice his personal opinion outside official acts but since he’s the President of the United States he’s using it as a place to drum up support for his personal opinion therefore making it an influential personal opinion like one who incites riot but does not actually participate in rioting. Heck even the political right has argued that President Trump should be able it share his unofficial personal opinions on Twitter, he doesn’t become a non-citizen with free speech rights after he becomes President.

        Okay, discuss.

          • Michael T Ejercito wrote, “The lawsuit would not go anywhere if all they allege is Trump tweeting his personal opinion.”

            Au contraire, in today’s cancel culture where…

            Damn near anything is possible in a bastardized culture where there are virtue signaling judges and prosecutors bastardizing the law all over the place.

            Remember; how these virtue signaling imbeciles think; freedom of speech for me but not for thee.

    • Trump’s defense would be that any information he relayed to the public was first vetted by Dr. Fauci and his corona virus task force. Any issue regarding culpability by reason of intentional mendacity will be left at the feet of the esteemed admitted prevaricator Dr. Anthony Fauci.

    • No. That kind of backroom dealing thing is what third world dictatorships do.

      As for OJ, he was toast before the civil suit. No reasonable person believes he is innocent. The jury found him not guilty od murder because the prosecution monumentally screwed up and got out gunned by his defense team. The civil judgment was entered against him by default and a bankruptcy court ruled the civil judgment was non-dischargeable.

      Trump shouldn’t play their games.


      • Again, I’m stirring the pot…

        johnburger2013 wrote, “No. That kind of backroom dealing thing is what third world dictatorships do.”

        Good argument but the left has already called him a dictator, why shouldn’t he act like one? 😉 😉 😉

        johnburger2013 wrote, “Trump shouldn’t play their games.”

        It’s not a game, the left set a new political precedence shouldn’t there be some kind of political response to the new precedence.

      • JB
        Help a lay person understand your point. If the defendent in a civil suit relies on professional advice by the people the public has deemed to be the only legitimate arbiters of information how can the defendant be held liable for repeating information given to him by those arbiters or making decisions in which he placed significant on such information provided by the “experts”.

        I don’t see how Trump defending himself – even if he could be sued – with any factual information as back room dealing.
        To be honest I think a president announcing that he has pardoned himself and all his supporters for all offenses up to and during his term in office as he leaves office more like a Banana Republic official than what I stated.

        I have been somewhat dense of late in understand some of the nuances here so bear with me.

        • I don’t disagree at all. I was responding to Trump pardoning everyone in his administration, resigning a day before Biden is inaugurated, making Pence president who them pardons Trump. That was my point but both ideas are the stuff of third world banana republics.

          As to your other comment, I see no basis for prosecuting Trump for anything he has done as President. None. Even less where he has followed legitimate advice of counsel or advisors (Fauci, Mnuchin, etc.).


  6. I think “They want to destroy him as a warning to any other outsider who dares to challenge what they believe is the inevitable progressive ascendancy.” should read, “They want to destroy him as a warning to any other outsider who dares to challenge the political and bureaucratic establishment by running for president without having been a career politician and sucked up to and begged money from every powerful lobby and individual for their entire career because outsiders don’t know how the game is played and therefore cannot be trusted: they are a threat to everyone on the inside.” The idea that anybody can grow up to be president probably never applied, at least not recently. I’d guess Ronald Reagan and George Bush would be the closest to Trump in this respect, but Trump’s WAY outside the Overton window of who can hold elected office. Next thing you know, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates will stop writing checks to pols and run for the presidency themselves. That’s certainly not good for business.

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