Donald Trump can’t prevent his kids from going to state prison in New York if they’re charged and convicted there, because presidential pardons don’t apply to state charges. But we’ve always expected Donald Trump to pardon his kids on his way out the door, in case they face federal criminal charges.
But even as Donald Trump Jr now faces the very real prospect of federal criminal charges for incitement of violence in relation to the U.S. Capitol attack, CNN is reporting that he’s now insisting he doesn’t want a pardon. Why? He thinks it’s “unnecessary.”
This suggests that Donald Trump Jr is so far gone, he doesn’t even realize how much legal trouble he’s in, or he’s so far gone that he no longer cares whether he goes to prison. Of course this could just be bluster, and he could end up accepting the pardon in the end. But pardons aren’t magic wands, and if Junior accepts the pardon, then under the law he’s confessing to his guilt.
But if Donald Trump Jr doesn’t accept the pardon, then he’s probably sharply increasing the odds he’ll end up behind bars. He may have just sent himself to federal prison. Oddly, this comes even as Donald Trump is reportedly threatening not to pardon his friends and family, after being advised not to pardon himself. The Trump family endgame just keeps getting dumber.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report