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Hannity recommends Trump pardon himself and whole family before leaving office

President Donald Trump has shown no inhibition in pardoning folks that he’s convinced got a raw deal form the criminal justice system.

That list includes convicted drug dealer Alice Marie Johnson, former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Vice President Dick Cheney aide Scooter Libby, Trump’s one-time national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and even feminist activist Susan B. Anthony.

Fox News host Sean Hannity now suggests Trump should avail that remedy for himself and his family before leaving office. It’s hard to imagine anything that would trigger liberals more than Trump acting on Hannity’s idea.

The Fox personality floated the pardon plan on his radio show Monday while interviewing lawyer Sidney Powell, who represented Flynn and has filed lawsuits alleging election fraud was perpetrated against Trump.

“I watched Andrew Weissman come out and literally say Biden’s AG needs to go after Donald Trump. I’m like, the president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch-hunt to go on in perpetuity, they’re so full of rage and insanity against the president” said Hannity, referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top lieutenant in the investigation that came up fruitless in proving Trump colluded with Russian operatives in the 2016 election after spending more than two years and $40 million.

“I assume the power of the pardon is absolute and that he should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to?” Hannity continued.

Powell agreed that the Constitution grants absolute authority to the president to issue pardons, although she wasn’t sure if that power included being able to pardon himself.

She then added that Trump might not need to do that because her lawsuits may overturn the election results after uncovering “massive” election fraud, which included intervention from “foreign actors” from China, Germany and Serbia.

Hannity then raised the idea on his Fox News broadcast Tuesday during an interview with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

“I think it’s something the president should ask some key attorneys’ advice on, including the attorney general,” said Gingrich, after noting that Trump’s critics are waging a “cultural civil war” on Trump as well as anyone who has worked for, supported, or spoken in favor of the president.

“These people are playing for blood,” Gingrich said.

Trump has toyed with the idea himself.

In June 2018, at the midway point of the Mueller probe, Trump tweeted, “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” noting that opinion came from “numerous legal scholars.”

Michael Conklin, a law professor at Angelo State University in Texas, might be among them.

Conklin explored the issue in a May 2020 white paper. He noted, “The Constitution provides little guidance on the issue of a potential presidential self-pardon. Only one sentence is dedicated to pardons: ‘The President . . . shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.’ Looking to historical precedent and case law likewise provides no dispositive answer. No president has ever issued a self-pardon, and very few Supreme Court cases have addressed any aspect of the
president’s pardon power.”

“The arguments in favor of the self-pardon, however, are well-grounded in American jurisprudence and are consistent with the text of the United States Constitution,” he added.

Among the reasons he cited for supporting that position, Conklin noted that the Founding Fathers did not restrict governors from pardoning themselves, that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the power to pardon “extends to every offence known to the law,” and that “the plain reading of the pardon clause is a strong
argument in favor of self-pardons.” Conklin added that it would be “counterintuitive” to presume that the president’s authority to pardon any American for any crime would not extend to himself.

Whether it was politically wise to pardon himself was a separate matter, Conklin wrote. The best way to prevent this dilemma in the future, he argued, would be to adopt a constitutional amendment to ban self-pardons altogether, and “thus avoiding the constitutional crises that would surely surround a self-pardon attempt.”

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