CNN SE Cupp’s political commentator on Thursday suggested that if President Donald Trump decides to pardon himself, there will be “tacit” admission that he is guilty of something.
Speaking on the network on Thanksgiving afternoon, Cupp said the presidential pardon power needs to be re-examined after Trump has left office and that self-pardon could damage the president’s chances if he decides to run in 2024.
“In fact, I think it’s time to examine the power of grace, not because Donald Trump is acting, but because for decades, if not centuries, and in fact over several administrations, the power of grace has been abused,” Cupp said.
“So where Donald Trump is inevitable for mercy, and you can take them away in the coming weeks, months, it’s almost inevitable.”
“Where Trump is today is the next logical conclusion of this power. We need to start looking at whether it has been and has been used for decades as intended by the founders,” Cupp said.
Trump pardoned his former national security adviser, retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, this week. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, but later tried to withdraw that plea.
Cupp, described by CNN as a “practical conservative” and criticized Trump in the past, suggested that the pardon should indicate that the president had committed some kind of pardon-seeking crime.
“If the president plans to run for president again, it will certainly jeopardize that, and I think I would encourage other ministries of justice to really look at what he did in his office,” he said.
“If you implicitly admit that you need grace for things. I’m not sure it’s constitutional or legal, but it seems clear enough that it wouldn’t be advisable to do so,” Cupp said.
Cupp is right that legal and constitutional questions arise as to whether the president can pardon himself. The principle has never been tested and legal experts have said Newsweek on November 18 that the case is likely to go to court.
Nor is it clear, however, that accepting grace is an admission of guilt. While the Supreme Court has previously suggested that grace entails the imputation of guilt, this view is not binding.
“[I]it is wrong to say, as many do, that many accept that grace is tantamount to official recognition of guilt, ”said Brian Kalt, a law professor at Michigan State University. Newsweek. However, some scholars are of the opposite opinion.