Pardon me: Can the POTUS pardon himself?

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Pardon me: Can the POTUS pardon himself?

Post by jserraglio » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:41 am

Can Trump Pardon Himself?
With the appointment of Robert Mueller as a special counsel, the chatter about President Donald Trump’s impeachment has started to migrate from the purely hypothetical to the realm of potential practical reality. All citizens have a duty to stay informed during such a moment. But legal and political experts have the added responsibility of anticipating the many constitutional dilemmas that loom on the horizon. Donald Trump is an unprecedented president in many ways, and there is good reason to think any early departure of his from office would be unprecedented as well.

Consider the following situation..... ... stigation/

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Re: Pardon me: Can the POTUS pardon himself?

Post by lennygoran » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:35 am

jserraglio wrote:
Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:41 am
Can Trump Pardon Himself?
Yeah he's contemptible and talk about contempt there's this today from the NYTimes. Regards, len :(

The Opinion Pages | Editorial
President Trump’s Contempt for the Rule of Law


In less than an hour on Wednesday afternoon, President Trump found a way to impugn the integrity and threaten the livelihoods of nearly all of the country’s top law enforcement officials, including some he appointed, for one simple reason: They swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not him.

For a president who sees the rule of law as an annoyance rather than a feature of American democracy, the traitors are everywhere.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions endured the worst abuse, which came during Mr. Trump’s gobsmacking Oval Office interview with The Times. Mr. Sessions’s offense? Recusing himself in March from all investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign, a decision that infuriated Mr. Trump. “If he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” the president said. He called the recusal “extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the president.”

Never mind that Mr. Sessions had no real choice but to step aside. Given his proximity to the campaign — Mr. Sessions was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters — his ability to be impartial was reasonably in doubt. The “unfairness,” as Mr. Trump saw it, was that Mr. Sessions’s partiality was exactly what he hoped to exploit, mainly to help quash the F.B.I.’s inquiry into his campaign’s possible ties to the Russian government, whose meddling was aimed at tipping the election in Mr. Trump’s favor.

Mr. Sessions said on Thursday that he would continue as attorney general “as long as that is appropriate.” But propriety left the building long ago. It’s hard to imagine he will be there much longer, since the president has, in so many words, invited him to resign for failing to block the Russia investigation. That inquiry lives on for now, but all those associated with it would be justified in fearing that they could well end up like James Comey, the F.B.I. director Mr. Trump fired in May in the hope of shutting it down.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who took charge after Mr. Sessions’s recusal, and Robert Mueller, the special counsel Mr. Rosenstein appointed to run the investigation after Mr. Comey’s firing, were also in the president’s sights. Both men, he complained, were guilty of “conflicts of interest” — which Mr. Trump seems to define as anything that conflicts with his own interests.

For Mr. Mueller, who led the F.B.I. for more than a decade and who is one of the most respected law enforcement officials in the country, Mr. Trump had a clear message: Watch your back. Any investigation into the Trump family’s finances, unrelated to Russia, the president said, would constitute a “violation” of Mr. Mueller’s mandate, and possibly would be grounds for his dismissal. That’s simply wrong. The special counsel is authorized to investigate “any matters” that might arise during the course of the Russia investigation — in fact, he’s already doing so.

In the end, Mr. Trump is concerned with nothing so much as saving his own hide, which means getting rid of the Russia inquiry for good. He previously said this was why he fired Mr. Comey, and it may yet be the undoing of Mr. Sessions, Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Mueller.

The one person who avoided the president’s wrath was the only one who has not yet had the chance to defy him: Christopher Wray, Mr. Trump’s pick to replace Mr. Comey. “I think we’re going to have a great new F.B.I. director,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday.

Perhaps he forgot that Mr. Wray told senators during his confirmation hearing that he would not hesitate to prosecute the Trump Organization for foreign-corruption crimes if the evidence pointed that way. Or perhaps he thinks he can bend Mr. Wray to his will because, as he told The Times, “the F.B.I. person really reports directly to the president.”

Wrong again: The F.B.I. director reports to the attorney general, precisely to protect the independence of which Mr. Trump is so openly contemptuous. It’s true that the president may fire the director, but that power is, or used to be, reserved for the most extraordinary circumstances.

Mr. Trump’s cavalier attitude toward this carefully designed system is an affront to the people who have spent their careers respecting and protecting it. It’s also the clearest sign yet that he values the rule of law only to the extent that it benefits him personally. ... egion&_r=0

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Re: Pardon me: Can the POTUS pardon himself?

Post by lennygoran » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:22 am

More tweets and lies from Trump. Regards, Len :x

Trump Says He Has ‘Complete Power’ to Pardon


WASHINGTON — President Trump on Saturday asserted the “complete power to pardon” relatives, aides and possibly even himself in response to investigations into Russia’s meddling in last year’s election even as he came to the defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions just days after expressing regret about appointing him.

In a series of early morning messages on Twitter, Mr. Trump suggested that he had no need to use the pardon power at this point but left the option open. While presidents have the authority to pardon others for federal crimes, legal scholars debate whether a president can pardon himself. Mr. Trump’s use of the word “complete” seemed to suggest he did not see a limit to that authority.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter. “FAKE NEWS.”

The Washington Post reported in recent days that Mr. Trump and advisers have discussed pardons as a special counsel intensifies his investigation into whether associates of Mr. Trump and his campaign conspired with Russia to intervene in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The president also responded to another article by The Post reporting that Mr. Sessions may have discussed campaign activities and policy with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, last year in contrast to his public statements. Mr. Trump excoriated the newspaper and expressed no concern about his attorney general’s conduct. The Post cited intercepted communications between Mr. Kislyak and his home office in Moscow.

“A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions,” Mr. Trump wrote. “These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!”

The president was equating the report in The Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, to a decision by James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired, to leak contents of a memo he wrote describing a conversation he had with Mr. Trump. Mr. Comey has said the memo was unclassified and therefore not illegal to disclose.

The tweet about The Post story was followed shortly afterward by another assailing The New York Times. “The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi,” he wrote. “Their sick agenda over National Security.”

It was not entirely clear what prompted Mr. Trump’s assertion. He may have been referring to a Fox News report about comments by a top general at a security conference on Friday. Gen. Tony Thomas, head of the military’s Special Operations Command, said at the Aspen Security Forum that American forces were “particularly close” to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, after a 2015 raid recovered information about Islamic State.

“That was a very good lead,” General Thomas said, according to the Fox report. “Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead.”

Fox reported that the general appeared to be referring to a Times report in June 2015 that said American intelligence agencies had “extracted valuable information” from the raid. The story reported that American forces recovered “laptops, cellphones and other materials” from the raid, including four to seven terabytes of data. The story also said Mr. Baghdadi and other Islamic State leaders used their wives to pass information to one another to avoid electronic surveillance.

The Pentagon raised no objections with the Times before publishing the story in 2015 and no senior American official ever complained publicly about it until now.

The Russian military said last month that it might have killed Mr. Baghdadi in an airstrike in Syria, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday that he believed Mr. Baghdadi was still alive. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for clarification about the president’s tweet.

Mr. Trump’s tweets came shortly before he was scheduled to fly to Virginia, where he was to preside over the commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford, the newest aircraft carrier.

The Post reported that Mr. Kislyak told superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Mr. Sessions during the campaign, contrary to Mr. Sessions’s public assertions. Mr. Sessions, who was advising Mr. Trump on foreign policy at the time, met at least twice with Mr. Kislyak and failed to disclose those contacts during confirmation hearings. After news reports on them, he said the meetings were not related to the campaign.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement to The Post and other news organizations that she could not comment “on the reliability of what anonymous sources describe in a wholly uncorroborated intelligence intercept.” She added that Mr. Sessions “never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election.” She did not deny that Mr. Sessions discussed campaign or policy issues more generally with Mr. Kislyak.

The revelation of Mr. Sessions’s meetings with Mr. Kislyak in March prompted the attorney general to recuse himself from overseeing the Justice Department investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election and any possible collusion with associates of Mr. Trump. The president has been upset about that recusal ever since and told The Times in an interview over the past week that he would never have appointed Mr. Sessions had he known he would step aside.

In the interview, Mr. Trump faulted Mr. Sessions for his misleading testimony. “Jeff Sessions gave some bad answers,” the president said. “He gave some answers that were simple questions and should have been simple answers, but they weren’t.”

But in his tweets on Saturday morning, he offered no concern that Mr. Sessions may still not have been fully forthcoming.

Instead, as he often does, he tried to turn attention back to his opponent from last year. “So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes,” he wrote, referring to the special counsel now leading the inquiry, Robert S. Mueller III. “33,000 e-mails deleted?”

He added: “What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia, including Podesta Company, Uranium deal, Russian Reset, big dollar speeches etc.”

Mrs. Clinton was investigated last year by the F.B.I. for using a private server to route official email. More than 30,000 messages that she and her team deemed personal and unrelated to her service as secretary of state were deleted. As F.B.I. director, Mr. Comey said Mrs. Clinton acted irresponsibly but that he would not seek criminal charges against her.

The president referenced his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who met with several Russian figures during last year’s campaign after being promised incriminating information about Mrs. Clinton.

“My son Donald openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 emails!” he wrote.

The younger Mr. Trump released emails setting up the Russia meeting only after being informed that The Times had obtained them and was about to publish them itself. ... v=top-news

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