Can Trump Pardon Himself?

Date: 2020-12-24 01:29:16

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The U.S. president has vast constitutional power to grant clemency in the form of pardons and commutations. The process is often tinged with politics.

George H.W. Bush pardoned six men involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, while Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, a Democratic Party donor who had fled to Switzerland after being accused of tax crimes.

But clemency under Donald Trump has been unusual in multiple respects, including how recipients are evaluated and how announcements are timed. There’s even renewed speculation that Trump, before leaving office on Jan. 20, might try to preemptively pardon himself as a shield against any future prosecution for alleged federal crimes.

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