A family affair: will the Trumps receive a presidential pardon?
President-soon-to-be-fucking-gone Donald Trump has consulted advisers and contemplated granting pre-emptory pardons to his three eldest children, Jarod Kushner, Rudy Giuliani and even potentially to Tiger King Star, Joe Exotic, according to two sources.
The legal authority is granted to Trump under Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution. The presidential pardon is one mechanism of the clemency power afforded to the orange man. It should be noted that the power covers the punishment of a federal crime exclusively.
Legal experts challenge this capacity, emphasising that the act of a self-pardon would be unconstitutional. The concept contradicts the legal principle that you cannot be the judge in your own case.
Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard offered, 'the basic problem is that, if a president were able to pardon himself, he could commit crimes with impunity throughout his presidency. He could ransack the treasury, bribe the chief justice to overrule Roe v Wade, and shoot someone on Fifth Avenue knowing he could never be punished.'
Former communications director for the Republican party, Tara Setmayer, stated, 'the fact that we’re even having this conversation speaks volumes about the level of criminal exposure that they all think that they have. You don’t talk about pardons unless there is a concern about things that have been done wrong. It’s the antithesis of draining the swamp. What happened to that?'
Pardons have been used in presumptive cases including Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon, who was yet to be charged, over crimes connected to the Watergate Scandal. Notably, the legality of these pardons has never been determined by the Supreme Court.
The New York Times has investigated and reported the following, 'Trump has asked advisers about the possibility of 'pre-emptively' pardoning his three eldest children. Defenders of such a move could argue that family members are not off limits: in 2001, Bill Clinton pardoned his brother, Roger, who was convicted for cocaine possession in Arkansas.'
Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who buried his discussions with a Russian diplomat, was pardoned in November. This week the U.S department of justice announced it is investigating allegations of a 'bribery for pardon' scheme occurring within the White House.
Whilst these pardons of friends and family would be in many ways, explosive, they have been done before and will undoubtedly be available to future administrations. However, the crux of the controversy truly lies in the ability for Trump to perform a self-pardon. A self-pardon may protect Trump from Mueller's report, the most significant federal allegation against him. This report examines 10 circumstances of obstruction of justice, with the support of more than a hundred prosecutors affirming the validity of the charges suggested under the report.
Giuliani denies that he has spoken to President Trump about the pre-emptive pardons.
Despite a murky path ahead regarding the constitutionality of Trump's prospective 'get out of jail free' cards, there is one shining light: 44 days remain until he is no longer at the helm of the most powerful democracy in the world.