This week we learned that President Trump and his legal team are already looking into ways they can subvert the ongoing Russia investigation being conduced by special counsel Robert Mueller. According to the Washington Post, Trump has already asked about the possibility of pardoning everyone under investigation, including himself.
On MSNBC’s The 11th Hour With Brian Williams Friday evening, former George W. Bush ethics attorney Richard Painter poured cold water on the pardons idea, noting:
“I would think that innocent people would not be thinking about who could pardon them. And we are in an extraordinary situation here. I’ve got to say, first, with respect to the attorney general, I mean either he has been lying about his relationship with the Russians and what he talked with the Russians about, flat-out lying or he is being framed by somebody who is leaking this information, false information to the Washington Post in order to get him fired.”
Could the president pardon himself? Painter thinks not:
“Because President Trump apparently had already contacted a number of people looking into the question of pardons and whether he could pardon himself. The questions are being asked in the White House, and the answer is categorically no.”
“Many deposed kings have gone to the chopping block and would have avoided that if they would have been able to pardon themselves. Even The Pope says his confession to another priest, Pope Frances did so quite recently in public. Not a single example of a self-pardon anywhere that I can find.”
Finally, Painter had some advice for Trump should he decide to try the self-pardon option to make the Russia matter disappear:
“The office of legal counsel advised in the Nixon administration years that you could not do that. The president could not do that. So, that’s off the table. He should look into other options. You know maybe — I don’t know, go join Mr. Snowden over in Moscow or something, but the self-pardon is not going to work.”
Only someone who’s guilty needs a pardon. If Trump is already considering pardoning people before the special counsel completes his work, that tells us all we need to know about this criminal head of state.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org