Yes, the President Can Pardon Himself

440px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Donald_TrumpPresident Trump this morning has caused a stir by declaring that he can grant himself a self-pardon.  As I argue in today’s column and prior writings (here and here), he is right.  

In his tweet today, Trump declared:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

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!

I am one of those scholars, though I have argued that a self-pardon would be ignoble and self-defeating act.
It would likely be used as an impeachment allegation, though that could raise some interesting questions. Unlike the argument that a President cannot be indicted in office (which I have long rejected), the use of pardon authority presents a more difficult question for both obstruction and impeachment claims. This is a power left to presidents without limitation beyond barring its use to effectively block an impeachment.
To use pardons in an obstruction case would be a complicating factor for appeal.  All pardons are about negating a conviction or barring a prosecution.  They are in the sense naturally obstructive.  A court would have a difficult time separating what is constitutionally permitted and what is criminally actionable over a straight pardon claim.  Impeachments allow for a broader definition to address abuses of powers.
What do you think?

 

196 thoughts on “Yes, the President Can Pardon Himself”

  1. He may be presumed innocent before being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but….

    Again I ask, How can he pardon himself before being found guilty without tacitly admitting his guilt?

    And once he tacitly admits guilt, he will be low hanging fruit ripe for impeachment.

    The liaryers will have a field day with this one.

    1. Your remarks on Guilt innocence etc are irrelevant.

      He can pardon himself and anyone else regardless.

      That is not actually going to happen. That was not the point of making that argument to Mueller.
      The key point was that so long as the constitution allows the president unlimited pardon power, that fundamentally means the president can not obstruct justice by exercising the legitimate constitutional powers of the president (and possibly even illegitimate ones).

      The objective is to get Mueller to understand who has the upper hand and who has the authority and who is acting withing the constitution.
      So that non of the rest of this has to come to pass.

      It is a message to Mueller to behave himself.

      Ultimately this will end. Absent actual evidence of a substantive conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia – it is the left that will lose. Hopefully Mueller is a wise person.
      If he does not have evidence of something most of us grasp did not happen, then it is time for him to stand down.

      1. It is hardly a compelling legal argument to work backwards from your preferred outcome.

        Evidence leads to conclusions…
        You can properly argue that the “known” evidence does not (yet) support a charge ( I disagree) … but you cannot begin with your conclusion about what did or did not happen…unless you are privy to the entirety of the case file.

        1. “It is hardly a compelling legal argument to work backwards from your preferred outcome.”

          That would be correct, and it is clearly what the left is doing.
          On occasion I work within that same left fallacious framework to refute it.
          But the flaw is yours not mine.

          BTW you can not work backwards from a hypothetical outcome.
          You actually can work backwards from a factual or legally certain outcome.
          Some uses of induction work that way.

          Further we can work from “known evidence”. What we know may not eliminate all possibilities but it actually does eliminate many possibilities.
          What we do not know can not conflict with what we do know.
          And we do not have to know everything to know that some hypothesis that conflicts with what we know is false.

          BTW that is just ordinary rules of logic. The entire purpose of logic is to reason from what we know for certain to those things we can know without having directly observed them What we can know by implication.
          That is why the rules of formal logic are called rules of inference, or rules of implication.

          humans do not have the ability to directly observe more than a tiny fraction of the world.
          We ALWAYS determine the rest by inference and implication.

          The entirety of science, math and logic (as well as law) is being able to draw the most complete set of conclusions about the world from the smallest possible set of axioms – things that we know to be true but can not prove.

          We can not directly observe sub-atomic particles – yet we know a great deal about them.

          We can not know everything that Mueller currently knows.
          But we can know that he does not have evidence that conflicts with what we already know as a fact.

          We can know know what legal theories Mueller is using, but we can know the range of those that are consistent with the existing law.

  2. Sleazy Establishment Dims gather round established AIPAC tool

    Glenn Greenwald
    ‏Verified account @ggreenwald
    5h5 hours ago

    Even @SenatorMenendez must be thinking: “Damn: what do I have to do to make Dem Party officials not unite behind me? I was indicted by the Obama DOJ & just got ‘severely admonished’ by the Senate Ethics Committee and they still cleared the field for me!”

    https://theintercept.com/2018/06/04/democrats-set-to-re-nominate-sen-bob-menendez-after-preventing-challengers-showing-how-calcified-the-party-is/

  3. Obama: Signs an executive order.
    Republicans: “IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY!!!!”

    HRC: Doesn’t get charged for crimes she didn’t commit.
    Republicans: “SHE THINKS SHE’S ABOVE THE LAW!!!”

    Trump: “l’m POTUS. Laws don’t apply to me.”
    Republicans: “Ok, chief. Sounds good!”

    1. Trump is not “above the law”. He is above the DOJ/FBI.

      Congressional oversight remains. Congress can investigate as they please. They can impeach and then he can be prosecuted.

      Only those on the left would call following the law and constitution being “above the law”.

      1. <i.Only those on the left would call following the law and constitution being “above the law”

        At this point they are getting desperate enough to form sentences with the words law and constitution in it. They see how that works within the conservative ranks, but what they don’t understand is those words are based in something they don’t understand. These aren’t magical words like racist or fascist that make people run for cover. The irony is they have meaning rooted in old timey principles they’ve long ago rejected.

        1. The left likes to play word games.

          When we write law and constitutions, the meaning of the words needs to be both clear and understandable to the ordinary people for whom the law applies.

          Creative use of words, interesting new meanings are for fiction and poetry, not law.

    2. My guess is that when the pardon language in the Constitution was being considered, perhaps it was assumed to be understood that presidents would only want to pardon others, but not themselves. Still though, there is no constitutional prohibition on presidents pardoning themselves.

      This might be similar to the case in which the Constitution does not say a Speaker of the House must be a member of the House. But I am guessing that the assumption was, it is so obvious that the Speaker must be chosen from among members of the House, and thus, there was no need to explicitly say so.

      1. Yes. The law is not written like a computer program, where every possible condition must be handled with code. There are tacit omissions based on obviousness. The one I like to cite is the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, incorrectly interpreted by immigrant activist lawyers as conferring automatic US Citizenship on everyone born on US soil. If you ask these activists, “Do you mean to imply that, before 1868, there was no automatic US Citizenship for newborns?” Of course there was, and the means of passing Citizenship (nationality) from parent to child was so obvious and well-established going back centuries, it would be overkill to put it in the original Constitution. So, what was the 14th Amendment doing?
        It gave emancipated slaves (adults) their US Citizenship. Birthplace in the US was chosen as a practical way to qualify this group, without giving US Citizenship to everyone else around the globe. The newborns of the emancipated slaves didn’t need the effect of the 14th Amendment, as once their parents were taken care of, their status was assured. So, by tacitly omitting that the impact of the 14th Amendment was to change the citizenship status of black adults based on birthplace in the US, the impact that was Ratified in 1868, the Citizenship Clause is repurposed in the 20th century to be about babies born to temporary visitors.

        1. The language of the constitution was written by people who gave the federal government almost no police power. They need not have worried about the president pardoning himself because there was no expectation that the conduct of the president they were most worried about would be federal rather than local crimes.

          Trump can not murder comey in the oval – because he would be prosecuted by DC – after he was impeached. The example would be better if DC was not under federal supervision. Regardless DC has its own criminal laws.

      2. When the constitution was written the framers THOUGHT they had precluded a vast federal police force with myriads of criminal laws. The pardon power of the president was not large – because there were not so many federal crimes. Trump could not as an example pardon Blogo – except that he was convicted by the Feds not the state.

  4. Trump is nothing new. All political scoundrels take a back seat to Bill Clinton.
    Mika Brezwnski: “My God he sounded like Trump”

    Bill Clinton broke the mold. Sorry, Donald, you pale compared to your wedding schmoozers
    Dtrumpf needs to meet with Bill and Hillary again to learn some new moves.

    https://www.mediaite.com/tv/msnbcs-mika-brzezinski-slams-bill-clintons-lewinsky-interview-my-god-he-sounded-like-trump/

    “MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski Slams Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky Interview: ‘My God, He Sounded Like Trump’
    Morning Joe took on former President Bill Clinton‘s heated interview on NBC’s Today Show Monday morning, in which he bristled at questions about his affair with Monica Lewinsky and said he did not owe her an apology.

    While the affair Clinton had with Lewsinsky, then a White House intern, occurred more than two decades ago, her treatment in its aftermath has become newly relevant thanks to the #MeToo movement.

    When NBC’s Craig Melvin asked Clinton about that in an interview about his upcoming novel, the former president got defensive, and engaged in what Joe Scarborough described as a “nagging Clintonian impulse.”

    “It has been for decades an unbelievable double standard that the Clintons have used and abused, where nobody is allowed to go there on this issue,” Brzezinski said. “And in the age of #MeToo, women are supposed to go there, and men, by the way.”

    “We’re supposed to be able to say what the difference is between right and wrong, and when you have done something wrong, you are supposed to own it and not talk about facts, distorted facts and obstructed facts.”

    “My god, he sounded like Trump,” Brzezinski continued. “He sounded incapable of owning anything. To me, I’ve never been more moved by an interview, and I really appreciate that Craig Melvin asked those questions and put that entire interview to a stop and stayed with it, finally. Finally.”

  5. If it is constitutionally permissible for a sitting U.S. president to pardon himself/herself after being criminally convicted, then what was the purpose of the Revolutionary War? Were America’s founding fathers not totally committed to the concept of republicanism (i.e. the rule of law) and not totally opposed to arbitrary power (i.e. the monarchy of King George III)? Or, did they simply make a mistake in writing the U.S. Constitution?

    When Thomas Paine wrote “the law is king” in Common Sense, was he just blowing smoke?

    When John Adams authored the Massachusetts Constitution as “a government of laws and not of men,” was he just doodling?

    When POTUS, members of Congress, and U.S. Supreme Court justices take their oath of office, do they not pledge to affirm that the rule of law is superior to the rule of any human leader? Or, are they simply going through the motions?

    The consequence of this legal and historical ambiguity can have a pernicious effect on our republic. If the people are told that their fundamental assumptions about their nation are false or subject to convenient reinterpretation, especially during a time when cultural polarization and institutional distrust are at their highest, then the tenuous social fabric holding the country together will inevitably fail. In that event, the resulting fall into authoritarianism (or worse) will be the responsibility of today’s influential figures who advanced such ambiguity.

    1. If it is constitutionally permissible for a sitting U.S. president to pardon himself/herself after being criminally convicted,

      Again, Leon Jaworski was convinced that it was unconstitutional to indict a sitting president. His staff prosecutors made it a point to persuade the relevant grand juries to name Richard Nixon a co-conspirator but not to vote an indictment.

    2. The rule of law is not the rule of any law interpreted in whatever bizzare way you conceive.

      The framers did not create a federal govenrment with a general police power.
      They never considered the president pardoning himself for murder – as in the government they created murder was in the scope of the states not the federal government.

      But the framers did provide a remedy for the abuse of power by the president – impeachment.
      And they provided a means to investigate the misconduct of the president – congress.

      The rule of law – means following the ACTUAL law.

      When you construct new law out of whole cloth, when you impose new and broad interpretations of existing law – it is you that is pushing the rule of man, not the rule of law.

      Further there is no real ambiguity here.
      That is typical of the left – take what is clear and obfuscate.
      It is always possible to persuade people that something is ambiguous – particularly when they think the outcome should be different – and that is the rule of man not law.

      That results in one law for Trump and a differnet one for Obama.
      And that is exactly what Adams feared.

      You are on the wrong side of your own argument.

      1. I don’t believe Trump defenders are interested in the law. They’re only interested in empowering Trump to execute their political and social objectives. Republicanism, democracy, and other principles which are intended to counter authoritarianism (i.e. the arbitrary application of political power) are seen as obstacles to their objectives in my view.

        The existing law Trump could be prosecuted under is U.S. Code Title 18 Chapter 73 – OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

        From: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/02/trump-russia-indictment-mueller-probe-384969

        >>> Independent counsel Kenneth Starr never tried to indict Clinton. But Starr, who filed a damning report to Congress in 1998, considered the option — and even tasked his lawyers with preparing draft indictments, as well as a legal opinion asserting his power to charge Clinton.

        >>> “It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting President for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the President’s official duties,” Starr’s legal adviser, Ronald Rotunda, concluded in a 1998 memo first made public last summer through an open records request by The New York Times.

        >>> “In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law,” the memo said.

        1. What you beleive does not matter.

          Whatever it is that you think Trump is up to – so long as he is accomplishing it lawfully – you are only free to lawfully attempt to impede it.

          The reason that YOU are acting lawlessly – is because you do not care whether Trump is acting lawfully or not. You are looking to protect your own agenda – BY ANY MEANS NECESCARY.

          And that is what has been going on – I thought since the election, but now it is apparent that it has been going on since before the election even started.

          I would note that thus far Trump has acted ANTI-AUTHORITARIAN.

          He has LAWFULLY ended the LAWLESS actions of Obama.

          The fact that those actions were lawless is why undoing them is so easy.
          It is the left that is lawless and obviously so.

          Had you done the work necescary to accomplish things lawfully they would not be so easy to dismantle.

          Regardless, the disempowerment of the state is pretty much always lawful.
          The expansion is not.

          The obstruction argument has been addressed myriads of times.

          If you make obstruction as broad as you claim – you ensnare the entire Obama administration as well.

          Get a clue. Whenever you want to expand power, or the breadth of the law – think of how that could be used against you. But you are too stupid to do so.

          The debate over indictment is stupid – it is not going to happen and it is irrelevant.

          If Mueller has a case – Congress will impeach. That is the only legitimate action he can take against the president.

          The left keeps trying – falsely to argue that Trump is bound by DOJ rules – he is not.
          But Mueller is, and those rules preclude indicting the president.

          If you want to address the constitutional question – take it up with SCOTUS.
          But absent an answer from SCOTUS Mueller is bound to follow the DOJ rules.

          The inability to indict does not make the president “above the law”.

          It merely means that Congress must impeach and remove him first.

          That prevents rogue prosecutors from disrupting the federal government.

          The power to remove the president, the power to oversee the president rests SOLELY with congress.
          If you do not like that – amend the constitution.
          But quit this stupidity of trying to manufacture new rules from thin air, because you do not like things as they are.

          All of us are unhappy with some aspects of how things are. Our means of addressing that is to vote, to change the law, to amend the constitution.

          It is not to make things up. It is not to say – because we are unhappy with the results of an election we will go rogue.

          1. From: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gingrich-says-trump-pardoning-himself-would-be-arrogant-statement-of-power/ar-AAyffk7

            >>> Former House Speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich warned President Trump against pardoning himself should special counsel Robert Mueller pursue charges in the ongoing Russia investigation, telling “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday that it would be an “arrogant statement of power” if he did so.

            >>> “I don’t think he can pardon himself, that would lead to a reaction in the Congress that would be devastating,” Gingrich said.

            1. Except for the misuse of the word “can” Gingrich’s statement is correct.

              Trump will only “pardon himself” if he beleives he will be impeached, because pardoning himself guarantees he will be impeached.

              Trump CAN pardon himself.
              But he likely can not do so and remain president.
              Trump CAN fire Sessions, Rosenstein and Mueller,
              But he likely can not do so and remain president.

              There is a giant gulf between what he can do legally and what would be political suicide.

              BTW the leaked memo was NOT a threat to pardon himself.

              It was a legal argument – and a correct one.

              The argument is:

              If the president can fire the FBI director,
              If he can pardon himself for some purported crime.
              Then he can not commit the crime.

              It is a Narrower Version of Nixon’s “It the president does it it is legal”.
              Nixon’s obstruction was for acts that were outside his powers as president.

              There are lots of things Trump can perfectly legally do that will near certainly get him impeached.

              Mueller is not conducting an impeachment investigation. He is supposed to be investigating crimes.
              It is irrelevant what Trump can not politically do in that context.
              It is absolutely relevant what Trump can LEGALLY do.

      2. dhlii:

        The rule of law – means following the ACTUAL law.

        Indeed.

        he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,

  6. Wrong. “President” is not a man but an office, held in parens patriae. He has a duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully enforced,” which sounds in agency. He has no colorable authority–express or implied–to participate in a conspiracy to evade or abrogate those laws. Even the pardons of confederates would be invalid.

    Didn’t you take agency law, Professor?

    1. Partly correct.

      What you fail to note is that the president is constitutionally answerable to
      The courts,
      the congress,
      every 4 years the voters.

      He is not answerable to Rosenstein or Mueller.

      The determination as to whether he has followed the duties you assert rests with those he is answerable to – again NOT rosenstein or Mueller.

      If you want Mueller to continue – move him over to congress where he belongs.

      You are also making logic errors all over.

      Are we going from Obstruction of Justice to a “conspiracy to obstruct justice” or are you just throwing arround dark terms like conspiracy to salt your argument ?

      Words have meaning, your words attempt an argument that has no relation to current facts.

  7. I think the Supreme Court would overrule such a thing. Easily. The 1974 OLC opinion had it right when the author said that “no one may be a judge in his own case”.

    1. You forgot about intent though.
      Keep up with the evolution of legal thinking ala your hero Saint James Comey

      1. Comey arguably participated in a criminal conspiracy after-the-fact. Certainly, he tanked the Clinton investigation..

  8. FROM READER COMMENTS: NEW YORK TIMES

    Michael
    USA1h ago
    Times Pick

    “Dear Trump supporters: Imagine yourself in a scenario where President Hillary Clinton asserted that she has an absolute right to pardon herself if she wanted to. Imagine she said, ‘there’s nothing to those emails on my home email server, so I have no reason to pardon myself, but if I wanted to, I could.’

    If you’re not o.k. with that, then you shouldn’t be o.k. with Trump’s assertion today. No matter who the President is, he or she cannot be held to be above the law”.

    178 Recommend

    From Reader Comments, “Trump Says Appointment of Special Prosecutor Unconstitutional”

    Today’s NEW YORK TIMES

      1. love Maureen. She has bigger testaclees than Obama and Bill Clinton combined but not as big as Hillary

      2. “Too good?”

        Not necessarily.

        Who murdered the choir director of Reverend Wright’s church, which Obama attended?

        1. Crazy George with yet another absurd conspiracy theory, hot off the presses Youtube.

          There is no crazyness on Youtube that Crazy George will not immediately take as gospel.

  9. The matter was researched in 1974 at the instruction of Alexander Haig when he was the White House Chief of Staff. The results of that research were the conclusion that Giuliani has reported.

      1. See Woodward and Bernstein’s The Final Days. The intramural response to Haig’s inquiries was as I reported.

        1. That’s true, but Nixon rejected the Haig option and the OLC put the issue to bed just days later after Haig put it out there. Nixon resigned five days after the issuance of the OLC opinion.

  10. Tyrant, Nazi, Abusive, opportunist, soulless, demagogue, personality disorder, attention seeking behavior, totally nucken futts

    “Former President Bill Clinton says that, even in light of the #MeToo movement, he would not have approached how he dealt with Monica Lewinsky any differently and acknowledged that — 20 years after their relationship made headlines — he’s still never apologized privately to the former intern.”
    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/clinton-i-wouldn-t-have-done-anything-differently-lewinsky-affair-n879721

    Hillary learned from the best. No wonder her cult followers are such moral cripples.

    Dtrumpf is a total amateur

    1. Carol, that reminds me – what ever happened to Bill’s boy Danny? Did Bubba ever agree to a DNA test?

  11. Turley has not taken this to its logical conclusion – which the WH memo was hinting at.

    If the use of pardon power can not be obstruction. Then the president can not obstruct anything for which he has the power to pardon.

    Essentially Nixon was legally correct – if the president does it it is legal.

    The check on the president is Congress – no criminal investigations.
    A presidents power to pardon does NOT allow him to remove himself from congressional oversight.

    1. Not even close. COTUS cannot be read in a way that precipitates an absurd result.

      1. Your emotional reaction does not make a result absurd.

        The result you think is absurd isnt.

        The president is subject to oversight by congress and by the courts.
        Not by DOJ or an SC.

        It is actually your approach that produces the absurd results – you have a deputy AG and an SC that have no oversight – neither congressional nor executive and are essentially “above the law”, or better “a law unto themselves”.

        The constitution does not envision that.
        Rosenstien has found himself in defiance of both congress and the president and as appealing to some higher power – what ? There is no 4th branch of government.

  12. This needs to end! Time to wrap it up and go home, Mueller! This has not been good for the country and that should be the measure to close this mess!

  13. Even if you accept the premise that he can pardon himself, based on wording of the Constitution (which I don’t–the framers never foresaw an emotionally fragile reality TV star, jealous because a black man became president colluding with a hostile foreign power to manipulate social media), he cannot pardon himself for state law claims. He will get indicted and charged for state law crimes if he pardons himself. Does he really think that he could get indicted, charged and convicted, pardon himself and then effectively lead this country? He is really delusional. He’s already not able to effectively lead this country.

    The bigger picture is the existential moment we are in. An invalid presidency rocked by instability, unprecedented turn over of top staff, one scandal and crisis after another, with little to nothing accomplished other than increasing the tribalism we have here in the United States. Oh, and don’t forget how he’s insulted and alienated US allies and has started a trade war. On the positive side, he also helped make Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti household names and boosted their income considerably.

    Another big picture point is that he doesn’t seem to understand or care about the damage he’s doing to his wife and son and to this country. Of course, we all know that Melania is a purchased accessory so he doesn’t think she is owed any respect, but he has a young son that he disrespects by his conduct. It still amazes me that people who write on this blog actually admire this person for “riding bareback” with a porn star–i.e., not using a condom. What the hell has happened to this country and the prestige of the Office of President? ? It’s all about him, his ego, and his pathological desire for the prestige associated with the Presidency of the United States. He still doesn’t understand that admiration and prestige are earned, not conferred by a “victory” he cheated to obtain. He will go down in infamy.

    1. The collusion is completely imaginary. Like Jill, you cannot stop lying.

    2. You are right about the country being torn about – but that predates Trump and is rooted in the middle left shifting towards the extrene left and hollowing out the middle over the past decade.

      Pew data showed the country becoming much more polarized over the past decade,
      but carefully looking at the data shows it is nearly entirely the result of democrats shifting further left.

      Trump’s “scandals” are that the Obama administration has proved the most politically corrupt ever and has sabotaged his presidency from the start.

      I strongly suspect that Trump regrets not firing the entirety of all Obama political appointees on day one.

      We are now learning that Yates and the FBI were stonewalling the Whitehouse from DAY ONE.

      The Obama whitehouse – and often Obama himself actively participated in the Clinton and Trump investigations – we know this from Strzok’s texts.
      We also know that Obama himself was ensnared in the Clinton investigations – because:
      He knew of Clinton’s private email account,
      He exchanged classified information with her from his private account while she was in Russia.

      Based on the twisted logic of the left that absolutely precluded the WH from any involvement in the Clinton investigation.

      But come inauguration day – what does the Trump WH get from Obama holdovers ?
      Nothing.

      The WH was aware on its own of the issues with Flynn and was seeking to determine the extent of the problem it requested a transcript of the call with Kisylak and Yates and Comey stonewalled.

      Yates and Comey should have been fired right then.

      It is also increasingly evident from Comey’s house and senate testimony that the Russia investigation and the Flynn investigation were OVER by March – before Comey was fired.
      And more important that Trump KNEW they were over. The WH had transcripts of Comey’s testimony.

      There never should have been an SC – which fully explains why Mueller has found nothing.

  14. Then here is the question that you and others who say he can do it must answer: What then makes America different than say Iran or China or Saudi Arabia? This very fact you argue has destroyed any moral authority America may have–You also noted Professor that Article II does not protect the President from Homicidal Acts–but what you note here is a contradiction that underscores how this has become so tragic in the abstract.

    1. As Turley stated. Once he pardons himself then he would be ripe for impeachment which the constitution clearly states is the method by which a president is too be removed. A president constantly subject to late suits would be a nullification an election via judicial fiat. You want a president out impeach in the house and convict on the Senate.

      1. All these bizzare claims by those on the left do not seem to grasp this.

        Trump is not “above the law” – he has no control over the impreacment process.

        The only current actors “above the law” are Rosenstein and Mueller who can not be fired, and are subject to review by no one.

  15. But once indicted a pardon can be issued. Without an indictment or more it cannot for there is nothing to pardon. Some go the impeachment route for that very reason but all that does IF IF IF one can get past each of the two houses with a required super majority is ‘removed from office.’ There is no other penalty. At that point anything further would bring up the issue of double jeopardy. Not to mention a pardon by the successor. As would anything after the term of office. The question there is is it worth the effort?

    Given the crash of the blue wave about one meter in height on some far and distant uninhabited shore the Green II splintered faction of the left is shilling impeachment only as a campaign tool to help stay in office and perhaps take over the DNC. But they do not have the votes nationally to stand alone.

    At present the Hispanic faction is pondering why are we supporting a party which has demonstrated it is anti-Catholic and sees us as an unwanted anti abortion vote. In four more decades they may well be the majority but that is then this is now.

    That staunchly anti religion stance of the predominately socialist regressives has affected not only Catholics but other religions Christian or otherwise. Such as Judaism who also see the virulent right wing of the left aka National Socialists re-emerge. Also there leading and one time known as Israel’s Senator Schumer has gone Islamic as has the former Catholic Pelosi.

    The other Green faction is useful only in splitting away votes from the DNC

    So wht is the DNC. A borrowed name from a shell corporation entity once known as the Party of Slavery, and party of anti civil rights in a country which is NOT a Democracy and has never been a democracy led by people who are distinctly undemocratic.

    Thus we have the Coliln Lamb Candidates and truthfully how long will they stand with the DNC and against the Constitutional Republic Party and the Constitutional Centrist Coalition? Before joining that Coalition?

  16. Trump is and has been a national security threat, foreign and domestic. If Trump thinks or has been told he has that power, then we as a nation better get the straight jacket out for him or us.

  17. TRUMP WILL ATTEMPT TO SHORT-CIRCUIT INVESTIGATION

    THEREBY PLUNGING THE COUNTRY INTO LEADERSHIP CRISIS

    Trump is desperate enough and audacious enough to use whatever legal tricks his lawyers say is permissible to end the Mueller Probe. Which means this country is heading for a leadership crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre.

    If Trump attempts to pardon himself, or fire Mueller, the nation goes into crisis mode. To at least half the country Trump will no longer have any legitimacy to speak of. And this could have grave implications in a number of areas; the financial markets, international relations and domestic stability.

    Trump could quickly find himself a pariah among world leaders. Our allies might to choose to officially snub Trump with regards to summits and discussions in response to world events. The potential damage to U.S. leadership could have far-reaching implications. Our Executive Branch of government could degenerate to rogue status. Once that happens, all bets are off for what happens next.

    And Trump is exactly the type of man who would lead us into such a crisis; an anti-intellectual bully who cares only about himself. Egged-on by right-wing media, Trump will miscalculate and think his support is sufficient to get away with self-pardon. The resulting crisis could quite possibly usher a recession and affect the dollar’s strength.

    1. Pete: from where I sit, Trump already has no legitimacy with at least half of the country. World leaders already don’t respect him. Do you really think Angela Merkle, Justin Trudeau and Emannuel Marcron respect him? Do you think “little rocket man” is afraid of him? The same for the Brits. Take Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—they wanted to invite President Obama and Michelle to their wedding, but they didn’t want Trump. If they invited the Obamas but not Trump, there would be fallout due to Trump’s jealousy, according to British media reports. So, the palace was forced to advise Harry and Meghan they couldn’t invite the Obamas or any other US politicians.. Trump’s presence would also have been disruptive.

      I agree with everything else you wrote, too.

      1. Natacha, we’re both in agreement! All those factors you list will surge with significance the moment Trump self-pardons.

        1. Trump is not self pardoning. That was never the intent in his remarks.

          The memo was a legal argument. The legal argument was that because Trump can pardon himself he can not obstruct.

          If the first part is true – which it is, then so is the second.

          BTW this is PURELY about the law.

          If Trump self pardons he will with near certainty be impeached.

          The fact that it would be political suicide does not make it legally improper. Nor do the political consequences have anything to do with the legal conclusions drawn from the power to pardon.

      2. Why would any serious person give a rip what Justin Trudeau thought?

          1. Informative link

            This represents the idea I’ve tried to promote for years–that seemingly opposing philosophies can form alliances to promote or oppose measures in the hopes of achieving a mutually beneficial benefit.

            A great and constraining practice we’ve seen devolve over the years in the U.S. was to see such demonization of the other side that there is unwillingness to form coalitions. Very often environmentalists completely and without any sense of empathy deplore conservatives when it can be shown, as we see in the video Autumn linked, where the left was upset about how the prime minister became a traitor to their cause by embarking on a campaign to build this pipeline while the libertarians and right-wing side opposed the same action based on reckless financial costs which inevitably leads to higher taxes.

            If only our political types here chose to seek common ground, from even differing goals or approaches, instead of wasting time and money fighting each other while important matters fall by the wayside.

            1. Darren, I’ve learned that independent Progressives and Libertarians get along great on many issues – free speech, calling out virtue signalling, anti war, sovereignty, transparency, rule of law and accountability – even while they differ on other ones. They also give credit when it’s due no matter what the political persuasion. The emergence of all these millennials with their YouTube platforms gives me hope =) They are politically engaged whereas my Gen Xers were not so much.

              1. Being a Gen Xer, for myself I have very little use for politicians. I guess one of the reasons was my cohorts, specifically the ones I grew up among, tended to be more independent in our thinking and practices. Seldom seeing anything more than dysfunction in politics, we tended to devote more time to our own lives and endeavors. We also tended to revile authoritarianism. Resulting from this, we developed less interest in politics. We are better off being left alone and to our own devices and freedom.

                1. We are better off being left alone and to our own devices and freedom.

                  Uh huh. Well, the world’s lawfare artists, social workers, and social-worker wannabees aren’t going to leave you alone. Whadda ya gonna do, Darren?

                  1. Many would be surprised to learn that ignoring them and standing up to those bureaucrats if they overstep their authority can go a long way. The trick is to do whatever is possible to remain independent so that we don’t lay out the red carpet for them to enter, and thus become entrenched in our lives.

                    For social workers, I have seen as you likely understand some of the blunders begat by government social workers, not all but too many. Most strongly was my view of child protective service. When I was at work every time I either received a telephone call or radio call to contact child protective service for an incident I not only cringed but seethed at the inevitable stupidity, incompetence, heavy-handedness in non-issues, and laziness in performing in tough cases, that I would be forced to address every time. I’ve been retired from the profession since 2012, and it still makes me angry just thinking about them.

                    On the other hand I hired a private social worker to navigate and help our family when an elderly relative needed placement into a skilled nursing facility. None of us had experience in this matter, much less navigating the bureaucracy. I can’t recommend this enough. Know that social workers not employed by the family are often loyal to and employed by entities other than the patient–such as hospitals, the state, or individual nursing facilities. If you hire them yourself, it is certainly worth the money. Again, this alludes to what I discussed before. If you open the door to government, like DSHS, for your future you might not get the best outcome.

                2. There is not any generation that has much use for politiians.

                  Reduce government to the bare minimum, let people sort the rest of their lives out for themselves
                  and we will have far fewer politicians to deal with and they will be far less dangerous.

              2. I am encouraged by your remarks.
                But they do not track my experience.
                In the PAST that was true. Modern progressives – regardless of their age are intolerant and want more than equal rights before the law for minorities, They want special status.

                I have many gay friends. Sometimes I am not sure I have straight friends.
                I am disappointed in many of them – because after decades of opression when they finally gained many of their civil rights, they turned arround and sought to persecute those who did not kowtow.

                Master Cake Phillips is a bigot. I will not buy from him or anyone like him.
                But he has the right to serve or not serve who he chooses.
                Just as we are free with respect to our sexual preferences.

                Real freedoms do not conflict.
                If you are unwilling to grant the freedom of those who hate you to hate you,
                You are little if any better than they.

                A couple of decades ago I would have said what you are saying.
                Not today.

            2. If only our political types here chose to seek common ground, from even differing goals or approaches, instead of wasting time and money fighting each other while important matters fall by the wayside.

              Seeking emotional validation through deploring people is the whole point. If they had practical goals, they’d be pursuing them. What they have would be pseudo-goals which function as excuses for injuring people they despise or don’t care aobut.

    2. Bzzt, wrong.

      No one questions Trump’s legal authority to fire Sessions, Rosenstein or Mueller.
      That has not happened.
      Trump also has the power to pardon – himself, Cohen, Flynn, …. all NOW if he wished.

      If Trump was “desparate” there is plenty he would have already done.

      Trumps current approval is very near the highest it has been. It is higher than on election day,
      it is about the same as Obama’s was 18 months into his first term

      That should disturb you. Two years of ranting and Trump’s support is the same as ever.

      The generic ballot is down to D+1 – anything lower than D+4 likely means D’s LOSE house seats to the to geographic distribution of people.

      World leaders have problems of their own, regardless, no world leader is going to snub the US president.

      Further it is far more important in negotiations to be feared than liked.
      And Trump is demonstrating that.

      Obama may have built up lots of good will with foreign leaders, but it translated into NOTHING.

      1. dHill:

        All that good will Obama built expanded U.S. influence. U.S. influence is currently contracting. Soon our only friends will be those nations we were never totally comfortable with.

        1. PH re: “All that good will Obama built expanded U.S. influence” You mean like inheriting two conflicts and pushing them up to seven? I’m sure all those folks who’ve been bombed and/or lost limbs and lives of loved ones really really loved his foreign relations policy.

          1. Autumn:

            Who is this guy?? And who’s basement is broadcasting from? He looks like some generic neighbor from any block in the country.

            1. PH – Dore is a Progressive stand up comedian as well as a citizen journalist. He’s broadcasting from his garage which he turned into a studio. Has a yuuge following all over the U.S. and the world as well. Alex Jones followers know him as “Jimmy the spitter” because he spit iced tea on Alex when he invaded the TYT space with Roger Stone.

              But enough about Jimmy – what about his content????? Been following him for 3 years now and he’s never had to issue a redaction.

              1. Well, spitting on Alex Jones is a mitzvah anyway. A double mitzvah if he hit Stone as well.👌
                Good for him.

        2. All that good will Obama built expanded U.S. influence.

          Where and with whom?

          1. Nutchacha:

            This Pew Research taken one year ago states that in 37 countries only 22% of the people had confidence in Trump. In those same 37 countries, 64% had confidence in Obama during his last year in office. Obama was actually more popular abroad than he ever was in the United States. Google shows numerous stories to that effect.

            But I’m sure you’ll find a more up-to-date survey showing Trump is more popular than Obama ever was. Or can you..?? Trump is more popular in Russia than Obama was. So there’s one country you can count on.

            http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/17/9-charts-on-how-the-world-sees-trump/

            1. “This Pew Research taken one year ago states that in 37 countries only 22% of the people had confidence in Trump. In those same 37 countries, 64% had confidence in Obama during his last year in office. Obama was actually more popular abroad than he ever was in the United States.”
              *****************

              Great! He should run for office there.

            2. The popularity of presidents and political candidates varies over time.

              Trump’s popularity TODAY is within 1$ of Obama’s 18 month’s into his presidency.

              I would be surprised if Obama is as popular today as he was a year ago.

              I really could care less how popular Obama was abroad. That popularity never translated into any benefit for the US. Obama’s foreign policy was feckless.
              He is responsible for numerous failed efforts to improve relations with Russia – and now his supporters are parrotting Joe McCarthy
              He crowning foriegn policy acheivement was the Iran deal which devolved to nothing but a money giveaway to Iran and is gone.

              Trump has accomplished more in the area of foreign policy in 18 months than obama in 8 years.
              He has repaired our relationships with traditional allies in the mideast at the expense of Iran,
              He has ended ISIS as a pretend government – they still remain as a terrorist organization.
              He has atleast mildly reigned in Syrias Assad at the same time and significantly weakened Russian influence in the mideast.

              Poland is begging us to build a base in Poland and offering to pay $2B for it.

              Trump has made demands of NATO – he is getting many of them and he is STRENGTHENING NATO.

              We have yet to see the results in NK – but more progress has been made so far than in 75 years.
              Infortunately that is a tiny measure.

              1. dhill,

                That money Obama released to Iran was Iranian money that had been frozen in U.S. banks since 1979. That fact was widely reported in mainstream media. But right-wing media made a concerted effort to misinform; creating the impression that Obama was ‘bribing’ the Iranians.

                And why presume Iran is any more of an enemy than Saudi Arabia..?? Saudi money has funded Al Qaeda, The Taliban and ISIS, all Sunni groups. Iran is Shiite; we have generally had less trouble with that branch of Islam.

                Trump is currently trying to open a channel to North Korea, our worst enemy in the world. How could such an effort be ‘noble’ while Obama’s pact with Iran was ‘irresponsible’?? That double-standard makes no sense whatsoever!

                1. PH – we can agree on this – the Iran deal was one of the few things he did which I applauded. SA is now threatening Qatar. SA is one of the most vile regimes on earth.

                  1. There is alot wrong with the Saudi’s and we should be careful not to entangle ourselves too much.
                    But Iran is more dangerous for now. And most of the mideast not people we would otherwise chose as friends.

                    The IRan deal was a mistake.

                2. Actually there were numerous claims with respect to both ownership of that money as well as claims against that money.

                  Releasing that money without resolving those claims was lawless.

                3. The Saudi’s never took over a US embassy and held 52 americans hostage for 444 days.
                  The Saudi’s have never attacked our ships.
                  The Saudi’s are not currently seeking to be a nuclear power.
                  The Saudi’s have not invaded a neighbor.

                  There is plenty of problems with the Saudis, but they are still not as bad as Iran.

                4. I did not say Obama should not have talked with the Iranians. or that no deal with the iranians would be good enough. The deal he got was worse than no deal. It was actually worse than unilaterally dropping sanctions.

                  I do not expect Trump to get a great deal with NK.
                  I expect he will do better than no deal.

                  I am not precluding our negotiating with evil countries – only agreeing to things that are worse than no deal.

        3. Real good will has value, it allows you to accomplish things. It causes people to trust you.

          Obama accomplished nothing of consequence. That good will had no value.
          It was not even good will. It was the fawning of people and nations that were using us.
          Now that they can’t they are no longer fawning.

      2. dhlii: you spend too much time watching and believing the garbage spewed by Fox. Trump has historically-low polling, and very well-deserved. Fox keeps thinking that if it claims that the Democrats won’t take over Congress this fall, despite recent election successes, even in deep-red States, that it will become true.

        Trump is a failure as a person on every single level. He has serious emotional problems and a short attention span. He has taken numerous business bankruptcies. He’s on his third marriage, and has a history of domestic violence. He thinks that other men envy him because of his purchased, younger wife, bragging about assaulting women and sexual encounters with Playboy centerfolds and a porn actress. He is an even bigger failure as President, accomplishing next to nothing, other than historic turn over of staff in such a short period of time, mostly because of unfitness to serve, personal scandals or because they don’t respect him and call him an “idiot” or “moron”. He signs Executive Orders right and left, which could be done by a machine. He has few to no interpersonal skills, and isn’t liked nor respected anyplace other than where White Supremacists gather. No one “fears” him, either, except those of us who are worried about how far down the rabbit hole this country will go before he is forced out of office.

        1. He has taken numerous business bankruptcies.

          He applied for re-organization 4x, all on the same set of Atlantic City properties.

        2. “Trump is a failure as a person on every single level.”

          ************************
          Trump is a billionaire with a beautiful family. He has the means to do whatever he pleases. He won a historic election as an underdog and enjoys about a 45-48% approval rating that is trending upwards. He presides over the world’s strongest economy, military force and force for good against an ever-growing threat of a return of the Dark Ages. People are literally dying to get into this country and we have the respect of many nations who once thought us a easy mark.

          How”s your life going?

          1. Nate Silver of 538 puts Trump’s approval rating at 41.6%, where it has been for 500 days.

            1. He also predicted Trump had a 28% chance to win days before the 2016 election. He’s got all the credibility of a Hale-Bopp cultist in predicting the future.

                  1. mespo – Nate Silver admits having Trump’s chances of winning at 15% when the polls opened.

                    1. Paul C. Schulte,..
                      Huffington Postgave Hillary a 98% probability of winning.
                      I guess that left Trump with only a 2% chance, unless they gave Jill Stein a 1% chance.😉

                    2. Tom Nash – when I am feeling a little down, I go out and watch the election coverage. The meltdown by the Lamestream Media makes me feel better. 🙂

                    3. Correction….HuffPuff gave Hillary a 98.2 chance of winning, not a 98% chance as I wrote earlier ( on Nov.7, one day before the election.
                      There same “model” had the Democrats with a “strong chance” to retake the Senate.

        3. I do not watch FOX, or MSNBC or any TV news.
          I sometimes listen to PBS while driving.

          I have no idea who most of the talking heads at Fox or anywhere else are, nor what they have said.

          My arguments are my own – unless I explicityly cite someone

          Trumps first 18m polling numbers have not deviated from Obama’s by more than a few points – usually only 1.

          Trumps; current approval is above that on election day.

          Do not confuse your own oppinion of Trump what that of the nation.

          It is my understanding that Trump currently enjoys the highest support among republicans of any president ever. Higher than Reagan (while in office).

          I would further note – I did not vote for Trump, I do not “support” him.

          But there is a difference between legitimate and well argued differences than the garbage and ad hominem the left and the media spew.

          I have sharp disagreements with Trump on Trade – Trump adopted a blue collar democrat protectionist position on trade and it significantly contributed to winning the election.
          But it is absolutely wrong – real economists – right and left are near universally agreed on that.

          I also disagree on immigration – but I disagree with the left too.
          You can not have open boarders and an entitlement state.

          I think Trump is revolting as a person – so is Clinton (either one) and myriads of others.
          I thought Obama was a good person – given what we have learned in the past year I no longer beleive that.

          I think the Bushes were inarguably good people.
          Obama, Bush I, and Bush II were bad presidents.

          Clinton was a good president.
          Trump is on the road to being a better one.

          Facts do not always conform to our emotions.

          I strongly want to beleive that integrity is critical for a president. Clinton proved that false.

        4. I heard all the attacks on Trump prior to the election – and I did not vote for him, because of some of them.

          But others did, They heard the same things I did and you, and they heard the issues with Clinton and they voted Trump as president.

          Get over it, you get a do-over in 2020.

          In the meantime unless you can impeach him – he is the president.
          Your personal oppinions of him do not matter until 2020 when you can vote again.

          Focus on policy. Where you differ on policy – within the constraints of your legitimate political power you are free to oppose his policies – exactly as Republicans did throughout the Obama administration.

          We had 8 years of bitter political warfare over policies.
          We did not have the totally over the top personal warfare that the left has engaged in.

          That is your fault and it makes you no better than Trump – possibly worse.

  18. Is there some way he can pardon himself without either (1) in the absence of charges tacitly admitting to the crime, or (2) being charged with the crime, being found guilty, and pardoning himself to avoid the penalty.

    Either way intelligent people will still see him as a douche-bag. (if they don’t already) But then….. the numbers of intelligent people are diminishing. I mean think about it …. most people have been brainwashed to believe that one gang of murderers and thieves, i.e. government, is going to act with virtuous principles and protect us from the rest of the worlds murderers and thieves.
    Now that is certainly a BRILLIANT idea!

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