Trump will resign so Pence can pardon him before Biden’s swearing-in, NY AG predicts: 'He cannot pardon himself'
President Donald Trump could resign to allow Vice President Mike Pence to be briefly sworn in as the commander in chief and padon him before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next month. The prediction was made by New York Attorney General Letitia James on 'The View' on Wednesday, December 9. James is currently conducting a civil investigation into Trump's activities in New York. James' prediction comes amid rising speculation that Trump could move to preemptively pardon himself to cover the possibility of prosecution for federal crimes after he leaves the White House on January 20. The New York AG, however, has said that the option would not be legally feasible and suggested that she believes the Republican will ensure he is pardoned by creating a scenario where Pence could serve as president briefly.
"The vast majority of legal scholars have indicated that he cannot pardon himself," the Democratic attorney general said. "What he could do is step down and allow the vice president, Vice President Pence, to pardon him," according to Newsweek. The scenario mentioned by the AG was first laid out in a 1974 Department of Justice memo that stated former President Nixon "cannot pardon himself." "If under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment the President declared that he was temporarily unable to perform the duties of the office, the Vice President would become Acting President and as such could pardon the President. Thereafter the President could either resign or resume the duties of his office," according to the memo.
Other speculations have also emerged in recent weeks, including Trump offering presidential pardons to his closest friends and family. James said: "In all likelihood, I suspect that he will pardon his family members, his children, his son-in-law and individuals in his administration. As well as some of his close associates. And then I suspect, at some point in time, he will step down and allow the vice president to pardon him," James continued. "It's important to understand that he's pardoned from federal crimes, but he's not pardoned from state crimes." The list of family and friends Trump could possibly pardon include his lawyer Rudy Guiliani, son-in-law Jared Kushner and children Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr Trump, according to Politico.
Republican Senator Mike Braun, while commenting on Trump's possible attempts to pardon himself or his family, said: "That’s charting new territory, I’m guessing. I don’t think that’s ever been attempted before."
Trump, over a month after the elections, has still not conceded to Biden in the race despite the latter winning both the Electoral votes and the popular votes by a clear majority. Trump and his campaign have alleged massive "voter fraud" in the 2020 elections, however, no evidence has been provided to back their claims. His campaign filed multiple lawsuits, however, their legal efforts so far have been proven unsuccessful.
Texas, on Tuesday, December 8, filed a lawsuit to block Biden's victory by overturning the vote results in four key states. The state, in an attempt to assist Trump in upending the election results, announced that it had sued Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin at the Supreme Court. Texas reportedly called the changes made by the states to election procedures amidst the coronavirus pandemic as "unconstitutional."