On today's episode of things that are definitely not suspicious for a twice-impeached President to do on his last full day in office, Donald Trump will reportedly issue more than 100 pardons and commutes on Tuesday, CNN reported. On Sunday, the list of individuals who will be pardoned, which allegedly includes people convicted of white-collar crimes and "high-profile" rappers, was finalized, two unnamed sources told the outlet. While some experts said there were two batches of pardons for 45 to enact during his last days in office, it seems this may be it, unless, of course, Donnie has a last-minute change of heart and decides to exonerate his allies, his children, and perhaps maybe even himself.
"But wait," you're probably thinking. "Is that last one even legal?" Well, the answer to that one is absurdly complicated. Although, as of right now, it seems 45 will not likely pardon himself, the soon-to-be-ex President once reportedly contemplated the move, a contentious choice that would broach a series of bizarre questions and strange implications. As the Constitution seemingly addresses this topic, stating that a president "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment," some experts interpret this seemingly straightforward notion in different ways, for reasons including changing connotations of words over time. "Historical texts made clear that the nation's 18th century founders discussed self-pardons, but opted not to include an explicit limitation on that power," wrote Reuters columnist, Jan Wolfe. "The common usage and history of the words "grant" and "pardon" imply a president's power under the clause is limited to issuing pardons to other people, according to University of Missouri law professor Frank Bowman.
However, most experts take this statement at face value, according to NPR, arguing that Trump couldn't legally pardon himself even if he wanted to for his impeachment or pardon himself or anyone else from allegedly violating state laws. Furthermore, according to a later report from the publication, some officials from Trump's administration have allegedly advised the president to avoid taking the risky step, as legality aside, it would give Donnie the appearance of guilt.
While the president may have seemingly landed on a decision about whether to launch a legal and perhaps even ethical shitstorm, as of right now, it also seems as if he'll refrain from pardoning his three eldest children, a move which he reportedly discussed last year, and then with a "new urgency" following the Capitol siege, CNN reported.
While it should be noted that President Barack Obama, who was known for doling out the most pardons of any president since Harry Truman, according to The Pew Research Center, commuted the sentences of Chelsea Manning as well as 330 individuals convicted of drug offenses during his last days in office back in 2017, Trump's situation seems different, as there is no public indication 44 ever considered pardoning himself or his family as some of his final moves as President. It also helps that Obama was impeached 2x less than our current POTUS, just saying.
Moral of the story? If you, reader, ever find yourself in the oval office, maybe refrain from committing impeachable offenses ... twice, lest everyone will think you're pretty sus.