- President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a post in which Rep. Matt Gaetz called for the president to issue himself a pardon.
- “President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to,” Gaetz tweeted.
- There has been speculation that Trump may indeed issue himself a pardon before leaving office.
- Though he has not been charged with any crimes, he faces a slew of investigations into his business practices.
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President Donald Trump has retweeted a GOP ally calling for him to pardon “himself” and potentially more members of his administration before leaving office.
The post, on Wednesday from Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, said: “President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to.”
The words were a repeat of what Gaetz had said in a Fox News interview earlier that day.
“The Left has a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come for those who fought with @realDonaldTrump to deliver for the American people,” he continued.
—Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 25, 2020
Since Trump’s defeat in the US election, there has been speculation he may take an unprecedented step and preemptively pardon himself before leaving office in January.
Trump has not been charged with any crimes but faces a slew of investigations when he leaves the White House, including a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance into his business affairs.
A presidential pardon would shield him only from federal investigations, not those being pursued by jurisdictions such as the one in New York.
The possibility that the president might seek to preemptively absolve himself has sparked debate among legal scholars over whether the move would be constitutional.
Some legal experts believe it would be struck down by the Supreme Court.
The only other president to have received a pardon was Richard Nixon, who got one from his successor, Gerald Ford, in 1974 after resigning over the Watergate scandal.
In his remarks, Gaetz appeared to be alluding to a New York Times report on Trump’s decision to pardon his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who admitted to lying to FBI agents about his contact with Russian officials.
Contrary to Gaetz’s claim, President-elect Joe Biden has said he would not seek to use the Department of Justice to pursue investigations against Trump.
In its report, The Times noted speculation that the president would issue a series of pardons for former aides.
The Times also said Trump was being lobbied for a pardon by attorneys for Joseph Maldonado-Passage, aka Joe Exotic, who is serving a prison sentence and was the subject of the hit Netflix crime documentary “Tiger King.”
Presidents traditionally reserve their pardoning powers for criminals who are deemed to have been victims of a miscarriage of justice.
But Trump has been accused of wielding the power to shield allies from punishment.
In July, the president issued a pardon for his former advisor Roger Stone, who had been convicted of crimes in connection with the Russia investigation.