The criminals who breached the Constitution of the United States are being treated as heroes by the Trump administration these days.
In his bid to negate the rule of law and promote anarchy in the country again, Trump is in full flow to grant pardons to as many people as possible. This situation just worsened, as he is now trying to extend preemptive pardons that will help the people to evade criminal charges even before they are charged or sentenced.
Before this, Donald Trump was in the mood of distributing regular pardons to his allies. Now he knows that there are many people who will be convicted after Biden’s inauguration. So, only preemptive pardons can help them.
Currently, he is discussing ideas with his advisors concerning the use of clemency powers to grant preemptive pardons to his children, friends, and allies, on the top of which lies his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
Legal experts believe that the preemptive pardons by Trump will help the beneficiaries to escape imminent criminal charges. This way, the courts will not be able to hold them accountable for the misdeeds committed during four years of Trump’s presidency.
However, this will serve as an admission ofo guilt, as the Biden-Harris administration will get a clear image of the people who tricked the system under the nose of Trump.
What exactly is the preemptive pardon, and how does it work? How does this type of pardon differ from the regular pardon? Let’s have a look.
A Pardon Before the Conviction: What Exactly is the Difference Between a Preemptive Pardon and a Regular Pardon?
As the name suggests, a preemptive pardon is such a pardon that is issued before an individual has been convicted of a federal crime. The Constitution of the United States grants the power to the president of the country to grant a pardon to any individual.
Regular pardons are granted after the sentence. These are for the crimes that have been proven by an investigative agency or court of law against individuals. However, preemptive pardons are granted even before the individual is charged or any legal inquiry is started against them.
A preemptive pardon safeguards the individual from any future investigations and legal proceedings.
Trump Helping the Criminals: Twenty Upcoming Preemptive Pardons by Trump
President Donald Trump is left with only a few weeks in the White House. He is considering using his presidential powers to grant preemptive pardons to at least twenty people, which includes his close advisors and family members.
President Trump is right now discussing the matter with his advisors. He is expected to move away from the traditional procedure of processing the cases through the Department of Justice before granting pardons.
He is committed that such pardons are necessary to safeguard his family members and friends against the witch hunt that, according to him, will start once the Biden Administration takes over.
The President has already granted a broad-scale pardon to his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. He was found guilty in 2017 of lying to the FBI in connection with Special Counsel Rubert Muller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
Family members of President Trump that are expected to get a preemptive pardon including three of his five children and his son-in-law. Some of the potential beneficiaries of the preemptive pardon include
- Donald Trump Jr., who has been under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Muller for his contacts with Russian officials. He is accused of asking them for damaging information on Hillary Clinton. However, his involvement was not proven. Donald Trump Jr. was never interviewed by the Special Counsel’s office or any other authority.
- Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. The nature of investigations on them is, however, unknown. An investigation by the Manhattan district attorney is expected to find tax write-offs of millions of dollars by the Trump Organization. A fair part of this money is alleged to have been received by Ivanka Trump.
- Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, is being investigated for providing false information to federal authorities regarding his involvement with foreign nationals for his security clearance. Jared Kushner allegedly omitted several significant contacts while filling out a form for his White House security clearance. Some of these contacts include foreign nationals involved in releasing damaging information regarding Hillary Clinton. In 2018, White House counsel and Chief of Staff recommended that Jared Kushner should not be given security clearance due to his controversial background. Over the objections, the President himself unilaterally granted the clearance.
- Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer, who is not convicted of any crime as of yet. However, he is expected to be prosecuted in Manhattan for his involvement in the plot to oust the American Ambassador in Ukraine. Similarly, he can also face the wrath of the court for his business dealings in Ukraine.
- George Papadopoulos, who was convicted of lying in a Russian meddling investigation.
- Stephen Calk, the Chicago banker and economic advisor to the President’s 2016 campaign, is currently waiting for trial on a bribery case. He is expected to be the beneficiary of a preemptive pardon by President Trump.
- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, charged with publishing state secrets.
- Ukraine gas tycoon Dmitry Firtash.
The people surrounding the president have also been involved in several misconducts and are likely to face investigations once the president leaves office.
The president pardoning himself is also a possibility, yet it could also end Donald Trump’s political career, which is eyeing for the 2024 elections.
Preemptive Pardons in Action: How Presidents Used Preemptive Pardons in the Past
In 1866, the Supreme Court held that the President holds power to pardon any individual who has not been convicted and can be convicted of any federal crime.
The history of preemptive pardon can be traced back to the last century. Let’s have a look at how presidents, in the past, used preemptive pardons.
- In 1974, Gerald Ford issued an unconditional preemptive pardon to the former president, Richard Nixon. At the time of granting the pardon, Nixon was not charged with any crime, but this pardon helped him in evading charges related to the Watergate scandal afterward.
- Jimmy Carter granted preemptive and unconditional pardons to those who could have been tried under the charges of the Vietnam war.
- Similarly, in 1992, President George H.W. Bush granted pardons to his six advisors and cabinet members. Four of these were already going through investigations, while two, including Clarridge and Weinberger, were pardoned preemptively.
Bribery for Pardon: A New Ethical Low
A new DC District Court report has revealed that the Justice Department is investigating a case related to bribery for granting presidential pardons.
The report talks about funneling money into the White House and political committees in exchange for presidential pardons.
The report did not reveal the name of any person who is involved in this scheme. However, it does reveal that the recording of a communication between two people, one of whom is a lawyer, was seized from an office in a raid.
The investigation team also captured at least fifty devices, including iPhones, iPad, thumb drives, and computer devices, as evidence of the bribery for pardon scheme.
The investigation shows unnamed lobbyists to senior White House officials receiving bribes and political favors in return for preemptive pardons.
How Criminals Become a National Discussion: The Procedure of Presidential Pardons
President Trump is expected to move away from the traditional procedure of granting presidential pardons. The traditional procedure requires the petitions to be sent to the Office of the Pardon Attorney. The pardon attorney reviews and sends the petitions to the president for further consideration.
Several rules are to be followed in making the petition. These rules include the requirement of five years waiting before becoming eligible to be considered for the presidential pardon. Similarly, answering twenty questions related to the reasons for seeking pardon is also one of the requirements.
However, the president holds the executive authority to grant pardons without any hearing held by the Department of Justice or the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
With only a few weeks left in office, President Donald Trump is now considering granting preemptive pardons to his friends, associates, and family members.
The president has already granted a presidential pardon to his former aides and is now expected to pardon twenty individuals who have been close to him.
Presidential pardons are just one way in which the incumbent president is destroying the United States in his last days. While many presidents used pardoning powers in the past, the introduction of preemptive pardons on such a large scale is unprecedented, which can have severe consequences on the democracy of the country in the years to come.