…because this particular bit has been bouncing around inside my head for a few days, and needed to get out.
I am not a lawyer. So take these opinions for what they’re worth.
Article II, section 2 of the US constitution states that the President ”…shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment”. So if he’s being impeached, he can’t pardon himself for what ever crime or crimes are in question there. The fifteen minutes of searching I did turned up several cases establishing precedence for a president preemptively pardoning someone, and that a pardon can be made before an indictment is brought. As stated earlier, the way around this is to impeach him.
Impeachment requires that the House of Representatives vote, by a simple majority, to impeach the president. If that succeeds, then it’s the senate’s responsibility to try the president. This of course means someone has to preside over the trial, and finding someone to do that, who doesn’t have a blatant conflict of interest, could be a challenge.
Given the insane party-over-country credo demonstrated again and again by the GOP in the face of countless legal and ethical gymnastics, many of which those same politicians showed they would not tolerate from Bill Clinton, there is no telling if an impeachment would lead to a conviction, or a removal, or a parade for Donald Trump.
Many people are drawing parallels between Nixon and Trump. Granted, they are following the same PR play-book, damn near word for word, but there are some stark differences. While Nixon was a corrupt, morally bankrupt president, he wasn’t stupid. Trump… is a different story. Also, Nixon actually won the popular vote to become President, whereas Trump did not.
Nixon discussed pardoning himself when impeachment became imminent, then resigned three days later after learning that wasn’t possible. Not that he had a need to pardon himself, because Gerald Ford preemptively pardoned him anyway. It’s extremely likely that Trump’s predecessor would follow Gerald Ford’s example, and pardon Trump of whatever he gets convicted of. Who would succeed an impeached Trump is difficult to tell, since damn near everyone in the line of succession is somehow involved in this Russia business, or knew about it and chose to look the other way. When this all goes down, a lot of people are going down with it.
Regarding this “the president can’t obstruct justice” garbage, obstruction was one of the charges being leveled against Nixon, and it was also the one of the charges that Clinton was impeached on. The precedence is there. The idea that it can’t happen is just more hot air from Trump’s legal and PR teams.
There have been many indictments so far, and many more are in the works. There has already been witness tampering, and numerous cover-up attempts. Countless lies have been backpedaled on by Trump’s PR people. Trump has so many ties to Russian money, and the Russian government, that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Trump and his staff have lied about said ties so many times that even they can’t keep it all straight.
Too much to cite in that last paragraph, go read it yourself.
The question isn’t “if” Trump is going to be impeached for a whole menagerie of criminal entanglements, it’s “when”.
As an apology for the political shit, here is our very dear friend Genie.