This week, President Trump announced he would pardon two Oregon ranchers who were convicted of arson in 2012. You may vaguely remember this because it led to a low-key 40 day standoff between opponents of the rachers’ sentence and the FBI. They also casually destroyed a bird sanctuary because, why not? This is in addition to the 8 other people Trump has pardoned, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio who oversaw the the literal torture of immigrants in detention centers he oversaw, and may or may not have been involved in killing a dog.
If there was ever a time to use the term shook, it’s when talking about the fact that Trump is so obsessed with pardons. No, not because there are a lot of people to pardon, but because pardons are a “sign of forgiveness, and tbh I didn’t know Trump was into that kinda thing. So like, what does Trump’s pardon-happiness mean? And could his love of pardons extend to…Idk…pardoning himself? Let’s break it down…
WTF Is A Presidential Pardon?
According to the law, a pardon is a “sign of forgiveness” that can be granted to people who are committed of federal crimes. The president gets to be the good guy who says, “Hey, it totally sucks that happened to you, so we’re just going to pretend it never did even though no one will ever forget about it.” So generous, amiright? Being pardoned doesn’t indicate being innocent of the crime you’re accused of, but it’s def better than being in jail! To be exact, Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution says, “he [president] shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” FYI Obama handed out 212 pardons during his 8 years in office, so it’s not cray for a president to use this, just cray cray for Trump to say he has the absolute right to pardon himself.
So Can Trump Pardon Himself?
NOPE. Just because you tweet something, doesn’t make it law. Again, the Constitution covers this, thank God, and says pardons can’t be used in impeachment cases. So Trump can’t become a dictator, IDT, but technically he could pardon himself of other crimes by the language used. If he committed crimes drastic enough for pardoning though, then impeachment shouldn’t be far behind. Seriously wonder who had to be the one at the White House to go tell him he couldn’t pardon himself after he sent out that tweet. He prob responded, “You’re fired!”
Why TF Are People Talking About This?
Getting a presidential pardon is obv no easy task. You have to be super well known, like almost famous. Or you can have Kim K, Trump’s newest BFF (thanks for the intro Kanye), take up your cause. Trump loves famous people, so it’s no surprise that his pardons have been for some pretty infamous people. The list includes Alicia Johnson (Kim K fought for her), Joe Arpaio (literal scum), Dinesh D’Souza (gave too much money to Republicans), Kristian Saucier, Scooter Libby (both Republicans), and now these Oregon ranchers. To give Trump some credit, he did pardon Jack Johnson posthumously, RIP, who was a heavyweight boxer wronged by Jim Crow laws. Still famous, but that is what pardons are supposed to be for… not for Papadopoulos’ wife. Trump’s pardons are a privilege at its finest for sure.
The real issue here is that Trump is positioning himself to use his pardoning powers
for evil to mess with the Russia Investigation. Basically, he is saying a big F you to Mueller, like sure go for my people; I’ll just pardon them and it will be like it never happened. Bless Mueller’s poor soul. Dude just wants to prove what we all know happened: Putin and Trump had a little affair, Melania and Ivanka were totally in support, and it happened. TBD how many more people are going to be put on the pardon party list, but here are some tips to get yourself pardoned if you plan to admit to any Russian collusion. Can someone make sure Jared Kushner gets that link?
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