Trump can pardon himself and keep it a secret until charged with federal crimes, says Lawrence O'Donnell

The internet also felt that it wouldn't be an easy move to pull off, while some argued that the President wasn't above the law

                            Trump can pardon himself and keep it a secret until charged with federal crimes, says Lawrence O'Donnell
Lawrence O'Donnell said Donald Trump can pardon himself and his family (Getty Images)

Presidential pardons have taken centerstage on Twitter with political commentator Lawrence O'Donnell sharing his views on the matter. Donald Trump's final hours as President have seen him pay some attention to who can make full use of his powers of clemency. Sitting with the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and advisers that also include daughter Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, the outgoing President has spent days sifting through names and recommendations, assembling a list, that officials say he intends to disclose on Tuesday, his last full day at the office.

O'Donnell in his tweet wrote: "Don’t trust the list. Trump doesn’t have to reveal the names of anyone he pardons. Trump can issue SECRET PARDONS. Trump can pardon himself & his family and keep that secret until they are charged with federal crimes." This tweet saw netizens take to Twitter to share their opinions.


Some felt the move could not really be made. "Impossible to pull off what Lawrence is suggesting Trump will try. Irrespective of whether the pardon is signed or oral, how could one possibly prove on, say, July 2/21 (or whenever charges are laid), that Trump in fact issued the pardon before noon on January 20th?????" read one of the tweets.


"Doesn’t seem to be any reason that the pardon would not be subject to an FOIA request. If Trump doesn’t allow it to be filed as a government record, he issued it in his personal not Presidential capacity, and it’s void. That’s my take," voiced out one of the people in response to O'Donnell's tweet.


One of the segments of the crowd noted the law should always have the upper hand. "This has to change. No president should be allowed to place themselves above the law."


The new President does have the powers to make the pardons public reckoned one of the people. "Actually, Biden has the authority to make ALL of those pardons public. Congress also has the right to make them public. Furthermore, the exact nature of the crimes committed & the terms of the pardons can also be made public. Pardons have a specific structure & legal form." Followed by a sincere request: "Please Lawrence don’t give him ideas.!!"



Disgust was a common emotion that could be noted. "That is disgusting. Why did the founders give secret pardon powers? This MUST be addressed. No more loopholes for the criminals that will surely occupy the presidency now that they know it's a grifters game and everyone crimes free from punishment. How is that not above the law?"


Legal pros seem to affirm that Trump can in fact "secretly pardon" whoever he wants to. The Hill's Paul Goldman and Jeff Thomas wrote: "The clause granting presidential clemency power does not require a pardon to be publicly revealed: Article II, Section 2 merely says the president 'shall have the power to grant reprieves and pardon offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.' This section contains no other restrictions on presidential pardoning power."

Some hoped there would be change. "If the Democrats don't make an effort to change the rules of the pardon, shame on them. It's all legal. More the pity."


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