Donald Trump’s pardons are already proving not to be magic wands

Trump is now pardoning bad people on his way out the door. Palmer Report warned you from the very start that if Trump lost, he would do this in the end. The fatalists are now insisting that it means “getting away with it all.” Really? He’s lost the presidency, he’s being criminally indicted in New York, creditors are about to squeeze him dry, and he’ll spend the rest of his life in prison. He’s not “getting away” with anything.

Speaking of endgame pardons, Trump fans are putting a lot of effort into trying to convince Trump to pardon Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. But he’s awaiting trial on state charges, and Trump can only pardon federal charges. So that’s not a real thing. In other words, pardons aren’t magic wands.

Since Trump’s pardon spree is now fully underway, it’s worth another reminder about the limitations and dangers of these pardons. Broad preemptive pardons, for criminal charges not yet brought, are legally flimsy and may not stand up in court. Even if they do, some of these criminal cases can be transferred from federal to state jurisdiction, which Trump can’t pardon. And if any of Trump’s pardoned co-conspirators do manage to end up facing no criminal liability, it’ll mean they can’t invoke the Fifth Amendment, meaning they must testify against Trump. Pardons aren’t exactly a great strategy for keeping people quiet. It’s just the only option Trump has left.

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