Can President Donald Trump pardon himself without also facing charges of obstruction of justice?
The Trump legal team, as represented by Rudy Giuliani, has been making this exact argument.
However, American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Amanda Shanor has written a blistering takedown of the Trump team's legal theories to demonstrably show that no one -- not even the president -- is above the law.
"Trump’s lawyers assert that because the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the nation, he cannot obstruct justice, no matter what he does," she writes. "This cannot be right. If the president, say, ordered the end of the Paul Manafort investigation because Manafort paid him a bribe, or because the investigation might reveal criminal wrongdoing by the president or his family and friends, that would be a classic 'corrupt' interference."
Shanor then takes a hammer to Giuliani's claim that the only remedy for a corrupt president is through impeachment. If a president can't be indicted and can't be charged with obstructing justice, Shanor notes, then making an impeachment case against any president could prove impossible given that the president would have total power to block investigations.
"This framework would make no sense were the president free to end any investigation into whether he broke the law, as Trump’s lawyers argue," she writes. "Accordingly, when the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Nixon, lawmakers on both sides of that debate recognized that presidential obstruction of justice was not only impeachable but also a crime."