Calvin Coolidge once noted, correctly, “I have never been hurt by anything I didn’t say.” If only Donald Trump would follow that wise advice.
In the middle of some positive developments in his presidency with respect to policy (don’t mention tariffs, though), the ongoing Mueller investigation on Russian collusion and whatever else fits into that bailiwick continues to arouse the president’s ire.
He can’t seem to stop talking/tweeting about it. Then he goes one step further in his fusillade of words by hinting very strongly that he might pardon himself, assured as he is by some of his legal advisors that he has that authority.
Let’s deal with a couple of aspects here. First, a pardon is supposed to be issued only for those who have been found guilty of something. So is this an admission of guilt?
Not even Richard Nixon tried to use this approach.
Second, what about the constitutionality of pardoning oneself? From what I’ve read, experts are divided on that. But let’s be serious. Yes, the Constitution doesn’t specifically deny that the president can pardon himself, but when did anyone ever think—before this current situation—that it was permissible? When in the history of this nation has anyone ever contemplated such a move? If they have, I am unaware of it.
The Founders based our Constitution on the separation of powers so that a tyranny would be difficult to achieve. If a president can pardon himself (or herself, if Hillary had won), how can that be anything short of a tyranny?
We are supposed to be grounded in the concept of the rule of law, which, among many things it means, at the top of the list is the bedrock conviction that no man is above the law, not even the president.
For those who are concerned that I’m just trying to unduly criticize Donald Trump, let me affirm my basic position: I will praise anything good that comes from his administration, but will not allow partisanship to ignore what is not good.
I doubt very much that Trump was actively involved in collusion, but his family (I’m talking about you, Jared, Don Jr., and Ivanka) has done some things that raise questions. The investigation needs to proceed. Trump should want it to do so if, as Congressman Trey Gowdy has asserted, there is nothing there to point to him directly.
But Trump will have to overcome his natural desire to spout off. Here’s some advice for him from a trusted source:
Yes, Mr. President, stop the bloviating and play it cool for a change. You also might avoid an ulcer in the process.