And we know how much he enjoys being told what to do.
Courtesy of Vanity Fair:
Donald Trump is escalating his assault on America’s legal system in ways that continue to shock. Earlier this week, the president lashed out at Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg by demanding, ridiculously, that the liberal judges recuse themselves from cases involving himself or the administration. Trump then went after the jury forewoman and federal judge in the Roger Stone case, ignoring his own attorney general’s request that he stay out of active federal cases.
Now, according to sources, the West Wing is bracing for Trump to pardon Stone or commute his three-year prison sentence. “Commuting the sentence, if there is any action taken, is the only remotely safe thing. A full pardon is corruption,” a former West Wing official told me.
Republicans close to the White House say officials are lobbying Trump not to go ahead with a Stone rescue. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Jared Kushner have argued to Trump that a pardon or commutation would create an unnecessary scandal during an election year. “They all think it’ll be a problem and that there will be hearings,” a Republican briefed on the internal conversations told me. Another source briefed on the matter said that Trump is being told, “We don’t need the hassle. Do it after the election.” Sources also said West Wing officials have told Trump that stepping in could lead Attorney General William Barr to resign—an outcome one Republican close to the White House described as “catastrophic.”
Trump’s desire to intervene on Stone’s behalf is being stoked by Stone’s longtime friend, Fox News host Tucker Carlson. In private, Carlson has lobbied White House officials to convince Trump to keep Stone out of jail. It’s the same case he’s made on Fox News. Last week, Carlson bashed Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge presiding over Stone’s case. “She is an open partisan, who has so flagrantly violated the bounds of constitutional law and fairness, it’s shocking she’s still on the bench. If there’s anyone in Washington who deserves to be impeached, it’s Amy Berman Jackson,” he said on air. Carlson continued the attack on air Tuesday night, calling Jackson “corrupt, dishonest, and authoritarian.” Carlson has also tried to discredit the jury’s forewoman, who Stone’s lawyers claimed failed to disclose anti-Trump tweets during jury selection. (Yesterday, Jackson erupted over Carlson’s attacks during a courtroom hearing. “Any attempts to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice,” she said.)
I have to imagine that there are similar conversations going on concerning Michael Flynn.
But here’s the thing, he cannot pardon Roger Stone even if he wants to.
Courtesy of Politico:
Speculation that President Donald Trump might pardon Roger Stone has reached a fever pitch after Stone’s sentencing by a federal judge and the president’s repeated hints that he thinks the verdict unfair. But fortunately, the Constitution’s framers imagined this nightmare scenario—a suspected criminal president pardoning a co-conspirator—and they put in the Constitution language to legally prohibit the pardon power in exactly this kind of case.
Both the plain meaning of the Constitution’s text and the historical evidence show that once a president has been impeached, he or she loses the power to pardon anyone for criminal offenses connected to the articles of impeachment — and that even after the Senate’s failure to convict the president, he or she does not regain this power.
Under Article II, Section II of the Constitution, the president is given the “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Pardons are supposed to be used as acts of mercy. The framers thought of the pardon power as a “benign prerogative”—prerogative because it was mostly unchecked by courts or Congress, but benign because presidents would use it for the public good.
But the framers knew not to place blind trust in the president to wield the power justly. That’s why they explicitly forbade a president from exercising the pardon power in “cases of impeachment.” The clause prevents the worst abuse of the pardon power: a president’s protecting cronies who have been convicted of crimes related to the president’s own wrongdoing.
I will bet you my house that Donald Trump did not know this.
He might know it now, but I guarantee it was recently attained knowledge.
Which makes me wonder if Trump will try to find some way around it.
I would not put it past him.