President Donald Trump reacts with Vice President Mike Pence (R) after Republicans abruptly pulled their health care bill from the House floor, in the Oval Office of the White House on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC

The Washington Post reported last week that White House lawyers were researching President Trump’s pardoning authority in light of the investigation into his campaign’s connections with Russia. Administration officials have downplayed the story, but the issue was clearly on the president’s mind on Saturday. He tweeted that he had “complete power” to grant pardons. How far does the president’s pardoning authority go? Could he, for example, pardon himself? We’ll delve into those legal and political questions in this hour. We’ll also get the latest on the Russia sanctions deal working its way through Congress.

Guests:
Josh Meyer, senior investigative reporter, Politico
Brian Kalt, professor of law, Michigan State University
Jennifer Epstein, White House reporter, Bloomberg

President Trump Declares ‘Complete Power’ To Grant Pardons 24 July,2017Michael Krasny

  • Skip Conrad

    I think Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon is a good place to start. But Nixon was convicted of no crimes, so there was really nothing to pardon. He was pardoned prophylactically.

  • John

    KQED why didn’t you ask these questions when Bill gave them to Mark Rich and his other friends or Obama? Indeed pardon is only a Republican abuse no saintly honest Democrat has ever done it

    • geraldfnord

      True, there was nothing else at all happening at the time to report, and they didn’t mention it at all.

  • William – SF

    Since Trump has sought an opinion regarding pardoning his family, friends, and himself (hold the laughs…), what are they guilty of?

    • Todd Stiers

      Monarchy, the one thing our Constitution was there to protect us from. The #fail is that Congress again is not doing its duty.

      #failedstate

  • Noelle

    I’ll leave it to the Supreme Court to answer the pardoning question.

    • Todd Stiers

      Yeah, like they aren’t Kompromised. The last guy put in place is only there because the Congress flaunted the Constitutional authority of the sitting President to put in his own Justice. In a land of “laws”, you can’t do that and expect anyone to follow “the law”.

      #failedstate

  • pm05

    Don’t you have to be pardoned from a crime?
    There is an admission of guilt with receiving a pardon, isn’t there?

    • geraldfnord

      No, just an admission of fearing prosecution or penalty, either of which could be unfair. Since Trump’s definition of ‘unfair’ is the same as many other six-year-old’s*, that is to say very expansive and basically synonymous with ‘I don’t like it’, it is highly likely that there will be to him unfair investigations to derail or unfair prosecutions and sentences to prevent or to stop.

      *http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8557246-when-i-look-at-myself-in-the-first-grade-and

  • Ben Rawner

    Can President Trump still be impeached even if his self pardon was allowed?

    • geraldfnord

      Yes, as impeachment, conviction, and removal from office (if not the premises) are not Executive functions—investigation, prosecution, and imposition of any penalty are.

  • Todd Stiers

    Clearly, its good to be King.

    Why is this pardoning even a “debate”? I am still waiting for the Emoluments Clause to be enforced,
    which Trump was and still is in full ongoing violation of.

    Once the easy stuff isn’t being followed, who cares about the nuance.

    #failedstate

    • Socrates Q. Einstein

      Don’t hold your breath – a lot of us on the other side are still waiting for laws to be enforced against the Clintons/Obama administration. If you are not going to press for law to enforce when someone of your own party is in power, you can’t expect it to be enforced when the door swings the other way – and that goes for both parties.

      • Todd Stiers

        The clear and present danger here is MONARCHY/DICTATORSHIP/OLIGARCHY vs the US Constitution. The US Constitution assumed Congress would actively be involved with maintaining the sanctity of the system, even if the “leader” did not. Don’t be distracted. This program and debate on pardons is distracting energy and time vs the law being broken by this guy just being in office.

        • Socrates Q. Einstein

          Writing words in caps does not make your argument any more convincing, it just makes you come off as intemperate, fitting in with the unfortunate stereotype of the unhinged Democrat. And I think you may have missed my point. If you seriously think what we have on hands is a dictatorship or monarchy, though, we probably aren’t going to find much common ground.

          • Todd Stiers

            A name like “Socrates Q. Einstein” makes you come off as a mere Internet Troll looking to distract and Kompromise my country and its institutions.

          • Socrates Q. Einstein

            And yet you are the one claiming we are in the midst of a monarchy/dictatorship situation. 😉

          • Todd Stiers

            Check and Mate.

      • geraldfnord

        Laws and judicial decisions were enforced against both, otherwise (for example) all the States would gave been forced to exoand Medicaid.

        • Socrates Q. Einstein

          Hmm

    • Curious

      There is no violation of the emoluments clause. Another bit of left wing derangement.

  • Ben Rawner

    Shouldn’t congress amend the constitution to make sure that the president cannot pardon himself just in case?

  • Gene K.

    Wouldn’t a self pardon set up the possibility for an authoritarian government since the POTUS essentially becomes above the law?

    • Curious

      Like Barry?

      • geraldfnord

        You reach down and flip the tortoise over on its back, Leon.

  • John

    It’s looking more and more likely that he will be removed from office before 2020.

    • Todd Stiers

      Yeah, by who exactly? The Constitution and founders assumed Congress would actually put the system before party, and clearly it is not doing so.

      #failedstate

  • Amy Righter

    What about venerable principle supported by courts- can’t benefit by own illegality- can’t be in a position to benefit- cause illegality and then excuse it.

  • William – SF
    • Curious

      NYT!!! LOL!!!

      • geraldfnord

        Maybe you’re fed up, maybe you want to be by yourself…who knows. So you look down and see a tortoise. It’s crawling toward you…

  • Socrates Q. Einstein

    That guy who called in and said he didn’t vote for Trump but everyone should stop trying to take him down was on point.

    • chriswinter

      So you’re in favor of prosecuting the Clintons and Barack Obama, but want Trump (and presumably Bush/Cheney) to be left alone?

      • Socrates Q. Einstein

        No, I am in favor of all misdeeds being punished, but not just the ones of the party you oppose.

        • geraldfnord

          Yes, the Bush fans mostly represented the bad side of civisation, the Trumpists more that discontent with civilsation that longs for barbarism, like fans of Conan the Barbarian, Paul Benjamin, or “Dirty” Harold Callahan.

          • Socrates Q. Einstein

            Well I can’t speak for the Bush fans.

  • Philip or Phil

    Now that both houses of Congress are working together so cooperatively, why don’t they

    1. Pass a law requiring all candidates for POTUS and sitting POTUSes to summit to Congress and make available to interested media and watchdog non-governmental agencies, their last ten years of full-tax returns.
    2. Pass a new, currently workable and enforceable version of the Banking Act of 1933, AKA

    “The Glass–Steagall Act” (especially when referring to the
    separation of commercial and investment banking in Sections 16, 20, 21, and 32) — only 1,300 words, by enlisting H. Clinton, Sen. Sanders, Sen. Warren and O’Malley to work with Republicans towards passage of the bill — Both the 2016 Republican Party Platform and the 2016 Democratic Party Platform endorsed new efforts to pass a new version of Glass-Steagall;
    3. Pass a new law allowing states’ commissions to set prices, after serious, stern negotiations with Big Pharma, for drugs and other pharmaceuticals to be sold in their states.

    All three should pass before 2017 Dec. recess if cooperation continues.

  • jakeleone

    Well Ford pardoned Nixon, obviously a mistake. That’s the way politics works. They (the House) could impeach the President on any mistake, if they call it a “High crime or misdemeanor”, but that is somewhat vague.

    A better system would be to allow a recall election, maybe after 2 years. That might keep the administration on its toes and keep it working hard. And keep impeachment as an option, but with a vote of the Supreme court to ensure nothing more than if the crime, the reason for the impeachment and conviction, is actually a crime.

    Or really anything other than what we currently have would temporarily ease the aching and moaning, but it would never stop.

  • jojo

    He has to be convicted to be pardoned.

    • geraldfnord

      No. See Ford and Nixon.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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