A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual on whom it is bestowed from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed. It is the private though official act of the executive magistrate, delivered to the individual for whose benefit it is intended. A private deed, not communicated to him, whatever may be its character, whether a pardon or release, is totally unknown and cannot be acted on.
— Trump is abusing his pardon power to reward his friends and other high-profile celebrities. If the president is deploying any of his institutional prerogatives “to the hilt,” it’s the blanket power to issue pardons and clemency in federal cases, as granted by the Constitution. That power is a remarkable opportunity to overturn a perceived past injustice and reward redemption — but also to benefit a president’s cronies, or even help protect the chief executive himself from prosecution.
One of the so-called democratic norms that’s evolved over American history is a formal pardon-review process to prevent the potential abuses. Past presidents waited on recommendations from the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney — a lengthy process that typically includes a five-year waiting period to allow an applicant to prove he or she is contributing to society. The process has sometimes sparked frustration; many urged Obama, for example, to move sooner than he did to right some of the excesses of the latter 20th-century “war on drugs.”
We didn't elect someone to be a dictator. Every kid who took civics and American History knows that the founders and early citizens of this country were against having a King.
As our president bears no resemblance to a king so we shall see the Senate has no similitude to nobles. First, not being hereditary, their collective knowledge, wisdom, and virtue are not precarious. For by these qualities alone are they to obtain their offices, and they will have none of the peculiar qualities and vices of those men who possess power merely because their father held it before them.
Tench Coxe, An American Citizen, No.2, September 28, 1787
Hour by hour, lie by lie, dictate by dictate, Donald Trump is becoming an American dictator. And recent days have proved what many of us have long feared: That no one knows how to stop this. Not the Republicans or Democrats on Capitol Hill who, for different reasons, are too cowed politically to take substantive action. And not a news media that doesn’t have the mechanisms for informing the public when a president is a compulsive liar. Maybe things will change after the November midterm election — but there’s no guarantee, and that feels like a long time away.
By the end of the day, Giuliani had come up with a far more concise, and vivid, explanation of the president’s powers. “In no case can he be subpoenaed or indicted,” Giuliani told HuffPost Sunday night. “I don’t know how you can indict while he’s in office. No matter what it is.”
Echoing Trump’s claim during the campaign that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters, Giuliani explained that if there’s a criminal in the Oval Office, the law can’t touch him until the Legislative branch acts.
“If he shot James Comey, he’d be impeached the next day,” Giuliani said. “Impeach him, and then you can do whatever you want to do to him.”
Scholars are actually divided on whether the president can be indicted, but there is general agreement that the easiest way to deal with a felonious president is to impeach him first, and then indict.
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