Can Trump Pardon Himself? Congress Might Stop Him
In response to reports that President Donald Trump is looking into the ability to self-pardon, Congressional Representative Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, plans on introducing legislation to prevent presidents from having the power to pardon themselves.
According to a statement released by his office and read by the representative live on Facebook, Rep. Green will introduce this legislation to prevent Trump from essentially becoming "above the law."
"At the heart of American jurisprudence is the fundamental premise that no one is above the law, and this includes the President of the United States of America," he began.
Rep. Green explained why he wants to prevent Trump and all future presidents from being able to self-pardon.
To allow such would not only place the president above the law, it would make the president his own final judge, jury, and prosecutor. The president would in fact become the law.
Green's statement, and impending legislation, is a response to reports that Trump's legal team is looking into the power of the presidential pardon -- including the possibility that he could pardon himself -- as the Russia investigation heats up.
The president even tweeted that he has "complete power to pardon" on July 22 as part of one of his more erratic tweet storms.
Elite Daily reported that the president doesn't have complete power to pardon, per se. State crimes do not fall under the president's authority, and his pardoning powers do not extend to cases of impeachment. He may pardon "federal offenses and offenses prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia in the name of the United States in the D.C. Superior Court."
But the allegations that he's looking into how he might pardon himself at all are concerning many, including lawmakers like Green. He said that if the president could self-pardon,
The United States would become a country of laws for all but the president of the United States of America ... Love for my country compels me to file legislation to prevent the president from being above the law and beyond justice.
The legislation will also include safeguards against vice presidents who become president by way of impeachment or resignation from pardoning impeached presidents. Green cited President Ford's choice to pardon President Nixon as precedent for this portion of the legislation.
Rep. Green has been one of the most prominent anti-Trump voices in Congress since Trump took office.
The president's legal team has thus far denied allegations that they're looking into the extent of Trump's pardoning powers.