Are there limits to TRUMP's pardon?
The pardon power provided by the US Constitution is one of the most comprehensive available to a president. The founders of the nation saw the power of pardon as a way to show mercy and serve the common good.
While pardons are usually punishable by those who have been prosecuted, pardons can cover behavior that has not yet led to legal proceedings.
A pardon cannot be reviewed by other branches of government, and the president is not required to provide a reason for issuing a pardon.
A pardon erases a criminal conviction. Another form of executive grace known as commutation leaves the conviction intact but obliterates the punishment.
Trump's pardon of his former national security adviser General Michael Flynn sparked a series of speculation about who might be next
But the pardon is not absolute. The key is that a pardon only applies to federal crimes. This means that pardons, for example, would not protect Trump employees from prosecutor Cyrus Vance's criminal investigation in Manhattan.
Vance's investigation, which began more than two years ago, was based on hush money payments made by former presidential lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to two women – an adult movie star and a former Playboy model – prior to the 2016 election Encounters with Trump. Trump has denied the encounters and said the investigation was politically motivated.
The district attorney has suggested in court files that the investigation is now broader and could focus on potential banking, tax, and insurance fraud, as well as business falsification. It is unclear what stage the investigation is at. Nobody has been charged with criminal misconduct.
COULD TRUMP FORGIVE HIS FAMILY MEMBERS?
Yes. It is legal for Trump to pardon his inner circle, including his family members.
There is speculation that he might forgive Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was prosecuted more than a decade ago by then-US attorney Chris Christie.
There is speculation that Trump might forgive Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, at a party in New York in 2014 about Josh Kushner, Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner
It's unclear whether Trump would forgive one of his adult children – Don Jr. and Eric took over the reins of the Trump organization after their father was elected president – and what that would mean.
Last month, as part of an investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James, Eric Trump requested a deposit into whether the Trump organization had increased the value of Trump's fortune.
But President Trump can't make excuses for a state investigation – only to federal agencies. There is speculation that the Justice Department – under President Joe Biden – may be investigating Trump and his family over their business and taxes.
Biden told NBC's Lester Holt he wouldn't press his own Department of Justice to prosecute Trump and some Democrats have called for probes.
"I'm not going to do what this president is doing and I'm going to use the Justice Department as my means to insist that something happen," he said.
In 2001, former President Bill Clinton pardoned his own brother Roger, who was convicted of cocaine possession in Arkansas.
Clinton pardoned about 450 people, including a Democratic Party donor Marc Rich, who fled the country for tax evasion.
CAN TRUMP PARDON ITSELF?
There is no definitive answer to this question. No president has tried before so the courts have not weighed.
"When people ask me if a president can forgive himself, my answer is," Well, he can try, "said Brian Kalt, professor of constitutional law at Michigan State University." The Constitution doesn't give a straight answer to that. "
Many legal experts have said that self-forgiveness would be unconstitutional because it violates the fundamental principle that no one should be the judge in his case. Kalt said that he believed this was the stronger argument.
President Trump retweeted this letter from Rep. Matt Gaetz about the presidential pardon
Trump could seek preemptive apologies to cover the possibility of law enforcement after leaving office.
In this case, the legitimacy of the pardon could never be tested in court, said Kalt. For a court to rule on the validity of the pardon, a federal attorney would have to accuse Trump of a crime and then Trump would have to raise the pardon in defense, he said.
COULD THE VICE-PRESIDENT TAKE OVER TRUMPF?
In a 1974 memorandum, a Justice Department attorney said President Richard Nixon could not apologize, but that another option was constitutional: he resigned temporarily, received an apology from his Vice President, and then regained power.
To do this, Nixon should have enforced the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, which allows an incapable president to temporarily resign.
Nixon eventually resigned in the face of the Watergate scandal and the almost certain impeachment and impeachment. His successor, Gerald Ford, later apologized to Nixon for all federal crimes he committed or could have committed during his tenure.
It's not clear what Vice President Mike Pence would get out of apologizing for Trump, said Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University.
"I don't think Pence would like that to define his legacy," said Brettschneider.
Prior to his pardon for Flynn, Trump had granted 28 pardons that obliterate convictions and 16 commutations that reduce prison sentences.
Many of those who benefited from this are those connected to Trump, including Roger Stone, whose 40-month sentence was commuted by the president; Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who was pardoned by Trump after being convicted of illegally campaigning in a Senate race; and Wall Street executive Michael Milken, who was pardoned by Trump after being convicted of violating US securities laws. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pressed Milken's apology.
Trump also reversed the verdict of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was found guilty of public corruption after attempting to raise bribes to fill the U.S. Senate seat, which was elected by the then President Barack Obama had been evicted. and Scooter Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was implicated in the Valerie Plame scandal.
Any further pardon would likely bring control to the Democrats, who criticized Trump for pardoning Flynn.