Donald Trump’s pardon paradox

Professor Laurence Tribe made a great point on the Joy Reid show on Friday night. While Donald Trump can try to pardon himself for federal crimes he’s already committed but hasn’t been charged with yet, he can not pardon himself for future crimes that he hasn’t yet committed.

So let’s say that on his way out the door in January, Trump pardons himself on every federal crime he’s ever committed. When Ford pardoned Nixon, it established the precedent that you can in fact be pardoned for crimes before you’re charged for them. Trump would have a harder time trying to establish in court that he’s allowed to pardon himself. But even if he did pull that off, as Tribe pointed out, Trump is going to leave office and continue committing crimes. It’s just in his nature. And the Feds will easily be able to nail him for those crimes.

This is all before getting to state charges, which no president can pardon. Donald Trump is definitely going down on state charges in New York, regardless of what plays out at the federal level.

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