Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Douglas Blackmon on Monday explained on Twitter why President Donald Trump's declaration that he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself of crimes is setting up a fight that could end up giving America's executive branch dictatorial powers.
"I've written for more than a year that RussiaGate would culminate in constitutional crisis over the president's pardon power," wrote Blackmon, who won a Pulitzer for his book on the post-Civil War treatment of black Americans called "Slavery by Another Name." "Contrary to what Donald Trump or any 'experts' have said, the Founders and the Supreme Court have been clear for 230 years, no one is above the law."
Blackmon then explained why giving Trump the power to pardon himself for committing crimes would create a completely unaccountable president who had the power to commit crimes with impunity.
"If the President can pardon himself, he can commit any federal crime without fear of prosecution," he wrote. "This would include bribing members of Congress not to support impeachment proceedings, paying off witnesses against him, ordering federal contracts awarded to his children."
The bottom line, said Blackmon, is that granting the president the right to pardon himself takes America directly into the realm of tyranny.
"If the president can pardon himself as he claims, we live in a country in which the president can declare himself a dictator," he concluded. "That is not the United States of America."
Read the whole thread below.
2/ If the President can pardon himself, he can commit any federal crime without fear of prosecution. This would inc… https://t.co/Msdr40AwzQ— Douglas A. Blackmon (@Douglas A. Blackmon) 1528118252.0
3/ If the president can pardon himself AND issue pre-emptive pardons (as has also been asserted) then he can nullif… https://t.co/IgjEdjjyJP— Douglas A. Blackmon (@Douglas A. Blackmon) 1528119039.0
4/ In sum, if the president can pardon himself as he claims, we live in a country in which the president can declar… https://t.co/EtMtaiYyxi— Douglas A. Blackmon (@Douglas A. Blackmon) 1528119040.0