Sunday, July 23, 2017

A plenary power to pardon? Preposterous!

Look, I'm not a lawyer or anything but no, just no:
Wait, that doesn't sound right, but I guess there's no arguing with all caps...
"All agree that the only real crime is looking
 into the many crimes I may have committed."

-Trump, talking to us idiots
I know I harp on this point a lot, but does this man actually think that we're all idiots? Like, that everyone in America is a complete braindead buffoon that can't see through the mind-spinning rhetorical sorcery of his tweets? 'While all agree the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon..." Well, I don't know about you, but I'm certainly accepting his premise. And hey, yeah, why are we talking about that naked attempt at grabbing unlimited power when we could be talking about all those LEAKS (caps his)?

It's not so much a legal
team as it is a legal phalanx.
No not everyone agrees that the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon and certainly not the power to pardon himself. Jay Sekulow, the Presdient's lawyer-sorry, one of the many lawyers he's retained to deal with the mounting legal issues he's facing, went on George Stephanopoulos's show to talk about it. After insisting in a totally unrehearsed and in not at all an angry way that the legal team isn't even talking about all the pardoning he might have to do, he didn't rule it out.

Two professors enter,
one professor leaves.
"I want to be clear on this George, we have not [had] conversations with the President of the United States about pardons, pardons have not been discussed, and pardons are not on the table. With regard to the issue of a President pardoning himself, there's a big academic discussion going on right now. An academic debate, you've got professor Tribe arguing one point, you've got professor Turley arguing another point...

-Jay Sekulow launching into details about 
that thing that's totally not on anybody's radar

"...and while it makes for interesting academic discussions, let me tell you what the legal team is not doing: we're not researching the issue because the issue of pardons is not on the table, there's nothing to pardon from."
", good morning and welcome to the show Mr. Sekulow..."
-George Stephanopoulos, extracting 
his head from Jay Sekulow's maw
Pictured: President Trump touring the U.S.S.
Gerald Ford on the same day he made his
pardon tweet. Not pictured: a sense of irony.
Ok, first of all, I'm sure we shouldn't read all that as defensiveness. He's probably just on edge about some other thing that's totally not related to his position on the legal team of an unpopular President around whom swirl accusations of financial malfeasance, collusion with Russia and straight up incompetence. Stephanopoulos went on to cite a Nixon-era memoranda that says 'Under the fundamental rule that a person cannot be judge in their own case, the President cannot pardon himself,' and then asked Sekulow again if he thought the President can pardon himself.

"Please, your pernicious position
on pardons is perfect poppycock..."
"I don't think that you can-first of all, it's never been adjudicated whether a president can pardon himself because it's never happened. But clearly the constitution does vest a plenary pardon power within the presidency. Whether it applies to the president himself, I think would ultimately be a matter for a court to decide...

-Jay Sekulow, hitting
those comedy 'p's

Incidentally, can we just stop doing
that whole turkey thing all together?
I mean, what's wrong with us?
Wait, what? Hilarious alliteration aside, really? The answer here is no. It's no. Of course the authors of the Constitution didn't intend for the President of the United States to have the unlimited and unchecked power to do any illegal thing he or she pleases and then to simply pardon themselves. It would be like handing the president a license to commit crime which is bad enough for a reasonable person. Can you imagine what someone like Trump would do with that? I don't even think we should trust him to pardon the turkey at Thanksgiving.

Look, I'm not a constitutional scholar or anything, and I get that Sekulow is the President's lawyer and would say that Donald Trump has goddamn superpowers if that'd shake the media scrutiny on this whole Russia thing, but for fuck's sake. I'm not suggesting that the President has done anything illegal, or at least anything we can prove, but are we really having a conversation about whether or not he has a crime-pass?
Above: President Trump exercising his constitutional
authority to command the creatures of the sea. 

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