Rudy Giuliani argued that Trump has the power to pardon himself, but according to Preet Bharara, a Trump pardon of himself would almost be self-executing impeachment.
Giuliani argued on ABC’s This Week that Trump has the power to pardon himself, “He — he’s not, but he probably does. He has no intention of pardoning himself but he probably — not to say he can’t. I mean, that — that’s another really interesting constitutional argument, can the president pardon himself. It would be an open question. I think it would probably get answered by gosh, that’s what the constitution says and if you want to change it, change it. But yes.”
On CNN’s State Of The Union, Preet Bharara said that any Trump pardon himself would almost be self-executing impeachment:
Bharara said, “I think it would be outrageous for a sitting President Of The United States. I think if the president decided he was going to pardon himself I think it is almost self-executing impeachment. Whether or not there is a minor legal argument that some law professor in some legal journal could make, that is not what the framers could have intended. That’s not what I think the American people would stand for. The second thing is when Rudy Giuliani says, and I hate to keep harping on this point, Rudy, just like Jay Sekulow keeps coming up with things that end up being false. When he says, the president is not contemplating something I have no faith in that whatsoever.”
A pardon is an admission of guilt
The reason why Giuliani’s belief that Trump can pardon himself is akin to self-impeachment is that a pardon has to come with an admission of guilt. If Trump pardons himself, he is admitting that he is guilty. A pardon would only spare Trump from federal prosecution, but with a self-admission of guilt, there would be nothing stopping Congress from impeaching him. A pardon does not stop the impeachment process, so that is what Bharara meant by calling a presidential pardon of himself self-impeachment.
A presidential lawyer shouldn’t be talking about pardons if his client is innocent. The Trump legal team keeps admitting that Trump is guilty, but what Giuliani floated could lead to the first ever, virtual self-impeachment by a president.
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