(NewsReady.com) – The US Constitution grants a president vast pardoning power. In fact, the only set limit against it is that the POTUS can’t use it for state crimes. But anyone who has been charged, convicted, or might be charged in criminal (not civil) court can receive a presidential pardon. That leaves open the question about the possibility of former President Donald Trump possibly granting himself one if he wins the 2024 election.
On June 8, a federal grand jury in Miami indicted Trump on 37 charges, many of which fall under violations of the Espionage Act. US District Judge Aileen Cannon set the trial date for the case for August 14. However, there’s an expectation that it will be delayed as the parties need time to prepare. That could push the trial into the next administration — which Trump is running to lead.
If Trump wins the Republican nomination and goes on to become president, The New York Times speculated he could either try to pardon himself, or he could direct his attorney general to drop the case.
This isn’t the first time the possibility of Trump pardoning himself has been a consideration. In 2018, Trump tweeted that he has the “absolute right” to grant himself one, and he said legal scholars agree.
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
Recently, two former impeachment attorneys, Michael J. Gerhardt and Alan Baron, wrote an op-ed for Charlotte Observer and gave their opinions on the matter. They explained that the Constitution doesn’t specifically address the issue of whether a president can pardon himself. That means there are two ways to look at it: either the lack of language means they can’t self-pardon, or it means the framers of the Constitution didn’t want to prevent them from doing it. But they said that one thing the Founding Fathers were very clear about was that they didn’t want a government that placed a head of state above the law like a monarch.
Further, when the possibility of President Richard Nixon pardoning himself arose, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded presidents did not have that power.
Ultimately, the question is one that the courts have not answered.
There is one certainty if the case is pushed into the next presidency, it will be paused for four years if Trump is elected. In America, presidents cannot be prosecuted while they are in office, according to official Department of Justice policy.
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