Donald Trump has a new Russia defense, and that is that since the president has the power to pardon, he has committed no crimes.
Trump’s belief that he is above the law was on full display on Saturday:
While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
Donald Trump was wrong. A President does not have unlimited pardon power. Four days before Richard Nixon resigned the Justice Department’s Office of the Legal Counsel wrote, “1. Pursuant to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment,” is vested in the President. This raises the question whether the President can pardon himself. Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, it would seem that the question should be answered in the negative.”
Trump believes that as president, the law does not apply to him. He also appears to be confusing diplomatic immunity with the pardoning. Pardoning does not mean that crimes can’t be committed.
Richard Nixon believed in the imperial presidency. The Nixonians that if the president did something, it was legal.
Trump believes in a divine presidency, where the president is above all laws. Nixon thought presidential behavior changed laws. Trump thinks that the president is above all law.
Both schools of thought about executive power are wrong and unconstitutional, and each has led and likely will lead to the demise of a lawless president.
Trump is in for a very rude awakening if he believes that he is above the law.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association