Fox News host Sean Hannity made a suggestion Monday on his radio program that has many curious. The conservative commentator stated that President Donald Trump should pardon himself and his family prior to leaving office.
This declaration came in reply to an op-ed from The New York Times authored by former DOJ deputy attorney Andrew Weissman, who also worked with ex-special counsel Robert Mueller. As Hannity argued it may be necessary. “The president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch hunt to go on in perpetuity.” Mueller’s investigation spanned almost two years and found no conclusive evidence of Russian collusion.
Hannity then claimed, “They’re so full of rage and insanity against the president… I assume that the power of the pardon is absolute and that he should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to.” He doubled down later on his tv show. Again addressing that op-ed piece, Hannity announced, “if that’s what they wanna do, if Biden became president, I’d tell Trump, pardon yourself and pardon your family.” An extreme act for sure. Could it ever be justified? Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), a staunch supporter of the president took to Twitter last week and posted: ‘”President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to.”
Plus he added, “The Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with @realDonaldTrump to deliver for the American people.” https://twitter.com/RepMattGaetz/status/1331445238620164099 Yet presumptive President-elect Joe Biden appears inclined to just move on. “I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen.” Still Biden has reportedly left a door open for the Department of Justice to pursue possible charges.
Shortly after Donald Trump pardoned this year’s White House turkey a reporter asked him if he intends to pardon himself before leaving office in January.
“Will you be issuing a pardon for yourself?” a journalist shouted on Tuesday during the Rose Garden ceremony. Trump pardoned a turkey two days before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Instead of answering Trump turned and with Melania walked a few stairs that rest at the base of the Rose Garden not far from the Oval Office. He turned for a moment and posed for a couple of photos. They waved to guests then disappeared inside the White House.
The same reporter had earlier asked Trump if he will issue any pardons before leaving the White House on January 20. Trump refused to answer that question as well. President Trump has not been charged with any crimes but does face a mountain of investigations once he exits the White House, perhaps the worst of which includes a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance into his businesses.
If Trump did pardon himself, it would protect him from federal investigations, but not from jurisdictions such as New York. The possibility that the president might seek to preemptively absolve himself has sparked debate among legal scholars over whether the move would be constitutional.
Philip Bobbitt of Lawfare claims, “There appears to be some confusion surrounding the question of whether a president can pardon himself. There are many judgments to be drawn from the familiar forms of legal argument—history, text, structure, prudence, doctrine and ethos—all of which cohere around the conclusion that such a pardon is not constitutionally permissible, a conclusion also reached by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). These arguments are discussed in more detail in “Impeachment: A Handbook,” by Charles L. Black, Jr. and Philip Bobbitt, forthcoming from Yale Press in September.”