Of Pardons and Presidents: Why Trump Can But Shouldn’t Use His Power To Pardon His Family and Aides

 Below is my column in the Washington Post on the controversy over the possible use of pardon authority by President Donald Trump to protect his family and aides involved in the Russian investigation.  Trump’s tweet reference to his “complete power to pardon” fueled rumors that he is considering pardons, including a possible self-pardon.

 

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Self-Pardons: A Response To Tribe, Painter, and Eisen

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedThis weekend my column on the Trump pardon controversy ran in the Washington Post. (Notably, while the first title referenced a President pardoning himself, the later title referenced pardoning aides which was the thrust of the column).  As I have stated in the press, I consider this one of the most difficult questions in the Constitution.  I wrote that there is nothing in the Constitution that says that a president cannot self-pardon and that this was a very close and unresolved question. The same day, a column ran that said conclusively that the self-pardon are clearly and textually barred by the Constitution. That column was written by Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe, Minnesota Professor Richard Painter, and Brookings Institution fellow Norman Eisen.   I must respectfully disagree despite my respect for the prior work of all three of these men. While I believe that it would have been better for the Framers to expressly bar self-pardons, they did not do so. What is left is a difficult interpretive question that is not answered by the arguments made in the column. Indeed, some of the arguments are challengeable on either a historical or legal basis.  This is an issue that could easily go either way in the courts.  In the meantime, President Trump this morning fueled greater speculation with a tweet referring to his “complete power to pardon.”

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Roper’s Resolve: Critics Seek Dangerous Extensions Of Treason and Other Crimes To Prosecute The Trumps

A_Man_for_All_Seasons_(1966_movie_poster)Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on how critics of Donald Trump have been calling for radical extensions or interpretations of criminal provisions against core figures. The implications for such interpretations of crimes like treason need to be considered by critics.

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Trump: I Would Not Have Appointed Sessions If I Knew He Would Recuse Himself From Russian Investigation

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedjeff_sessions_official_portraitPresident Donald Trump gave a bombshell interview with the New York Times on Wednesday in which he said that he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russian investigation.  It was a highly disturbing interview since Sessions recused on the advice of ethics experts at the Justice Department and the overwhelming view of the bar.

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Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo Dies In Chinese Custody

Today the world lost one of its most inspiring and courageous figures.  On Thursday,  Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Prize recipient and Chinese intellectual, has died at 61 of cancer.  The Chinese government defied the world in keeping Liu under custody as part of its authoritarian, one-party rule.  Liu kept the memory of the  Tiananmen Square massacre alive when the government has sought to wipe out any evidence that the protests even occurred.  He was a tireless defender for civil liberties in a country that rejects the most basic principles of human rights and civil liberties. He declined numerous opportunities to leave the country and live in freedom. He was the ultimate Chinese patriots and the Chinese government has reaffirmed that it remains a blood-soaked dictatorship.  Some day freedom will come to China and the Chinese people will learn of people like Liu who died for their liberty and their future.

 

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Printing The Legend: The Growing Gap Between Comey’s Image and Actions

The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance440px-Comey-FBI-PortraitBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the curious coverage surrounding James Comey and his leaking of his memos on meetings with President Donald Trump.  With the confirmation hearings of Comey’s replacement, Chris Wray, today, the status of the memos may come up in the Senate.

Here is the column:

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Dog Racism: New York Partner Sues Condo Over Ban On Pit Bulls

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File Pit Bull Image

Latham & Watkins partner Michelle Kelban-Carteron is in an intense litigation with the board of managers of her Chelsea Modern condo over what her counsel says is “dog racism” in a ban on pit bulls and “other potentially dangerous dogs.”  The lawsuit by the board cites instances of Luna lunging at residents and barking at other dogs in an aggressive manner.  As a result, they seek an injunction and declaration that Kelban-Carteron has breached her contract and violated the associational rules of the condo.  It also alleges the creation of a nuisance.

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