Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Art of the Pardon

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

As former FBI Director Robert Mueller begins his careful and methodical investigation into the Russian intrigues of Donald John Trump, his political associates, and his family, the level of paranoia in and around the White House seems to be skyrocketing.  Not only have reports surfaced over the past two days indicating that Trump's people are actively investigating the investigators by looking for conflicts of interest and any embarrassments that might stick to the Mueller team,  but stories are also circulating which suggest that Trump's lawyers are researching the notion of presidential pardons.

One thought is that if an individual associated with the Trump-Russia scandals was preemptively pardoned, that person could no longer be the subject of an investigation.  By that same logic, however, the pardoned person could still serve as a witness and provide information, and by being pardoned he (or she) should no longer be able to (or have a need to) plead the Fifth.  A person who has been pardoned should have no legal fear of self-incrimination.

But, I am not a lawyer - nor do I play one on television.

The other intriguing question that has been kicked around this week is this:  Does the President have the ability to pardon himself?

The idea of a mere mortal, even one who was elected president by the mighty Electoral College, pardoning himself for any and all crimes and misdemeanors that he may have committed against federal law is so outrageous that even America's slimiest president, before Trump, Richard Nixon, did not go there.  (Nixon had the successor that he selected, Gerald Ford, pardon him after he resigned in disgrace.)

But Donald John is at least mulling over the notion of cutting out the middle man and pardoning himself.  What the hell's the point of being president if a guy can't take full advantage of the perks that come with the office?

So as Russiagate continues to unfold and back the Trump administration further and further into a corner, don't expect them not to fight back with every weapon they can muster.  Their narcissistic generalissimo will not go gently into that dark night.  He will bully the Mueller team and try to discredit those good public servants with all of the trash his people can unearth or manufacture, and if he cannot beat the Mueller team into submission, Trump will try to kill it by cutting off its head - firing Mueller.  Donald John will pass out pardons like cake at a birthday party, and at some point he will even pardon himself - in fact, he might make it a weekly event just to keep up with his rampant crimes and misdemeanors.

Don the Con is not about playing fair, playing fair is for losers.

The courts are about to get overwhelmed with cases so important that they will shape the future of our country for generations to come.

We live in interesting times.

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

The Impeachment Clause, Article II § 4 says “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

I believe that Trump is engaged in a classic case of mixing his chicken manure into his applesauce. I think his logic is that if he were pardoned he could not be convicted and therefore could not be impeached. That’s just simply wrong.

We need look no further back than the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Clinton was never convicted of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors by any court of law. Impeachment, of the President, is its own beast. The impeachment process begins with an indictment in the form of an article of impeachment. Go to and read H.Res.438 filed by Representative Brad Sherman on July 12, 2017 for an example.

The article of impeachment goes to the Judiciary Committee of the House for deliberation. If the article gets approved by that committee it is sent to the full floor. If the House passes the article of impeachment then it goes to the Senate where the trial will take place.

Who could forget the impeachment of President Clinton? The robe worn by Chief Justice Rehnquist, who presided over the Senate, was straight out of a Gilbert & Sullivan set. Why the Chief Justice? Article I § 3 cl. 6 says: “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.”

One need not be convicted by a state or federal court to be impeached. The House alleges and the Senate either acquits or convicts.

Consensus has it that once a person is impeached there is no appeal. Federal Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They have not been granted the power to review the impeachment. As Trump appears to be headed towards impeachment at the speed of light readers may want to purchase their own copy of “Impeachment: A Handbook by Charles Black, Jr.” It is available from numerous internet sources for under $20.00.