Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Autocrat Tweets

Once again, we are  presented with a situation that should give even the most ardent supporters pause.  The President is threatening to abuse his power by pardoning himself.  Preemptively it would seem, as he tries to assuage us that he has done nothing wrong.  Methinks he dost protest too much.

While it is an interesting legal question, whether a President could indeed pardon himself, it reveals a shocking amount of chutzpah to even suggest that such a power would be used.  It's fitting that Alexander Hamilton, himself, would voice the Founders' fears regarding a misuse of the president's power to pardon.  "The reflection that the fate of a fellow-creature depended on his sole fiat, would naturally inspire scrupulousness and caution.  The dread of being accused of weakness or connivance, would beget equal circumspection, though of a different kind."  It seems the founder's fully believed that the fear of the appearance of an abuse of power would be enough to temper any concerns.  They never anticipated a truly shameless president.

We've already seen a lack of the "scrupulousness and caution" Hamilton believed would naturally occur in President Trump's previous pardons of Sheriff Joe Apiro and Dinesh D'Souza, as he completely bypassed the traditional presidential office responsible for evaluating petitions of clemency.

Whatever he does, he better do it quickly, as the one thing he certainly can not do is pardon himself from an impeachment.  If the Mueller investigation reveals grounds for impeachment, he is then at the mercy of Congress.  He best hope he has a correct pulse on the feelings of the nation should that be the case.

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