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Noem “Loyal Soldier” for Man Who Claims Right to Pardon Himself

Donald Trump this morning declared his “absolute right to PARDON myself.”

Perhaps Congresswoman Kristi Noem would like to retract this Sunday campaign tweet:

Kristi Noem for Governor, campaign Tweet, 2018.06.03.
Kristi Noem for Governor, campaign Tweet, 2018.06.03.

Now I get it: that Sioux Falls paper’s endorsement was just a clever way for the liberal media to provide copy for Billie Sutton’s campaign in the fall. Gotcha.

Dr. Frank O. Bowman blogged Friday in response to the despicable pardon of propagandist Dinesh D’Souza that the President’s pardon power is nearly absolute. Nearly.

Mr. Trump is right that a president’s pardon power is nearly absolute.  Some academics have argued that a pardon can be reviewed and reversed by courts either on due process or separation of powers grounds.  Those arguments are almost certainly wrong. A president’s pardon of himself may be invalid as violating the fundamental common law principle that no man may be the judge of his own case, but even that is debatable.  However, to say that the pardon power is nearly absolute means only that a pardon, once issued, cannot be undone and the person pardoned cannot be unpardoned.  That does not mean that the pardoner — the president — is immune from consequences if he misuses his constitutional authority.

Indeed, it is absolutely clear that the Framers of the Constitution believed that a president could be impeached for misuse of the pardon power [Frank O. Bowman, “The D’Souza Pardon: Trump Builds the Case for His Own Impeachment,” Impeachable Offenses, 2018.06.01].

Keep that Tweet handy, Billie.


  1. Dana P 2018-06-04

    Yes. And whether it is sloganeering Noem (loyal soldier) or Marty Jackley (‘ye ole government lawyer) that wins the primary tomorrow — South Dakota media needs to ask that “winner”, and get them on the record as to whether they think the president is or isn’t above the law.

  2. jimmy james 2018-06-04

    I still think that Kristi Noem is acting like the leader. Jackley is mostly complaining about negative ads. So, I am guessing that she is ahead by a few points. The betting odds continue to favor her as well. (66/39 currently on Predictit.)

    Does anyone have any inside information on what’s happening on the ground? I saw flyers being left on doors by Noem’s people but other than that I have seen very little.

  3. Donald Pay 2018-06-04

    Well, we’ll see. Jackley is, of course, as corrupt as Trump, just on a lower scale. The Agnico Eagle Mines Gilt Edge Superfund Site deal is the most corrupt thing that’s happened in South Dakota. It’s way, way more corrupt than the sewage ash scam, EB-5 and GEAR UP. Jackley probably knew this, which is why he had a lackey in his office sign the settlement agreement, instead of standing up like a man and putting his name on it. I wish Noem would have gone after Jackley on that issue. Still, Noem did show a little independence from the corruption machine by opposing the borehole test.

  4. Laurie Hemmer 2018-06-04

    Her judgment clearly
    a far right fake Christian one. Cheating on all three wives, porn star pay offs, prostitutes, lying constantly, calls woman pigs the c word and more. Degrades woman, minorities, children. Attacked a five star military family who just lost a son to war. Made fun of a mans disability . Praises foreign enemies and disses our closest allies. Supports trade war that will soon hurt farmers badly. Is racist and more. If Obama had done one of these even He would have been called to resign or be impeached as unfit. She is a clear hypocrite and fake new type of Christian but nothing like Christ! We need real genuine moral leaders not these far right crazies!

  5. David Newquist 2018-06-04

    Kristi has emulated Thune for fecklessness. (No quaint terminology should be associated with that descriptive noun.) She merely dangles in the wind. Her mention of the many scandals with which Jackley is associated seems to be an acknowledgement of her party’s role in a politics of corruption to which she will posture as an alternative. But it’s important to remind that she never opposed the acts, now uses them to further her political purpose.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-04

    Should Trump attempt to self-pardon republican congressional leaders have already said it will lead to immediate impeachment and removal from office.
    Trump is having serious problems that requires some real lawyers.

  7. mike fom iowa 2018-06-04

    Drumpf might getaway with a self-pardon seeing as to how the ilegal Scotus is starting to crank out decisions expected when wingnuts stole Obama’s more liberal appointee and replaced him with Scalia on steroids.

  8. mike fom iowa 2018-06-04

    Remember how pardons are supposed to be non-reviewable, except for Clinton’s pardon of Mark Rich. That one got the third degree from angry wingnuts and they be still mad about it.

  9. Robert McTaggart 2018-06-04

    Self-pardoning is a moot point, because technically Trump never has to pardon himself.

    He can invoke the 25th amendment for some reason, and the Vice-President can pardon him…at which time Trump can resume his duties.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-04

    A Pence pardon! Clever… but would Pence let him back into the Oval Office?

    Robert’s 25th Amendment point comes directly from Mary C. Lawton, Acting Assistant Attorney General, who issued this memo on Presidential or Legislative Pardon of the President on August 5, 1974, three days before Nixon announced his resignation:

    Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself.

    If under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment the President declared that he was temporarily unable to perform the duties of the office, the Vice President would become Acting President and as such could pardon the President. Thereafter the President could either resign or resume the duties of his office.

    Although as a general matter Congress cannot enact amnesty or pardoning legislation, because to do so would interfere with the pardoning power vested expressly in the President by the Constitution, it could be argued that a congressional pardon granted to the President would not interfere with the President’s pardoning power because that power does not extend to the President himself [Lawton, DOJ, 1974.08.05].

    I’d like to hear Johnson, Krebs, and Tapio weigh in on Presidential self-pardon.

  11. Robert McTaggart 2018-06-04

    Trump has to write a letter to the President pro tempore Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that he can fulfill the duties of the office. Then he is President again.

    The 25th amendment gives Pence AND a majority of the executive department or another body dictated by Congress 4 days to object. Then the Congress must eventually agree within like 21 days by a 2/3 vote in both houses that Trump could no longer fulfill his duties.

    The 2/3 vote in the Senate to keep Trump away does not exist right now, even if Democrats pick up the House.

  12. Robert McTaggart 2018-06-04

    It is however possible that Trump could be removed by this process without any impeachment proceeding required…not without risk on his part.

  13. Robert McTaggart 2018-06-04

    There is also some discussion as to whether Congress could pardon the President if Pence decides to pass and Trump cannot self-pardon.

    One of those things that the Constitution does not forbid from happening…

  14. o 2018-06-04

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this specific advertisement/association/affirmation would hurt Rep. Noem? But at this point, the Republican field (except Dusty Johnson?) has made a line straight toward President Trump. We live in a world where association with this president is a political asset. I have never felt so separated from my the clear majority of my fellow South Dakotans.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-04

    Don’t you think that if 1974 Nixon thought he would self-pardon and get away with it, he would?
    A Pence pardon of Trump is likely, but allowing Trump back in the Oval Office might be a stretch, once Pence feels the power of the presidency he won’t want to let go.
    Also, Pence would be the presumptive nominee in 2020, do you think he would pull a Gerald Ford and lose the nomination?

  16. mike fom iowa 2018-06-04

    Back in ’74’ wingnuts wanted Nixon’s hide as bad as Dems did. Today, I doubt if wingnuts would attempt to impeach their own. They could have anytime with the last 5 wingnuts in the WH. They all deserved impeachment and when I get put in charge I will dig up the dead guys and impeach the hell out of them!

  17. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-04

    Robert says, “The 2/3 vote in the Senate to keep Trump away [following a 25th Amendment pardon-dodge] does not exist right now….”

    Right now, Trump is President. The Senate won’t convict him on impeachment. But if Trump invokes the 25th in such a transparent ploy to secure a pardon from Acting President Pence, the Senate vote would shift. They’d see and voters would see that Trump is worse than Nixon. They’d have Pence in the White House. They could leave Trump locked out and say that Trump got rid of himself, and Trump would have no leverage to get back in. Trump wouldn’t go around and campaign for House and Senate candidates just to get them elected, not unless there was something in it for him; sitting members of the Senate and House would thus have little to fear from Trump himself.

  18. jerry 2018-06-04

    Guilty as charged. trump is guilty and has admitted his guilt. With this statement, trump has said that he sold out the country to Putin’s Russians for his own profit. I wonder why republicans just don’t come out of the closet and say that they are proud of their new Russian country…oh, I guess they have. Pass the borscht along with some potato squeezings.

  19. Robert McTaggart 2018-06-04

    Any pardon would alleviate issues from any potential criminality, but would not alleviate any impeachment issues, and would likely stir those up a bit.

    But at the end of the day, anything related to impeachment or the 25th amendment would be a very, very tough vote for Republicans. This is not 1974.

  20. Matt 2018-06-04

    No We must keep President Trump in power in order to destroy the majority wing of the Republican party.Think of the long game.

  21. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-04

    Republicans are very concerned what Trump has done to their party.
    It is looking more and more like the Republicans are no longer a party, it is now The Trump Party.

  22. mike fom iowa 2018-06-04

    Drumpf has a new ally, the Navy guy he pardoned. He was on Fake News today talking about HRC handing out code words on her server while he was sitting in prison. He plans to sue Obama and Comey and Drumpf agrees with him. Just more distractions and more charges against HRC that won’t be proven.

  23. Roger Cornelius 2018-06-04

    No, this is not Nixon’s impeachment 1974, but there were a number of legal precedents set that are still relevant today.

  24. jerry 2018-06-05

    If a president can pardon himself or herself, why would the framers of the Constitution even bother install impeachment as a remedy to rid the country of the criminal? trump cannot pardon and neither will Pence be able to to do as they both are incriminated.

  25. Robert McTaggart 2018-06-05

    The constitution in Article 2, Section 2 says that the president can pardon offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.

    That tells me that a pardon does not protect one from impeachment.

  26. jerry 2018-06-05

    trump is guilty as charged though with his declaration of being able to pardon himself. We can dance around the impeachment he said, she said, till the cows come home. His change to now admit he can pardon himself is astounding. To allow the Russians to interfere with our election process to put puppets in power is quite a feat. Remember, Manafort was the guy who put Pence in the vice president slot.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-05

    True, Robert, it is clear that the President has no power to stop Congress from impeaching him.

    Matt, I recognize the value for Democrats of having Trump to weaken his party for his and boost our election chances. However, if you handed me the genie bottle and gave me one rub, I would remove Trump immediately, for the sake of global stability, America’s reputation, and the moral example we set for our children. Donald Trump is a bad man and should occupy the White House for one moment longer than we can avoid by any Constitutional means (or by genie lamp).

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