This article is a work of editorial opinion that reflects the author’s viewpoint as supported by factual evidence. This article may not represent the opinion of RDTDAILY.COM, its parent or affiliates.
DEVELOPING NEWS TO WATCH FOR
How can Trump save himself and his inner circle while leaving Mueller hanging in the wind?
As soon as Trump evokes his pardoning powers within the terms of the Russian scandal the country will be thrown into a debate over whether a sitting president may be indicted or whether the Constitution requires impeachment and removal prior to indictment as some have noted. Trump’s use of his pardon power became a subject of interest after The Washington Post reported that Trump sought legal advice asking if he could pardon aides and family members involved in the Russia investigation. Constitutionally, Trump’s pardoning powers are very broad.
Bloomberg has reported that Mueller’s investigation has also sought legal advice on Trump’s pardoning powers. In particular, Mueller is interested in whether Trump can issue preemptive pardons, in an attempt to use his pardon powers to protect those in his inner circle who could be vulnerable to indictments in Mueller’s investigation. As the first step of a possible Trump final exit strategy Trump could be expected to start reaching for his pardoning pen. Blanket Presidential Pardons can be expected to begin a new contentious chapter that could see the end the Trump presidency.
Trump uses powers of the presidency to issue a blanket Presidential Pardon.
Step one in a possible Trump final exit strategy may very well be to use the powers of the presidency, to issue a blanket Presidential Pardon, to insulate and eliminate any legal and political threat to Trump’s inner circle, by granting pardons, before they’re convicted of anything in the context of the Russia investigation, simply by taking advantage of a number of fundamental questions of constitutional law. Presidential pardon power derives from a specific grant in the Constitution. Article II, Section 2 vests the president with the “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States. Blanket Presidential Pardons were used by President George H.W. Bush when he issued full blanket pardons to six of his co-conspirators who implicated him in the Iran-Contra Affair Investigation, some of whom still faced trial. A president can prospectively pardon individuals for crimes that have occurred but have not been charged.
In the most famous example, President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon even though he was not under indictment. In Ex Parte Garland, 71 U.S. 333, 380 (1867), the Supreme Court supported the right of the president to issue such Blanket Presidential Pardons as: The [pardon] power … extends to every offense known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken , or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment. Recently McConnell has confirmed to Trump that if he were to issue pardons of one sort or another, including a blanket pardon to all officials involved in his campaign, such pardons would be supported by the Republican Congress.
Trump uses Twenty-Fifth Amendment to pardon himself.
Step two in a possible Trump final exit strategy may very well involve invoking Section 3 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to allow the vice president, in his role as acting president, to pardon the president. Trump could simply declare that he is temporarily unable to perform the duties of his office, for whatever reason, Vice President Pence would then become Acting President and as such Pence could pardon Trump. Thereafter Trump could either resign or resume the duties of his office. Even if Trump and Pence were found guilty in the court of public opinion of conspiring to launder away their respective criminal liabilities and tarnish Pence’s standing as a politically viable successor in the event of impeachment, McConnell and his Republicans know – they can manage this political event, no matter how seismic it may publicly appear – that there will be no future impeachment proceedings and – there are no legal or constitutional obstacles to deal with.
Trump brings a final close to Congressional and Special Counsel Investigations.
Step three and the final step, in a possible Trump final exit strategy, will involve – eliminating any attempts to impeach the president for drastically abusing his pardoning powers and – bringing to a final close the existing Congressional and Special Counsel Investigations. In regards to the former, it is only the Republican Congress, through its Article I broad powers who can conduct impeachment proceedings and determine impeachable offenses — such as Trump misusing his pardon powers to cover up the criminal conduct of his inner circle. In other words Congress must first not only consider such an action but must actually take impeachment actions once the pardon power is abused. Something McConnell and his republicans have absolutely no intentions of doing. In regards to the latter, for the special counsel, a blanket Presidential Pardon would have a narrowing effect on Mueller’s authority and investigation, as it would end any criminal jeopardy arising from his investigation. However, provided there are still active leads and targets, the special counsel mandate could continue but to what purpose.
Trump’s final exit from the presidency.
In the final analysis, if history proves this to truly have been Trump’s final exit strategy from the presidency then history will also have recorded that – Trump and his inner circle rode off into the sunset scot free, – Pence inherited the Trump presidency, and for the time being away the GOP retained their political power over the country.
(This is Article #19 in our Corrupt Nation series reporting on the demise of a corrupt U.S. President.)
OTHER CORRUPT NATION ARTICLES OF INTEREST BY THIS AUTHOR:
[ARE PUTIN AND TRUMP EXPENDABLE?] [HOW MUELLER ENSNARED FLYNN] [HOW MUELLER WILL BRING DOWN TRUMP] [WHO WILL BRING TRUMP DOWN?] [MANAFORT KEY TO TRUMP TAKE-DOWN] [THE MUELLER PERFECT MCCONNELL/TRUMP STORM] [MUELLER’S FINGERPRINTS ON TRUMP] [THE TRUMP/RUSSIAN EMAILS] [TRANSITION TEAM EMAIL DISPUTE] [WHO WILL BE LEFT STANDING AFTER THE HOLIDAYS?] [MUELLER’S TAKE-DOWN OF KUSHNER AND BANNON] [ROE HATING PENCE REPLACES TREASONOUS TRUMP]
The article is a work of editorial opinion that reflects the author’s viewpoint as supported by factual evidence. This article may not represent the opinions of RDTDAILY.COM, its parent or affiliates.
Paul Cogan is a writer for the RDTDAILY.COM based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He specializes in coverage of justice, political, economic, and environmental news. You can follow Paul on
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