Attempts By Trump To Pardon Anyone Indicted By Mueller Could Backfire On Him In A BIG Way

There’s a lot of talk that, if Mueller indicts friends and associates of Trump over the Russia scandal, Trump will just pardon them and nobody will get punished, least of all Trump. There are two problems with that: First, to accept a pardon is to admit guilt, so he’d be throwing them under the bus. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, any pardons he issues could land him in hot water just that much sooner. According to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), his pardoning power is not exactly absolute.

Schiff told ABC News:

“I don’t think the president’s power is all that absolute, as people have been suggesting.

The president cannot pardon people if it’s an effort to obstruct justice, if it’s an effort to prevent Bob Mueller and others from learning about the President’s own conduct. So, there are limitations.”

This whole thing really took off when Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate whether Trump obstructed justice when he fired James Comey. It’s true that the Constitution does give the president broad power to issue pardons for “offenses against the United States.” However, we currently don’t have any precedent for a president pardoning people tied to his own campaign, and rumors have been circulating that Trump wants to test his pardoning powers to see just how far they actually go.

That could be part of why the Tweeter-In-Chief was panicking so badly on Twitter that he screamed, “DO SOMETHING!” in a rant about Hillary Clinton and Uranium One. He might be aware that not only is Mueller getting closer to something that implicates him, which we just can’t have, but also that he can’t pardon anyone Mueller indicts (or perhaps has been strongly warned away from trying).

A pardon would require an admission of guilt, but it would also prevent people from flipping on Trump and singing out the truth in exchange for lesser charges or a lesser sentence. Depending on who’s indicted, and what they do, the man who would be king in the White House will find it far more difficult to keep claiming that Russia is just a distraction and there’s nothing to it.

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And so will all his lackeys.

Too bad.


Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images