President Trump is reportedly considering issuing as many as 100 pardons and commutations on Tuesday, his last full day in office.
The president used his power last month to pardon dozens of his longtime supporters and associates, including Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, both of whom faced charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 election.
“The constitution doesn’t specifically restrict a president from pardoning himself, but I think implicit in the pardoning power is a restriction against pardoning oneself,” said Stanford Law Professor Bernadette Meyler, author of the book “Theaters of Pardoning,” which explores the history of U.S. pardon powers.
Meyler says any attempt by Trump to pardon himself will almost surely be challenged in the courts.
“I think that he will have a little bit more trepidation than he might otherwise have had about pardoning a lot of people at this point, because of the events at the Capitol recently and the ongoing impeachment proceedings. I think that fewer Republicans are supportive of Trump broadly pardoning himself or his family members at this point.”
Another possibility is that Trump could issue a pardon to his supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.
“He doesn’t even need to enumerate what acts they committed or who they are. Because of the precedent from the Supreme Court that pardoning power includes amnesty, he would be able to issue a very general pardon of all people involved in acts against the U.S. Capitol building.”
Meyler says that the pardoning power has been controversial in the U.S. since its inception because it was based off of a power that British monarchs held, and many questioned whether pardoning is compatible with a democratic system of government.
The New York Times reports that President Trump’s personal attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani offered to help secure someone a pardon in exchange for cash.
“To me, that sounds a lot like bribery,” said Professor Meyler. “So if you could establish that people were paying money in exchange for receiving a pardon, even if it was at Giuliani’s promise rather than Trump’s himself, if Giuliani’s acting as Trump’s agent, it sounds a lot like a bribe.”
Trump is expected to issue a large batch of pardons on Tuesday.