As President Donald Trump’s critics vow to pursue partisan grudges in the form of legal redress for alleged wrongdoing after he leaves the White House, some of his supporters are urging him to take preemptive measures.
Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity, for example, openly suggested that the president pardon himself and others in his orbit prior to the end of his administration, whenever that might be.
“So full of rage and insanity”
After a failed impeachment attempt and years of other unfounded allegations, some on the left have nevertheless called on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to ramp up investigations into the Trump administration in the event that his media-declared election win is upheld by the Electoral College.
Among the most recent in a string of such calls came in the form of an op-ed by former special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissman.
As Mediaite reported, Hannity addressed the growing demands for Trump’s prosecution during a segment of his radio show on Monday.
“I’m like, the president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch hunt to go on in perpetuity, they’re so full of rage and insanity against the president,” the host told his guest, attorney Sidney Powell.
Hannity went on to state his assumption that “the power of the pardon is absolute and that [Trump] should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to.”
“Pardon yourself and pardon your family”
While Powell agreed that the pardon power “is absolute, it’s in the Constitution,” she expressed doubt “about his authority to pardon himself.”
In the context of a discussion about Weissman’s op-ed in The New York Times, Hannity again raised the idea of Trump pardoning himself later in the same day on his Fox News Channel program.
“If that’s what they want to do, if Biden ever became president, I’d tell Trump to pardon yourself and pardon your family,” Hannity told his guest, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
In reference to Powell’s remarks on the topic, there remains some unsettled debate over whether a president has the power to self-pardon — and no president has ever attempted it.
A Justice Department memo in response to rumors that President Richard Nixon had been considering a pardon for himself, the agency’s Office of Legal Counsel tentatively concluded: “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself.”