Monday, June 4, 2018

Pushing the Bounds of Acceptable Discourse

I’ve been grappling all day with Trump’s morning tweet about how, as president, he could pardon himself. On the face of it, it’s a ludicrous assertion. While Trump is not an intelligent man, he is a man of low cunning (to crib a joke from an old Life in Hell panel, he is “stupid like pig but cunning like serpent”)... there is a very good reason for this ridiculous statement.

Trump is floating a trial balloon, by which I mean a pre-trial balloon: by introducing the bizarre notion that he can pardon himself, he is pushing the boundaries of acceptable discourse. He, his minions, and the corporate propaganda outlets that back him will repeat the notion in order to normalize a previously unthinkable position. Given the piss-poor performance of the mainstream media in holding Trump accountable for his atrocities and the complicity of the Republican Congress, this strategy just might work.


Harry Hamid said...

They're all trial balloons, but some are worse than others. For example, this statement that the President could not be indicted if he murdered the FBI Director in cold blood:

They're testing to see if there's any edge to what his base will allow him to get away with. There's not. So far, the ONLY thing that his base has called him out on at all was when he indicated he supported DACA, which was a definite no-no.

mikey said...

It's a ridiculous question. Of COURSE he can pardon himself. He has the power of the pardon, once he signs the documents he'll be 'pardoned'.

The right way to ask the question - which is rare because we're a nation of idiots - is what will the COURTS think about that pardon.

It is a longstanding tenet of law that a defendant can not sit in judgement of his own case. This goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years, across virtually every government and nation-state.

Therefore, it seems obvious that IF the president is indicted after his term, the courts will find the pardon invalid and require him to stand trial.

There is one scenario where he steps aside under the 25th amendment, the Acting President (Pence) pardons him and then he resumes office. That pardon would likely stand regardless of how vile it would appear...