(NewsReady.com) – At the end of March, a New York grand jury indicted former President Donald Trump on 34 criminal charges. He pleaded not guilty on April 4. He’s also under other investigations, and some have wondered whether he could be pardoned.
Many years ago, after Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency, there was a concern that he would face criminal charges for some of his actions. So, on September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford issued a full and unconditional pardon for his predecessor. The next month, he told Congress he did it because the country needed to move forward and focus on more important issues.
Nearly 50 years later, President Joe Biden might be faced with the same predicament as Ford. He could choose to pardon Trump to keep the bitterly divided country together. It’s unclear how likely that is.
The governors of the states where Trump has been charged or is being investigated could also issue their own pardons. These would only pertain to state crimes. Whether the Democratic governor or New York would do that is highly unlikely.
The third and final way Trump could possibly be pardoned is by winning the 2024 election and doing it himself. The Constitution gives the president wide pardoning powers, and it doesn’t address whether a POTUS could pardon themselves.
Experts have gone back and forth about the issue. Some constitutional scholars have argued the president’s pardon power is absolute. However, others have said it won’t fly. Nixon once contemplated pardoning himself, but his Department of Justice told him that it would be unconstitutional. If he went this route, it would be the first time in history that a president used those particular powers to help in his own life.
Of course, all of this is a moot point because Trump has not been charged or convicted by federal authorities — and the state case against him hasn’t gone to court.
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