The president has long called the investigation into his campaign’s possible coordination with Russia a “witch hunt.” Now that special counsel Mueller and his team is able to study evidence of any crime it encounters in the probe — including tax fraud, lying to federal agents and interference in the investigation – Trump may be feeling the pressure.
President Trump has asked his lawyers whether he can pardon himself or his family members. It appears that Trump is especially concerned that Mueller will investigate his family business and finances, including past deals with Russians.
Can A U.S. President Pardon Himself for Crimes?
First, a president can’t be prosecuted for crimes federally while in office, so a pardon would only be of legal significance after he left office.
Second, a president can pardon an individual at any point, including before the person is charged with a crime.
Third, a pardon provides legal immunity from criminal liability for some action, and the pardon must be presented to a court. At that point, a court would have to rule whether to accept the pardon as valid. Given the untested nature of this question, it may well be the Supreme Court deciding whether the President (or former President by that time) can pardon himself.
Fourth, a presidential pardon does not immunize anyone from criminal prosecution by any of the fifty states. The president can only pardon federal crimes. For example, the Florida attorney general could still prosecute Trump for tax fraud even if Trump received a presidential pardon.
According to fifteen legal experts, though, the Constitution isn’t clear about this. Clearly, this is just not a situation the framers expected. Moreover, no President has ever tried it, not even Nixon. Most of the experts believe if he did try to pardon himself, it would be both an admission of guilt and create a potential constitutional crisis. Certainly, there is also a common-law rule that a person cannot serve as a judge in his own case, but the exact question of a President pardoning himself has never been before the federal courts.
However, even if Trump could not legally pardon himself, he would likely just make a deal with his successor (President Pence?) to obtain a pardon after he left office, just as Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.
Can President Trump Pardon His Family Members, Aides, and Associates?
Yes. There is no doubt that President Trump could pardon his family members and aides for federal crimes. The most obvious reason for issuing pardons now would not be to protect any of the key people from prosecution or prison, but to limit Mueller’s leverage over them as witnesses against Trump.
However, it’s possible such a pardon could be treated as part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice. Furthermore, while a pardon immunizes a person from prosecution, it does not shield them from the subpoena power of Congress. In fact, their immunization from prosecution may actually make it more difficult to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. And if Trump’s family members or aides lie to Congress under oath, that could constitute a new crime not covered by a previous pardon.
If Trump Can Pardon Himself, Does That Protect Him From Impeachment?
No. Even if Trump pardoned himself that would not shield him from impeachment hearings. The Constitution specifically provides that the pardon power does not prevent — or undo — an impeachment. The Constitution specifically rules out the possibility of pardoning someone for impeachable offenses.
What do you think? A central tenet of American democracy is often stated as, “No man is above the law.” Should the president have the power to pardon himself for crimes?
No one man or woman should be able to get away with the thousands of criminal activities Trump & his cronies have gotten away with!!! Surely, 1 of these criminal activities he must be held accountable! Making him a one term president isn’t enough, he needs to pay for his crimes just like any of the rest of us,nwhether it’s State, local,mor federal crimes. Someone has got to be able to stop this insanely criminal person!?!?!?!?! JUSTICE FOR ALL, ALL MEN & WOMEN ARE CREATEDVEQUAL
If Trump were to pardon himself and his family members it would show how guilty he really is.Biggest crook ever. What a worthless human being.The dog and pony show must go on.
I think the president should be up to him to pardon whomever he pleases, and should be a blanket coverage…not just federal…
No he should not be able to pardon himself or family member,
History shows that President Ulysses S. Grant was arrested by Washington D.C. policeman William H. West for driving his horse & carriage too fast down a street…Speeding.
“In one version of various stories relating to West and Grant, in 1872 West was patrolling on foot near 13th and M Streets in Washington DC, when he stopped the President for speeding in his horse and buggy and released with a warning for excessive speed. The next day, West observed Grant repeating the behavior, and arrested him.
‘I am very sorry. Mr. President, to have to do it, for you are the chief of the nation and I am nothing but a policeman, but duty is duty, sir, and I will have to place you under arrest.’
Grant was taken to the police station and released on a $20 bond (equivalent to $430 in 2019). Grant did not contest the fine or arrest.”
And he didn’t Pardon himself either….
No he should not be able to pardon him self. This a admission of guilt anyway. We live in a democracy NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW. If you done wrong then you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
It’s quite clear that the president pardoning himself is not clear legally. Since no President in the history of our nation has done it not even Richard Nixon.
Pardon himself, no. Hang himself, one can only hope.
Absolutely not. The President should be able to use that power to pardon people who have been unjustly prosecuted and resiliency and convicted. By no means should the president be able to Pardon himself of a crime
No man is above the law. Period.
The possibility to presidential pardon have and will be used for personal gain which current administration and president clearly shown . I am a independent and don’t judge politic.
This is very upsetting in what was the greatest democracy in the world.
No, the president should not be able to pardon himself or any family member!! He is not above the law!!
He should not be able to pardon himself. This is an admission of guilt. He should only be able to pardon someone charged or convicted of a crime. The law cant assume something may happen.
No a President can’t pardon himself. No one is above the law. If he could pardon himself that would make him his own judge and jury. Which would put him above the law.
No President should ever be allowed to Pardon himself or those he conspired with against the Federal laws. This only creates dictators.
The answer is NO. One should not be able to blanket pardon himself or others. They should only be pardoned if found guilty of a crime, not before. It should serve to deter crimes committed by the President or those instructed by the President to commit.
No. The President should not have the right to pardon himself for crimes. No one should have the right to pardon himself or herself for crimes. If that were possible, it would open the door for unfettered criminal activity, knowing that one could just erase their illegal activities at the end of the trail.
Carrying a “get out of jail” card in one’s wallet allows for “go to jail” activities without the fear of retribution or justice being served.
The Constitution of the United States of America doesn’t have anything in it concerning weather a sitting POTUS can be prosecuted. The manner of prosecution of setting is a matter of DOJ policy not Constitutional Law.
Thanks for your analysis! Another question still lingers, however. If the President does manage to pardon himself, and accepts his own pardon, he is effectively admitting his own guilt. If he admits his guilt, and confesses to his criminality by accepting the pardon, can he legally run for federal office again?
I appreciate your response!
OF COURSE NOT
We are a country that relies heavily on our laws, so much so that it completely overshadows our own moral fortitude. I am sure the framers did not see that we would have such a corrupt government that this pardon power would even come into play. This is just one more thing in government that our framers meant for good and our corrupt government has exploited. We clearly need an amendment to this because it is being used and abused.
No I don’t think that a president should have the power to pardon himself that would seem that the President would be above the law no one should be above the law if that would be so our country would no be a democracy
No, the President should not be above the law. He should not have the power to pardon himself from investigation of treason after he leaves office, or any other crime. If he is suspected of treason he should be unable to leave the United States until after the completion of an investigation the 100% clears him.
I know the dams hate Trump but I don’t think those off the balls to try to prosecute him after he leaves office…
There would be no standing in court for a general, unspecified pardon for some, or all possible future crimes that the pardoned individual may or may not commit. Without any indictment of a specific crime, the court cannot uphold such a pardon would have to be made after a specific indictment, not on the basis of what if…
You did mention “some action” but if there was no specified “action”, a pardon cannot by given. Therefore, as I understand, there are no federal indictments – yet – for Trump or any of his associates. If any are issued (probably) they would certainly be served sometime after January 20th, but within the statute of limitations for such crime. Excluding NY States probable indictments to come later next year,Trump cannot pardon himself because he has not yet been formally accused of any specific crime….again, next year after the 20th.
I doubt that any court would even consider such a pardon. But then Trump claims he knows more than his generals; doctors and even his lawyers!
No president should be abel to pardon himself or anyone else prior to being accused of a crime. By allowing this to happen he could potentially
commit any federal crime and claim it was covered by the pardon. Would that include treason?
Well there are a litany of illegal activities the trump crime family has been involved in. And I would imagine tax evasion is top of the list for all of them… e is a con man who never should have been elected. Biden however does have the stomach for that I don’t think and he has a crises to deal with. No matter what you can’t stop him from doing what he wants to do as he thinks he’s above the law. But he should be charged for wreckless disregard for this pandemic and for treason for openly trying to overthrow our government. He’s a crook we simply don’t have enough time to deal with the idiot.
This is totally unreal!!! His has the right to get,;”get out of jail” card? This isn’t monopoly. This isn’t right. How can you pardon before a crime! You have to know what the crime is to pardon that crime.
That is totally ridiculous!!!!!!!
Absolutely not! He can’t be his own judge and jury; if that were the case, what prevents any/all future presidents from committing federal crimes while in office?
Does this mean he would be pardoned from all future federal crimes??? That doesn’t make any sense, so they can commit a federal crime after their pardoned and you can’t go after them???
It would be unfair for the president to grant a pardon to himself and his children in advance of federal charges against any of them. That would give them power that no one else in the country would have. Especially since it is known that they are a family used to breaking the law
my concerns are not for crimes that pres.trump did not commit. my concern would be if biden becomes president and he pardons himself, his family, and his other friends from their many real crimes which the left is determined to cover up.
I think it’s absolutely wrong that a president has the ability to not only pardon himself but members of his family who have worked as part of his administration. Family working in the White House with him is wrong enough and I thought that was against the law. Should Just tell them they can do whatever they please and not worry about it! This pres has done more and gotten away with more than any other pres. Something needs to change. No one should be above the law especially someone in charge of running this country.
No- no man is above the law. If you do the crime then do the time. To pardon convicted murders such as blackwater and trump himself is in itself an admission of guilt. This simply send a singal if your on trumps good list then you can do no wrong. Trump will protect you. He is an idiot moron that should be sent to prison for the crimes against tu us. The destruction of the us contiution and the race to damage the life of American public. This man needs to be stopped now. Congress do your job represent the American way of life
No the president should not be allowed to pardon anyone. Pardons should be only up to the Supreme Court, by changing this law I believe it would slow down on corruption. By entering office you put your hand on the Bible and took up an oath.
You should have to stand by that oath or pay the consequences.
Once impeached you must immediately step down and leave office.
In this case, Trump should pardon himself, his entire family, and anyone else possibly associated with alleged wrongdoing of any kind. The democrats staged an illegitimate investigation and prosecution of Trump without a shred of evidence. They practically destroyed his first term in office, then stole his second term. He and everyone associated with him should have complete immunity from any further harassment from those traitors.
Absolutely not!! No one, not even the president is above the law in the United States Of America! If that were to be accepted, then The United States would have no true equal justice system. And it would encourage presidents to be lawless, and then just pardon themselves. It would completely destroy our democracy!
Mo one person should be above the law, a president just like any official should and must be held to a higher standard, especially elected officials and definitely the President. A President is no different than any other person. If he committed crimes, especially crimes against the Country and Constitution he has sworn to protect, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. NO IS ABOVE THE LAW! ESPECIALLY A PRESIDENT!!!
No way, how can anyone be allowed to pardon themselves?
The Constitution needs to be updated with wording that states that a sitting President cannot pardon himself in any case while he is in office and after he has left office. The current President has committed felonies and should need to pay the price for hurting the United States by his crimes. We need to protect this democracy by updating the constitution.
I don’t think he should be able to pardon himself. That’s like admitting wrong doing and he should be hels accountable.
Like it states no man is above the law.
He should not be able to pardon himself. citizens don’t have this right you do the crime you do the time.
Criminal Justice System is broken already him doing this would make me a protester
No. To do so would be the writing of a blank check for a president to behave as dictator with no restraints. This would be the impetus for dangerous civil behavior and extreme lawlessness in America. I believe that a president who willfully commit crimes should be considered unfit and a threat to our democracy and removed from office and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and not eligible for pardon by the next president as well as having all post benefits forfeit and confined in prison as metered by law.
Yes, the President should be able to issue a pardon to anyone including himself.
The President should not be allowed to pardon himself!! And why would he pardon his family or anyone else, less there was a crime committed. How in this country, can these things happened!??? He is responsible a coudet that he himself ordered on the same day he gave a speech to “his to militants” to go to the Capitol and stop the certification of our new president and Vice President. Why can’t they remove him because he will go as far as possible! Why not when he incited the rioterS to go and would pay for any money they incurred? He sat in the Oval Office watching the show? Why is he still there? re Republicans that much involved to kiss his ass about overthrowing our government? He has ruined Our country since he became president!! He should be somewhere held in solitude. NOT IN THE OVAL OFFICE!!
No!! A sitting president should not have the power to pardon himself Period!! They are not above the law… and should not be able to excuse themselves from criminal action while in office.. specially the acts of treason that trump has committed.
Yes because I feel they are in way making an admission of guilt. If you haven’t broken the law why would you need a pardon?…..
So absolutely allow them to pardon themselves that way when they leave office and are charged it makes it almost impossible to invoke the 5th amendment.
If a pardon obtained by bribery is invalid, can any pardon issued to people that contributed to Trump’s political campaign be considered bought? Equally, any person that obstructed justice during the Muller investigation that later received a pardon for federal crimes could have purchased the pardon through their action rather than money. Is there a process in place to revoke presidential pardons if a justice department investigation determines that it was paid for with money of actions?
So if Trump has the power to pardon himself then you could say he is above the law, Right?
No pardons for this tyrant fascist or Nazi Stephen Miller who are responsible for 400,000 American deaths plus 5 more from the insurrection at the Capitol and 1 more at Charlottesville.
They are mass murderers!
Time to outlaw the Nazi cultists
as fomenters of hate-speech, violence and murder! Or is this country waiting for 11 million more to be killed?
“ No man is above the law” so he SHOULD NOT have the power to pardon himself or his family members for any reason. I believe, “If you do not want to do the time, the do not do the crime.” They all made a conscious choice to do the things they did and if this includes crimes then they need to be prosecuted for those crimes based on the law.
The president should not be able to pardon himself or family members