In spite of denials that Trump didn’t even know Putin, it is now clear he’s know Putin since at least 2013.
It appears that the Trump family, and the Trump empire may be built on Russian money. A number of reports have indicated the Trump Organization received substantial financing from Russia in the mid 1990s. During the Great Recession, since major U.S. banks had refused to loan money to him, it appears Trump received financial support from Russia. Reuters reported that a group of 63 Russia billionaires have invested nearly $100 million in several Trump properties in Florida. Donald Trump Jr. himself famously said in 2008 that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
Thus, the thought of Trump Jr. testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, would be enough to cause President Trump to have a bad case of Tweet-a-arrhea. Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, his senior adviser, is scheduled to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session Monday. The Senate Judiciary Committee also announced its intention to have former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. testify in open session July 26.
Trump Jr.’s voluntary production of e-mails confirming his meeting with Russians in hopes to get dirt on Hillary was enough to give his father a stroke.
With the anticipated testimony that may implicate President Trump in the hacking of the 2016 election, it seems that President Trump has consulted legal counsel about his pardon options.
Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the US Constitution provides:
President Trump has declared that he has complete power to pardon anyone, anytime, including himself. However the number of problems with that conclusion indicate just how absurd it is to think that the President could pardon himself.
- If the President were allowed to pardon himself, his election would be tantamount to giving him unbridled power to do anything he wanted, including ignoring the U.S. Constitution. He could assume a role as dictator and nobody would have the power to stop him. He could gun down the Democratic members of the Congress with no accountability. He could set off a nuclear device in California, wiping out the largest state of Democratic electoral votes, pardon himself, and then assure his re-election. Of course that’s absurd…but no more absurd than Trump saying he can pardon himself.
aurence H. Tribe is the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, was chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007 and is vice-chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, was chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011 and is chair of CREW. They all agree that Trump can’t pardon himself. They concluded:
3. Trump’s tweet announcing that he could pardon himself came on the heels of a Washington Post report that said Trump’s legal team was exploring the limits of his pardoning power, and that Trump had reportedly raised the question of whether he could pardon himself. That tweet also came after Trump fired his long-standing personal attorney Marc Kasowitz. Kasowitz represented Trump since the early 2000’s and led the defense team in the Trump University fraud case. More recently, Kasowitz, has been serving as Trump’s personal lawyer in the Russia investigation.
4. There are a variety of legal arguments that indicate the President would not be allowed to pardon himself.
If Trump thinks he can pardon his kids, and thereby protect himself,he is wrong. By pardoning his kids, he could actually make matters worse for himself. “While a pardon shields a person from prosecution, it does not shield them from the subpoena power of Congress. In fact, not only are pardoned people subject to lawmakers’ questions, but their immunization from prosecution may actually make it more difficult to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
No wonder Russians hoped that Trump would win the 2016 election. Russia was the only country to favor him. The reasons appear to be obvious.
Today, Trump’s new attorney, Jay Sekulow, appeared on ABC News’ ‘This Week’ Sunday and said, “the issue of pardons is not on the table, there’s nothing to pardon from.” What a shame for Trump that he didn’t consult with his new attorney BEFORE talking about pardoning people,including himself. What a shame that Sekulow, realizing that it looks bad for Trump to talk about pardoning people, didn’t realize that by saying that for Trump didn’t need to pardon anyone, suggests that Donald Trump wasn’t smart enough to figure that out. Either Trump knew he needed a pardon, or he was too stupid to realize that saying he could pardon himself would create the impression that he needed a pardon.