President Donald Trump’s pardoning of Dinesh D’Souza on Thursday looked to many observers like a flagrant attempt to send a signal to his associates implicated in the Russia investigation that he is willing to pardon them, too, in an effort to keep them from cooperating with prosecutors. But as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explained, if Trump really is using the pardon power in this way, it could place him in serious legal jeopardy.
The problem is that, as even the President Richard Nixon’s White House seemed to acknowledge, the pardon power cannot be used to hinder or undermine investigations that might affect the president personally, Maddow explained.
“Yesterday, we found out that the prosecution of the president’s longtime personal lawyer is going ahead in the Southern District of New York, today the president issued a full pardon to this guy who was convicted by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York,” she said. “The president also decided today to dangle the prospect of a whole bunch of other pardons for other people you might have heard of.”
She continued: “Psychologically, the president has started using the pardon power in a way that is designed to showcase his own power to arbitrarily pardon whoever he wants, outside any system. To act on a whim, to do it whenever he feels like it.”
Given that the use of a pardon could technically become a part of an obstruction of justice case against the president and was even cited after Nixon resigned as a potential topic for a fourth article of impeachment against the disgraced president, this attitude toward the pardon power is highly suspicious.
Maddow even played a tape in which Nixon can be heard talking about a possible use of the pardon that his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman told him he shouldn’t even mention because it could implicate that president in “criminal obstruction of justice.”
“The problem is, even for presidents of the United States, even with a presidential power as broad as the pardon power, you can’t just do it for anybody in any circumstances,” Maddow said. “Not in the case of a Bob Haldeman, you couldn’t. At least that’s what they thought during Watergate. And if you couldn’t with Bob Haldeman, why would anybody think you could do this with Michael Cohen?”
Watch the clip below:
Presidential pardon power is broad, but you can't just do it for anybody in any circumstances. If Nixon couldn't do it for Bob Haldeman, why would anyone think Trump could do it with Michael Cohen? pic.twitter.com/pg1QwlM1xy
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 1, 2018
Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems
Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.
Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."
Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.
Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.
Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.
The black-and-white photograph shows Trudeau, then 29, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands darkened at a gala party in 2001.
A veteran teacher explains why Trump is incapable of learning
While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.