President Trump is unlikely to pardon himself, legal experts say

President Donald Trump turns 72
Posted at 6:30 PM, Jan 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 18:30:46-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Legal experts say it is unlikely that President Trump will pardon himself as he prepares to issue his last round of pardons on Tuesday before he leaves office.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that the President will announce a full list of pardons at some point on Tuesday, although we have yet to find out just who will end up on that list.

Some legal experts believe the President can issue himself one of those pardons, effectively making Trump immune to federal prosecution.

Retired Army Colonel and current medical Doctor Martin Blank believes the Constitution does allow for the President to issue such a self-pardon.

"Yes, the President can pardon himself. The Constitution is pretty vague when it comes to the pardoning power," Dr Blank told FOX 17 on Monday.

“But that flexibility comes at a price. That vagueness is really what makes law interesting— How people choose to handle this is going to be fascinating.”

The Constitution is not exactly clear on the topic of a President pardoning themselves, but Associate Dean at WMU Cooley Law school Michael McDaniel does not believe it gives the President such power.

“My reading is that they cannot do so,” McDaniel told FOX 17 Monday.

“Are we really going to say that a President is exempt from criminal action, because he has lifted himself above any recourse whatsoever by the judicial branch of government, and therefore can do whatever he wants? Absolutely not.”

If President Trump does in fact attempt to issue himself a pardon on Tuesday, it's validity would be left up to the courts.

“I sort of hope that it gets in front of the Supreme Court,” Dr Blank said.

A federal case would have to be brought against Trump in order for the pardon to be tested. A Supreme Court decision on whether or not a Presidential self-pardon is valid could create a legal precedent moving forward.

But McDaniel says this is an unlikely scenario, as a self-pardon would open Trump open to major issues with potential civil cases against him.

“If you have a civil cause of action arising out of the same activity, which you just pardoned yourself from being a crime, then you are also acknowledging that you engaged in that behavior by accepting the pardon," McDaniel said.

“Whether it's a private corporation. or citizen, or whether, it's a public or state government, whatever the civil action might be, you've just made the burden of proof a lot easier.”