Social Question

chyna's avatar

Are there any rules or regulations to presidential pardons?

Asked by chyna (45509points) 1 month ago from iPhone

For example, a president pardons Charles Manson (yes I know he’s dead. This is an example). Can congress overturn pardons that are clearly wrong?

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35 Answers

jca2's avatar

I’m googling and found this:

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/presidential-pardons-a-constitutional-and-historical-review

I saw on the news today that Hannity is advising Trump to pardon himself and his family (Trump and his family) “as they walk out the door” of the White House in January.

chyna's avatar

But, but trump did nothing wrong. What is there to pardon? Lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

From @jca2‘s link ”The president may not pardon persons convicted for or accused of violating state or local laws.

New York City wants me, Lord I can’t go back there!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Also from her link: “In 2018, President Donald Trump offered to posthumously pardon late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who had been convicted and jailed in 1967 for refusing to be inducted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. However, President Trump’s offer had been more symbolic than substantive, as the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Mr. Ali’s conviction in 1971, confirming his status as a conscientious objector.
His ignorance would be funny if he was just a citizen.

zenvelo's avatar

@chyna To follow up on the rest of your question:

No, Congress cannot overturn or deny a Presidential pardon. It is an express authority of the Executive.

Trump could not pardon Manson because Manson was convicted under the laws of the State of California. Manson did not violate a Federal law.

canidmajor's avatar

Just as an aside, I read somewhere this morning that Giuliani is already asking for a “pre-emptive” Executive pardon from Trump….

janbb's avatar

Even if Trump can and does pardon himself for Federal crimes, he can be prosecuted at the state level for crimes committed in NY. And they are on his tail.

chyna's avatar

So I assume he can preemptively pardon his children, too?

Strauss's avatar

He probably would be able to preemptively excuse himself and his family, including any cronies such as Giuliani, but that would not be any help for any state or local charges. I think he’s going to disappear.

Maybe that’s what he was thinking about in July when he said, “If I lose to him, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I will never speak to you again. You’ll never see me again.”

JLeslie's avatar

^^Trump hinted at living in exile.

Zaku's avatar

Doesn’t it seem kind of wrong and perverse to be able to pardon someone before they’re even charged of something?

And to be able to pardon yourself? LOL

This seems like a pretty clear test and example of the notion of pardons, having a conspicuously immoral POTUS. “Hmm, can I just do lots of Federal crimes while POTUS and then pardon myself and everyone involved for them all?” and “Hey, tax fraud is Federal, right? LOL I deserve a $5 billion refund this year! And I pardon myself of all tax fraud! It’s Christmas!”

JLeslie's avatar

@Zaku Well, the president can be impeached, so that should in theory protect the country.

My question would be does the country care if Trump is punished? Or, are they happy to just have him out of office?

zenvelo's avatar

The self pardon and the pre-emptive pardon have not been tested at the Supreme Court.

The Department of Justice could argue that a self pardon is not legitimate. An they could also argue that pre-emptive pardons, especially ones that have not been vetted by the DOJ Pardon Attorney, have no bearing on future prosecutions.

While the current SCOTUS would most likely side with Trump on the issue, they are very wary of the precedent it might set, especially since the DOJ has argued (and the courts concurred) that a sitting President cannot be tried. Let the former President stand trial, and be pardoned later if warranted.

Trump may be charged with treason; setting up a system where a President can commit Treason and then not ever be prosecuted for it would be against the thought process of the Founders.

It would make Trump apoplectic if Biden announced on January 20 that he was appointing Hillary Clinton as Special Prosecutor.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

chyna's avatar

^Really! Lol!

JLeslie's avatar

If I were Trump and I could officially pardon myself for any random thing I would do it. Why not? The one good thing about the pardon would be not having to hear a Trump court case for months on end. I hope if he does get prosecuted the media ignores it more than not. 24/7 about Trump for another 4 years is ridiculous and helps him and the Republicans.

If he has committed tax fraud I hope they do go after him for that. Can he pardon himself or anyone for tax fraud? Can presidents do that for anyone?

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich for tax evasion:

Rich owed $48 million in taxes and was charged with 51 counts for tax fraud, was pardoned of tax evasion. He was required to pay a $1 million fine and waive any use of the pardon as a defense against any future civil charges that were filed against him in the same case.

jca2's avatar

But could he pardon himself for tax evasion before being charged with tax evasion?

janbb's avatar

@jca2 He can’t pardon himself against state charges which is where I believe the tax evasion cases will be prosecuted.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo Good memory. I had forgotten about that.

Quite honestly I’m not so sure Trump has evaded taxes. Just my own personal opinion.

Strauss's avatar

@JLeslie I’m not so sure Trump has evaded taxes.

Well, he has a reputation for evading many other payments…just sayin’

jca2's avatar

Here’s a wikipedia article about the Ford pardon of Richard Nixon:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardon_of_Richard_Nixon

I read about half of it, so I can’t really comment on it, but it was detailed and informative.

I guess if I was more into it, I would read it all but I’m really not into stressing about anything Trump does, right now, especially if it’s hypothetical.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie Trump paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to his daughter, then deducted it as “consulting fees” while she was an employee of his company. You can’t pay consulting fees to an employee.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I agree she can’t be paid as a consultant if she was an employee. I don’t remember she was an employee. She also would need to be paid a customary amount even if she wasn’t an employee.

Anyway, if the IRS finds he put in fraudulent write-offs and expenses of course I want him to pay. All I meant was some of the things people are upset about might be perfectly legal. If he’s under audit you would think the IRS would have a number already that he owes except for maybe tax returns from the last two years, which might still be under investigation.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

All I meant was some of the things people are upset about might be perfectly legal.

We know Trump low-balled the value of properties for tax purposes while inflating the value for loan collateral. That is 1) tax evasion, 2) mortgage fraud or 3) both.

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Agreed. But, also, it is legal to carry forward losses, which most people don’t understand, and to pay his daughter a consulting fee IF she isn’t an employee, but above a jelly said she was an employee. Look, Amazon pays no taxes and that is probably legal. I am just saying people get upset when they hear millionaires are paying low taxes, but a lot of the time that has to do with tax law. The tax laws for real estate are especially favorable. The average person doesn’t even know investors can sell property and pay no tax if they roll the gain over into another property. Hell the average person doesn’t even realize they can sell their primary house every two years and make $500K profit tax free (if they are married).

If he is committing tax fraud it begs the question what is taking so long? He didn’t just start committing the fraud and his taxes have been in audit, so WTH is the IRS doing? What is taking so long?

As a side note this is exactly why I think a wealth tax won’t work, who determines the asset values? It’s too difficult.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

If he is committing tax fraud it begs the question what is taking so long?

Because they created knots and balls of LLCs which take years or decades to untangle in court.

I know a guy who lives in a $2M townhome who has not paid his mortgage for 10+ years. Literally a decade. I am not exaggerating. He lives rent-free. He nested and entwined dozens of companies to make lawsuits virtually impossible.

And that is what Trump does. That is why you can find cases of international banks like Deutsche erasing half his debt for no good reason. He made himself the ultimate nuisance.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The rape case and paternity case will give him the “Willies”!

No shell companies when it comes to DNA !

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is there a paternity question out there?

JLeslie's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay Well, if it is going to take years then nothing changes anyway.

ragingloli's avatar

Here is a good overview of a president’s pardoning power:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNZc9H54eBI

chyna's avatar

That was very long, but very interesting. We need to overturn some laws. Politicians are getting away with way too much criminal activity and just getting a pardon. I had no idea how many years this has been going on. It seems like the laws have always been there to protect the criminal politicians.

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