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Thread: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Quote Originally Posted by JANFU View Post
    Nixon was not tried, not convicted, yet Fords pardon prevented any legal actions after his resignation.
    Question is a guilty plea, as In Gen Cartwright lying to the FBI, required or can he pardon on a blanket basis, best term I can think of referring to Nixon's pardon.
    The Manafort scenario is totally different.

    We know the only reason Mueller is going after him is to make him flip...and if he doesn't, punish him by taking him to trial. If Manafort doesn't flip, goes to trial and is acquitted, no pardon is necessary. If he goes to trial and is convicted, then Trump can pardon him. In either event, Manafort doesn't flip and Mueller wasted his time.

    My guess is that Mueller won't bother taking him to trial if he knows Manafort won't flip. In that case, a pardon is not necessary.
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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Trump should pardon anyone he wants to. That's what other presidents have done.

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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWonka View Post
    Where is that written? What is your basis for thinking that? That seems debatable at best.
    It's not debatable. The SC ruled on it about 100 years ago - maybe more. The President's pardon power applies only to laws that he is required to enforce - that is Federal law. He cannot pardon someone for violations of state law.
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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    No he can't, because it's a separation of powers issue. It would negate the power of Congress to impeach, and that's not possible.
    Actually if you think about it its not a separation of powers issue, and technically the president could pardon himself all he wants, that would not prevent in any way the impeachment process of the congress, because they can impeach the president for whatever reason they desire. All a pardon would do would be to prevent criminal charges once the former President hits the bricks.
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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Absolutely it could well be an obstruction of justice, especially if it come BEFORE any conviction and there is nothing to pardon the person for but the whole idea is to shut them up to protect yourself and your administration.
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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Quote Originally Posted by PirateMk1 View Post
    Actually if you think about it its not a separation of powers issue, and technically the president could pardon himself all he wants, that would not prevent in any way the impeachment process of the congress, because they can impeach the president for whatever reason they desire. All a pardon would do would be to prevent criminal charges once the former President hits the bricks.
    But it does violate a bedrock tenant of our legal system - that a man cannot judge his own case. Whether he legally can or not aside it is an offensive concept.
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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    A pardon is an obstruction of justice, almost making it seem that the party is "above the law" in a sense. I know that we all saw that Trump pardoned the extremist border patrol sheriff, where he broke the law, just because President Trump agreed with the end result, and believed that the end justified the means (Machiavelli). This ability of the President, is an obstruction of justice, and order. @MrWonka discusses this topic in a hypothetical sense. Of course Mueller is not going to say that. I agree with you @MrWonka that President Trump should not be handing off pardons left and right, but just because you don't believe in an action, that doesn't mean you don't have to back up your statements with any evidence, and that is just plain bigotry.

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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    And also @MaggieD, a misuse of a pardon is not worthy of being impeached. With the evidence we have now, this is DEFINITELY not to be deemed impeachable. Just because one person may think that it is a misuse of the ability to be able to do it, or that it is unjust, many other people having opposing sides about it. A president can only be impeached if everyone is in unison about the topic, not because everyone has their own interpretation of what is right, and what is wrong. Your statements are invalid, and if you want to debate about any other topic, I suggest researching the topic in advance before you make radical statements.

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    Re: Could a pardon itself be considered obstruction of justice?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrWonka View Post
    I understand that the President has pretty much no limits on his ability to pardon someone for a crime, but if it's used specifically to pardon people that may be able to testify against the president for crimes he has committed in order to prevent prosecutors from turning another criminal against the president where is anywhere could a line be drawn. If Mueller says to someone like Manfort I'll let you off easy in exchange for testimony against Trump, Manfort can just say, "Why? Trump will pardon me of anything you convict me of anyway. So who cares?"

    What if anything prevents the president from using his ability to pardon someone else to keep turncoats from testifying against his own crimes?
    I don't think there is any constitutional bar to the President issuing a pardon... however, that doesn't mean there are no safeguards to protect the interests of justice in situations like you describe. For instance, if a President did issue a pardon to keep someone from testifying against him, then that'd have the same effect as giving that person immunity - by accepting the pardon, they surrender the privilege of claiming their Fifth Amendment right to not testify. So if the President issued the pardon to keep them from testifying, it'd probably turn out to have the opposite effect.

    I think the only time a pardon could be considered to be an obstruction of justice is if a President gave one to himself to avoid criminal prosecution.

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