On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," legal analyst Susan Hennessey laid into President Donald Trump for offering pardons to administration officials who break the law in the process of constructing his border wall.
"Let's start by acknowledging, the spin that the president was merely joking is absurd," said Hennessey. "It is insulting to our intelligence for the White House to suggest this was merely a joke. The president has made similar claims. There is no indication he was joking. This is an egregious outrageous abuse of office. A violation of the oath of office and the constitutional mandate that the president take care that the laws are executed."
"When two people agree to break the law in advance and then take a substantial step toward that, we talk about that as being a conspiracy. A criminal conspiracy," said Hennessey. "Setting aside the legal technicalities of the issue, this is sort of textbook impeachable offenses. The Founders, when they decided to give the president this extraordinarily broad pardon power, they were worried about it, and what they said about it was, well, the check on a president abusing this would be for the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings. That's why it is so surprising to see the anemic response. Kind of a shrug from the Democrats."
"It speaks to the extent to which the president is desperate with this wall," added Hennessey. "He has failed to deliver on his signature campaign promise, even in the years in which his party controlled both houses of Congress. And so now, having completely failed on the politics, he's having to resort to basically circumventing Congress, and raiding the Pentagon and FEMA, and offering these pardons."