Can The President Pardon Himself?

Robert Mangino
June 04, 2018 - 6:58 pm

© Larry McCormack-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBRUGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – President Trump says he has the right to pardon himself.  But in order to pardon yourself, wouldn’t you have to be charged with a crime first?  Which leads to the question, can a sitting President be charged with a crime?

Bruce Antkowiak, Director of Criminology, Law, and Society Program at Saint Vincent College told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News, “There is a considerable body of opinion that says absolutely yes because the Constitution is very simple in saying the President can grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.”

“The other body of opinion on that point is that the President cannot act as the judge of himself.”

When it comes to whether or not a sitting President can be charged with a crime, Antkowiak says, “You can pardon someone without there being a charge.  If you recall, Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon even though there were never any formal charges filed against him.”

 Antkowiak adds, “First of all, the President is not above the law and if he commits a crime while in office he can be charged.”

“The alternative view is if he commits a crime in office the proper procedure is that he be impeached first, then once impeached he is open to being charged with any crime that could be prosecuted against him.”

Antkowiak also told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News that it is possible for anyone, even the President of the United States to obstruct justice.  “It requires a corrupt motive and intent to do so.”

The crimes that are potentially being looked at against President Trump include obstruction and collusion.