Before he leaves, Trump makes a list of presidential pardons for his friends

United States President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump on October 29, 2020 in Tampa, Florida

The little favors of a departing president.

From January 20, 2021, Donald Trump will cease to be the president of the world’s leading power, and will have to leave the reins to his successor Joe Biden. That leaves him still nine full days, and he has decided to make the most of them: Trump hopes to be able to announce on January 19 the pardon of several personalities whose list he has drawn up, a list which is currently being examined by his senior advisers and the office of the White House legal adviser, as reported by Bloomberg. Some of the names proposed include senior White House officials, members of the Trump family, well-known rappers and, according to sources close to his office, possibly Donald Trump himself.

Preventive graces …

In particular, a whole batch of preventive pardons is currently on the table of discussions. They concern senior White House officials, who have not been charged with crimes, such as Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, appointed last March, senior advisor to President Stephen Miller, an early supporter, the chief from staff John McEntee and director of social media Dan Scavino. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has been one of his main supporters after his electoral defeat, is also reportedly under discussion.

Rudy Giuliani speaks to a crowd of pro-Trump supporters near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. A few hours later, the Capitol is stormed

On the family side, we would find the daughter and son-in-law of the president, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, as well as Kimberly Guilfoyle, former host of a Fox News program, in a relationship with Donald Trump Jr.

These preventive pardons, if granted, should protect beneficiaries from any prosecution for a federal crime allegedly committed before the granting of the presidential pardon. Although the practice of preventive pardon is rare, it was once used by the 38th President of the United States Gerald Ford, in order to preserve his predecessor Richard Nixon, who had resigned a month earlier following the scandal of the United States. Watergate.

And pardons for recognized offenses

As for people already convicted of various criminal offenses, they could benefit from the traditional presidential pardon. The alleged candidates would be lawyer Albert Pirro, convicted of tax evasion, and who had worked with Donald Trump on real estate transactions, but also a few rappers, such as Lil Wayne, who had supported the president during the election campaign, and Kodak Black, currently in prison for forging documents to obtain a firearm.

Personalities like rapper Lil Yachty and quarterback Lamar Jackson recently publicly called on Donald Trump to agree to pardon Kodak Black, who had promised on Twitter to donate a million dollars to charity if he got out of prison. … Before deleting his message.

But those pardons, especially those affecting members of the White House, could spark new allegations of obstruction of justice. Above all, the eventuality of a pardon that Donald Trump would grant to himself seems difficult to obtain.

Donald Trump, touched by grace?

Such an action, whether successful or not, would be a first in the history of the presidency of the United States. This would allow Trump to protect himself from any legal action that would be likely to be initiated by his political opponents at the end of his term.

And the reasons are not lacking: among them, the question of the campaign of interference carried out by Russia during the presidential election of 2016, the declarations of income taxes to the ridiculous sums presented by Donald Trump, or more recently , the assault on Capitol Hill, encouraged by the president himself, following heavy pressure to try to overturn the election votes.

In June 2018, on his now suspended Twitter account, Trump argued, “I have the absolute right to GRACE myself, but why would I do this when I have done nothing wrong?”

But can he really do it? Article II of the Constitution provides that a president has “the power to grant stays and pardons for crimes against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” While some jurists consider this power to be absolute, a legal opinion from the Ministry of Justice dating from 1974 nevertheless mentioned that “the president cannot pardon himself”, because of what is presented as a “rule. fundamental according to which no one can be judge of his own case ”.

While the text of the Constitution does not specifically prohibit “self-grace,” according to Brian Kalt, professor at the University of Michigan Law School, “the argument against self-grace begins with ‘idea that the granting of a pardon is, by definition, something that can only be granted to another person ”.

Still, to the extent that the presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes, other types of prosecution could be initiated against Donald Trump, his family and his charges.

In the weeks following the presidential election results and his defeat, Trump had already granted several pardons to his allies, including Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, convicted of financial crimes and illegal lobbying activities, and the real estate developer Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, found guilty of false tax returns and reprisals on witnesses.

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