On November 25, US President Trump signed a decree to pardon former President’s National Security Affairs Assistant Michael Flynn who had given false testimony in the “Tong Russia” investigation. According to US media analysis, although Trump has received the lowest number of pardons among previous presidents in the past century, it does not rule out that Flynn is the beginning of Trump’s extrajudicial “amnesty” in the coming weeks.
Who has Trump pardoned?
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn was Trump’s earliest supporter. After Trump assumed the presidency in January 2017, he immediately appointed Flynn as the president’s assistant for national security affairs.
As a result, Flynn’s seat was not yet hot. The American media revealed in February 2017 that he had several telephone conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the then Russian ambassador to the United States, before Trump took office, and hinted Trump may lift sanctions on Russia.
Suddenly caused an uproar and caught up with the rumors of the “Tong-Rumen” investigation, Flynn was forced to resign and reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in December 2017, admitting that he had withheld information from FBI agents.
In January of this year, Flynn tried to withdraw his guilty plea statement, claiming that the plea was deceived by the prosecutor. Trump said in March this year that he was considering a full pardon for Flynn.
On November 25, Trump used the presidential pardon to announce a “complete pardon” of Flynn. Many US media analyzed that Trump has always claimed that the “Tong Russia” investigation is a “prank” and “political persecution.” Amnesty Flynn fully demonstrated Trump’s position.
Trump’s pardon of Flynn triggered verbal criticism from the Democratic Party. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying, “President Trump forgave Michael Flynn for corruption and abuse of power.
Trump once again used pardons to protect liars. To cover up his wrongdoing is a breach of the rule of law.” The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Daniel Ciff, said that pardoning Flynn is another abuse of pardon power by the president to “reward friends and protect those who cover up the truth for him. people.”
△Fox News website reported that Democratic leaders accused Trump of pardoning Flynn as an abuse of power.
On the other hand, US media quoted data from the Pew Research Center showing that Trump has issued 29 pardons and 16 commutations since he became president. So far, Trump has issued the fewest number of pardons and sentence reductions in the past century. But it cannot be ruled out that Trump will pardon more people in the coming weeks.
How big is the presidential pardon?
The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the President has the power to pardon anyone who violates federal laws. In principle, the pardon is not an abolition of the criminal record, and criminal and civil violations in the state courts cannot be written off through the presidential pardon.
But the amnesty power of the US President has not been less criticized.
Ford cooperated with old boss to keep Nixon safe
In the 1970s, after the “Watergate Incident” broke out, in the face of a motion to impeach the president, which was almost certainly passed by the House of Representatives, and was likely to be convicted by the Senate, on August 9, 1974, Nixon made a televised speech and officially announced his resignation from the United States.
Presidency. After Vice President Ford succeeded to become the new President of the United States, he announced the pardon of Nixon from all criminal liabilities on September 8.
Clinton grants amnesty to “repay” political donations
On January 20, 2001, a few hours before leaving office, Clinton signed 141 amnesties, including one granted to the rich man Mark Rich who was wanted by the authorities for 17 years and charged with 51 crimes.
The American media broke the news that Clinton decided to issue an amnesty to him before he stepped down because he received a large political donation from Rich’s ex-wife during his tenure.
Who will be pardoned next?
Among the people who have been pardoned by the current President Trump include:
Roger Stone, who was investigated and convicted for “TongRumen”;
Former Arizona Sheriff, Joe Alpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court for agreeing with Trump’s immigration policy and refusing to end the “immigrant investigation”;
Lewis, the former head of the US Vice President’s Office, accused of perjury and obstruction of justice for being involved in the CIA leak;
There is also a female prisoner Alice Johnson (Alice Johnson) who was imprisoned for “non-violent drug trafficking” and so on by star Kim Kardashian.
According to US media analysis, many people waited for Trump to be pardoned before he left office, including Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and former campaign adviser Rick Gay, who were convicted of “passing Russia”.
And former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. In addition, there are reports that several civil organizations are cooperating with the White House to try to push Trump to pardon many people who have been sentenced for non-violent drug trafficking during his tenure.
In addition, the president’s amnesty is quite extensive. Trump stated in 2018 that he “has absolute power to pardon himself.”
As a result, in the past few days, not only the American media, but also many Western media have begun to discuss whether the American president can pardon himself.
After all, there are currently about 30 lawsuits against Trump, including both civil lawsuits and criminal lawsuits. New York prosecutors are investigating Trump’s financial situation and the Trump Organization.
According to reports from the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, CNN and many other media, the current US law does not clearly state that the US President himself cannot pardon himself. Therefore, many legal experts tend to answer the question “Can the president pardon himself”.
Jonathan Terry, a professor at the George Washington University Law School in the United States, explained that there are no relevant regulations in the United States law, and there has been no precedent before, so it is indeed possible for the current president to pardon himself.
But opponents claim that the president’s pardon is in principle against the Constitution and legal principles. Eisen Leib, a professor at Fordham Law School, said that the American president’s own pardon is a violation of the American president’s “faithful performance” of the president’s responsibilities. In addition, many American legal experts said that self-pardoning violated the basic principle of the law, that is, “the parties must not serve as their own judges.”
While making a fuss about the president’s pardon power, the US media also analyzed that Trump won more than 70 million votes in the 2020 general election, and he still has considerable appeal within the Republican Party, thanks to the president’s pardon power. , Republicans can use this opportunity to amnesty key people, export their opinions, and maximize the interests of the party.
In view of the fact that it is not uncommon for the U.S. president to “extrajudicial” to grant amnesty at the end of his term, the next few weeks are indeed full of possibilities. The U.S. President-elect Biden has stated that he will not use the Department of Justice like Trump. He will not investigate Trump.