Monday, June 04, 2018

Has it only been 500 days?

And here's how he's celebrating it:

  • Pardons don't issue until after crimes have been committed, is the usual answer.  Ford pardoned Nixon for what he might have done, not for what he might do in the future. Bush pardoned the Iran/Contra figures, and they all maintained they were innocent, but he didn't pardon them for what they might do after his Presidency ended.  So why haven't you pardoned yourself yet?  Maybe because you don't have the spine to be so arrogant?

No, he still hasn't learned how to spell "counsel." (He corrected it an hour later, which is why this won't show up as a tweet now.) And yes, he is a konstitooshinal skollar, as Kellyanne Conway's husband has pointed out:

Trump is also a powerful world leader.

A call about trade and migration between US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron soured last week after Macron candidly criticized Trump's policies, two sources familiar with the call told CNN.

"Just bad. It was terrible," one source told CNN. "Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can't handle being criticized like that."
Which might explain this:

Although the simpler explanation is:  the President is an idiot.

There is a remedy for this.  Congress gave the President power over international trade; Congress needs to take that power back.  As for the right to pardon himself, that's up to the courts.  If they recognize the pardon as valid, it is.  If they don't, it isn't.  It's not really a "Constitutional crisis" (that phrase beloved of the media, but with as much legal value as Trump's claims there was no "collusion" with Russia.  "Collusion" is not a crime, so no, there was no criminal act of "Collusion."  That's not the criminal issue.).  Pardons are only valid if the courts say so, and a Presidential self-pardon would be, almost by definition, invalid.  And even though Trump rants about it on Twitter, I honestly don't think he has the cojones to issue himself one.  (I'm resting my analysis in part on a line of cases where the Court declined to enforce racial covenants in deeds.  The Courts did not remove the covenants from the chain of title (a very difficult, almost impossible task), it simply refused to enforce them.  A pardon must be presented to the court to block a criminal investigation; if Trump pardoned himself, the Court could simply refuse to recognize it as valid.*)

The best hope now is that the Democrats run on issues people care about (not just "anti-Trump").  But I haven't seen any Democrats here in Texas running solely against Trump, not even in the Democratic primaries; so I don't think that's really an issue.  If they can regain control of Congress they don't have to impeach Trump; they can simply clip his wings.  It may be Trump does us all a service by ending the "imperial Presidency" and returning the Constitutional balance back to the Congress.

*There is also this fascinating argument:

Were a president to pardon himself, this would surely trigger prosecution in the states (e.g., for fraud or tax evasion). It would, therefore, be a very foolish decision. The pardon would be admissible evidence of guilt.

The pardon power is not the "Get out of jail free" card some imagine it to be.

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