Center for American Progress

When the Pardon Furthers the Conspiracy: Limits to the Pardon Power
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When the Pardon Furthers the Conspiracy: Limits to the Pardon Power

Despite concerns that President Trump will use his pardon power to undermine the Mueller investigation, author Sam Berger notes that an obstructive pardon would itself amount to a continuation of conspiracy—and would therefore be subject to legal liability.

Authors

  • Sam Berger

As the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continues to close in on President Donald Trump and his closest advisors, there have been reinvigorated concerns that he will attempt to use his pardon power to undermine the investigation.

While concerns about the lengths to which Trump will go to protect himself and his inner circle from accountability are well-founded, there are important limits to the pardon power. The president’s pardon power cannot be used to: (1) pardon state crimes, (2) remove federal civil liability, (3) pardon impeachment, or (4) pardon crimes that have not already occurred.

The above excerpt was originally published in Just Security. Click here to view the full article.

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Authors

Sam Berger

Vice President, Democracy and Government Reform