Donald Trump pardon: Can Donald Trump pardon himself?
Donald Trump slams Capitol riot and concedes election to Biden
President Donald Trump has suggested to his close aides he plans to pardon himself in his final days in the White House, according to a new report. The President’s reported request comes after continued calls for his removal from the Oval Office following the events that have gripped the US in recent days. Mr Trump has specifically inquired about the legal implications of giving himself a presidential pardon before leaving the presidency, speaking with aides about the issue in the weeks following his electoral defeat in November.
The President has also reportedly considered issuing pardons to his family members, including Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr, as well as aides like Jared Kushner and his personal lawyer, Rudi Giuliani.
Mr Trump suggested to advisers he was concerned about the incoming administration potentially investigating his family for criminal wrongdoing.
Previous reports have also indicated the President has discussed pardons for himself and others.
So as President Donald Trump prepares to depart from his role, can he actually pardon himself?
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Can Donald Trump pardon himself?
The pardon power, which comes from the US Constitution, is one of the broadest tools available to a President.
The US founders saw the pardon power as a way to show mercy and serve the public good.
The President doesn’t even have to give a reason for issuing a pardon.
In a 1981 case, the Supreme Court said pardons “are rarely, if ever, appropriate subjects for judicial review”.
Most pardons are given to people who have been prosecuted and sentenced.
But pardons can also cover conduct that has not resulted in legal action, though they don’t apply to any future misdemeanours.
But whether he can actually do it stands to be seen as no President has ever tried it before.
Back in 2018, Mr Trump tweeted: “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?
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“In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (&others) continues into the mid-terms!”
Brian Kalt, a constitutional law professor at Michigan State University said: “When people ask me if a president can pardon himself, my answer is always, ‘Well, he can try.’.”
Mr Kalt added: “The Constitution does not provide a clear answer on this.”
Legal experts argue a self-pardon would be unconstitutional because it violates the basic principle that nobody should be the judge in his or her own case.
But strictly speaking, it would be legal for President Trump to pardon his inner circle, including members of his family.
In 2001, former president Bill Clinton pardoned his brother, Roger, who was convicted for cocaine possession in Arkansas.
Mr Clinton pardoned about 450 individuals, including a Democratic Party donor, Marc Rich, who had earlier fled the country because of tax evasion charges.
In addition, President Richard Nixon was pardoned by President Gerald Ford following his term in office.
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