GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz Calls On Trump To Self-Pardon So ‘Radical Left’ Can’t Prosecute Him
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) encouraged President Donald Trump to pardon himself and close associates in order to stop the “radical left” from prosecuting them once President-elect Joe Biden assumes office in January.
“President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn,” Gaetz said Tuesday on Fox News. “He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to,” referring to
Trump pardoned Flynn on Tuesday, a move that some Democrats labeled an “abuse of power.”
“President Trump’s pardoning of Michael Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his dealings with a foreign adversary, is an act of grave corruption and a brazen abuse of power,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said in a statement. “Trump is again using the pardon power to protect those who lie to cover up his wrongdoing.”
Gaetz argued that many on the radical left have encouraged prosecutions and investigations of Trump and his associates.
“The radical left [has] a blood lust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people,” he said.
The issue of a president granting himself a pardon is highly unlikely to be constitutional, many legal scholars have said. Some have noted the possibility of Trump temporarily stepping down from his role as president, thus allowing Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him.
Regardless of whether a self-pardon would be permissible, pardons both for Trump and his associates would only protect them from prosecutions at the federal level. Investigations at the state level, such as the two probes in New York looking into Trump and the Trump Organization, would not be affected.
Despite Gaetz’s concern about potential federal prosecutions, Biden has indicated he is not interested in pursuing probes into his predecessor, but would allow his Justice Department to operate independently.