President Donald Trump’s presidency expected to end with a pardon
U.S. President Donald Trump at this point is opting not to issue a pardon for himself as he prepares an expansive list of more than 100 pardons and commutations for release on Tuesday, a source familiar with the effort said.
The White House held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons, two sources said.
Trump, who had been rolling out pardons and commutations at a steady clip ahead of Christmas, had put a pause on them in the days leading up to and directly after the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, according to officials.
Aides said Trump was singularly focused on the Electoral College count in the days ahead of time, precluding him from making final decisions on pardons. White House officials had expected them to resume after January 6, but Trump retreated after he was blamed for inciting the riots.
Initially, two major batches had been ready to roll out, one at the end of last week and one on Tuesday. Now, officials expect the last batch to be the only one — unless Trump decides at the last minute to grant pardons to controversial allies, members of his family or himself.
The final batch of clemency actions is expected to include a mix of criminal justice reform-minded pardons and more controversial ones secured or doled out to political allies.
The pardons are one of several items Trump must complete before his presidency ends in days. The January 6 riots that led to Trump’s second impeachment have complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids, and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Some administration officials have cautioned Trump against a self-pardon because it would make him look guilty.
Many scholars have said a self-pardon would be unconstitutional because it violates the basic principle that nobody should be the judge in his or her own case.
Others have argued that a self-pardon is constitutional because the pardon power is very broadly worded in the Constitution. Historical texts made clear that the nation’s 18th-century founders discussed self-pardons, but opted not to include an explicit limitation on that power.
Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives last week on charges of inciting the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by pro-Trump protesters. His case is to face a Senate trial and if convicted, he could be disqualified from seeking another run for the presidency in 2024.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said so far Trump does not plan to pardon himself and also does not plan to issue preemptive pardons for members of his family, another subject he has discussed privately with advisers.