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Pardonez-moi, Mr Obama, Who Gave You the Looney Idea of Pardoning Her Nibs?

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nixon-weinberg-clintonRichard Nixon, Caspar Weinberger, and Hillary Clinton

by Mary W Maxwell, LLB

The president has said he may use his pardon power to give Hillary Clinton freedom from punishment for her crimes. Is that legal? I am a strict constitutionalist (Scalia had nuttin’ on me). I say he is free to do it.

Article II, Section. 2 of the Constitution states:

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; And he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States…”

So there we see that he can only give pardons for federal crimes. I believe money-laundering is only a federal crime. But some of the other charges that could be brought against Mrs Clinton may be state crimes and Obama’s pardon will have no effect on that.

What about the idea of giving the pardon BEFORE any charges are brought? The final draft of the parchment neither allowed nor forbade that, but let’s look at James Madison’s notes. He wrote down — in “real time” — everything that any of the 55 delegates said.

In regard to the above wording of the Constitution, we find:

“Monday Augst. 27th. 1787. In Convention Art X. sect. 2. being resumed [Note: Art “X” later changed to Article II]

Mr. L. Martin moved to insert the words “after conviction” after the words “reprieves and pardons”

Mr. Wilson objected that pardon before conviction might be necessary in order to obtain the testimony of accomplices. He stated the case of forgeries in which this might particularly happen. — Mr L. Martin withdrew his motion.”

So that’s that. There are no constitutional restrictions.

How about Precedent?

Precedent? Yes, there is at least one case where someone was let off the hook before there was even a hook. Namely, when Gerald Ford took over as president in 1973, following the resignation of Richard Nixon, he granted Nixon a sort of omnibus pardon.

I recall my father informing me of the news on the day it was announced. Dad seemed to believe without hesitation the reason given by the new president for pardoning Nixon. (Ahem, that was in the days before we knew that the new prexy was up to his neck in child trafficking).

The reason given — following impeachment talk, and all the protests about Watergate and the Vietnam War – was to let the nation heal.

Hillariously that is the same reason mentioned as to Obama’s motives: to let the nation heal.

The wording of Ford’s pardon of Nixon was: ““for all offenses against the United States which he has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.”

Better Sack Your Legal Adviser, Mr Obama

This is not a good move. You wonder if the man has lost all common sense.  To forgive Hillary certainly implies that there is something to forgive! I’ll bet some Democrats who voted for Hillary will now peg her as a criminal. They will not be pleased that the White House is playing cozy. (I mean, even among Democrats there are some constitutionalists and some people who do not believe in coddling a criminal, for Pete’s sake.)

The matter also raises a flashback to Prexy GWH Bush. A short time before his departure from office (i.e., before Bill Clinton was inaugurated in January 1993), Bush pardoned Caspar “Cap” Weinberger, who had been Secretary of Defense.

Cap had been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice  (my two personal faves) but had not yet been tried.  Even that pardon was a bad thing to do legally – though it was not illegal. Citizens, having heard that Weinberger was indicted, would want to see the case brought to fruition.

I think it is more than a good guess that the purpose of the pardon was to prevent a trial in which all sorts of things about Iran Contra might have come out.  Those things, by the way, have never come out. And they are said to be huge.

In regard to Hillary, too, all of us would now be free to ask “What might have come out at her trial?”

There is an article on Lawfareblog.com entitled “For the Sake of the Nation, Obama Should Pardon Clinton.” It is dated yesterday, November 12. I wonder if its authors, two Brookings Institution people, are the ones who told Obama it was a good idea to pardon Mrs Clinton?

If so they used pretty screwy logic. They note:

“The trouble is that Trump has made repeatedly clear, that he has no intention of letting facts, or evidence, or standards of proof or predication — not to mention traditional law enforcement independence — get in his way. During the campaign, Trump made clear repeatedly that he regarded her as guilty of crimes.

“The charge was a central theme of his campaign, in which he frequently presided over large crowds chanting ‘lock her up’ and, in some extreme cases, ‘execute her.’ Trump insisted that the FBI investigation which cleared (though criticized) her was corrupt and rigged. And he has promised to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton.”

In my opinion, a crowd yelling “Execute her” is not saying “We want Trump as president, not Hillary.” They are much angrier than that. Wouldn’t one want to know what they re so angry about?

The Electoral College

Also, this new move is a bit odd given that the Electoral College has not yet elected Donald Trump.  That cannot happen until the Electors meet, in their respective states, on December 19.

What if they were to elect Hillary?  There is a petition signed by 3 million people at Change.org asking Electors to “cheat” and cast their December 19 ballots for Clinton. Imagine that she gets elected. And there has been talk of a president pardoning her for crimes in order to “heal the nation”?  My goodness.

Let me add that I use the word “cheated” there as a quote of what is being said. I do not think the electors would be cheating. It is their duty to vote for the best candidate. Yes, the Founding Fathers intended that they use their brains.

In some of the 50 states Electors are required to vote according to the results of the November 8 public polling. If they used their conscience instead and were punished, I think they would win their case in court on the basis of their state’s rule being unconstitutional.

Finally, since I said I was a strict constitutionalist, I now say that I want all 538 electors to use their conscience. This could mean that neither Trump nor Clinton attains 270 votes! Thus the House of Representatives would resolve the matter on January 6.

They would do so by state, each state having one vote. Vote for whom? They could choose freely among the three persons who received the top number of votes. Could that include, say, Meryl Streep? Yes, any US-born person age 35 and up is eligible.

And once the 50 representatives start voting they are not allowed to go home until it’s done.

And if “Meryl Streep” gets elected and offers Trump a pardon (for any sins he may have committed) I trust he will say “No thank you, that is not what the Framers of the Constitution wanted. I will trust the law to acquit me of any crimes for which I am falsely accused.”

Yay Framers!

Mary W Maxwell is a proud Seppo as well as a proud Aussie.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. So the great people that formulated the U.S. Constitution did not get it “all” right. How can a person be pardoned before they are proven guilty of a crime? That does not make sense!

    In other words, a politician can be involved in any Federal crime at all and if his/her party is in power, or about to be in power, they can expect an automatic pardon by the President.

    Does Obama expect that Trump will give him an automatic pardon for all his (Obama’s) criminal activity?

    • Mal, you point out how the system can be abused but in fact it hasn’t been.

      I see you mention the softy’s, the ones who might forgive their fellow party members. But what about the hardy’s, the one’s who, on taking office, would drag their predecessors staff in for indictment? They don’t do that either! — ‘Mazing, isn’t it.

      Obama was nothing but “understanding” of Bush’s use of torture in Abu Ghraib, for example.

      Postscript: treason, like murder, has no statute of limitations.
      yay!

      • Perusing some of the pardons given by Clinton, i noticed that he gave a pardon to Patty Hearst (within hours before he left office). That led me to her biography which mentions that while in prison she got a collapsed lung.

        You won’t believe me when i say that that is one of the “programs’ put into MK-Ultra kids, poor things, so that if they perceive that they are about to spill the beans, they “trip and fall” or “collapse their lung”. This brings them back into a hospital where they get a tune-up.

        I mean why else would a young woman in prison get a collapsed lung? Too many packs of Marlboro?

        God, please help us deal with the sicko’s who do this.

  2. If Clinton has committed crimes as it would appear so when one checks out the internet on crime, she should be brought to trial to clear her name or be punished? with the alternative of Trump giving her a pardon, this is not a good solution as it would appear those who are in high office are above justice?
    We must now look at Trumps history as to whether he has a right to become President? if Trump has not disclosed alleged crimes if he is convicted on criminal activities I suggest he would not be able to pardon Clinton? more to the point if the worst became a outcome they were both convicted? America would now require another election, is it possible to have a president incarcerated and yet able to perform his duties as President? also as toilets are now multi sex? could the cells be housing say Clinton and Trump in the same cell? although this seems highly peculiar I think on the contrary both minds could be of benefit to the American public.

    • Don, what do you mean by “both minds could be of benefit to the American public?”
      To answer your question, yes you can be in the klink and hold office, I think some governors have done it. But, you see, all presidents are impeachable at a moment’s notice. There is no defense because the “verdict” is entirely political.

      Article II, Section 4 “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

  3. Of course there are certain Republicans that want the Clintons pardon. Don’t forget that no politician or public servant has been charged with any crimes to do with 9/11 as yet. We know that several crimes were committed by people on the Republican side of politics, in that incident.

    It is mentioned that Rudy Giuliani could be in Trump’s cabinet. This is the man that enabled evidence to be shipped out of the country before any investigation of the 9/11 crime. That is a chargeable criminal offence.

    Are the people of the U.S. going to let the murderers of 3000
    plus innocent victims, off the hook, to let Hilary go free , so that there are no accusations of political revenge.

    • Mal, there is certainly a log-jam when it comes to any of our “leaders” getting prosecuted.
      There are so many of them that ultimately I think there will have to be an amnesty, maybe like the Truth and Reconcilaition in South Africa.
      The bargaining chip they hold is the key to undoing what they have done. For example I believe they have cures for the exotic diseases they have invented. So let’s get our mitts on those.

  4. There are many curious things about the post election process. For example, we have three million voters suddenly concerned about the legitimacy of Trump’s election. Where were they during the past eight years when Obama trampled on civil liberties, relentlessly pursued whistleblowers, and engaged in yet more illegal wars?
    There is a great deal more wrong with the American electoral system than the electoral college. It would be naive to argue that the US was any longer a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word. One has only to mention super delegates, the exclusion of third party candidates from either the debates or significant media coverage, the well established voter fraud in many forms, and the power of the deep state to make the point.
    Does it really matter whether the electoral college votes for either Clinton or Trump when both of them are creatures of the 1 percent?
    Is Australia suddenly going to develop an independent foreign policy? The more likely outcome is that we become even more enmeshed in the US military machine, which has been happening even though the msm barely report on the fact.
    Are our political leaders going to follow Keating’s advice? No, the Australian US Dialogue has already compromised the political, industrial and media structures to ensure we remain a captive. That will continue regardless of the electoral college outcome.
    This should be a golden opportunity for us to have a fresh start that recognises our geography, our trade patterns, and the huge potential of Eurasia’s incredible change. The reality is that we will sink ever further into the vortex of failed policies because we have neither the wit nor the will to do otherwise.

    • James, “the US-Australian DIALOGUE” ?
      are u kidding? The United States does not know the meaning of the word “dialogue.” Not with NOBODY.

      Other than that, I agree with everything you say. And you have said it so clearly, beautifully.

      No wait, I also disagree that there’s “something wrong with the electoral college.: I think it is “way to go”. Yay electors.

      OOPs, the 538 electors, or many of them, are in a trance? Crikey, that IS BAD, but it’s a separate issue.

      Jeez, you just don’t know who is in a trance anymore. Or why. Much less how to get them out of it. OMG.

      Anyway, thank you James.

      • Grammatical correction: when i said “You just don’t know, I did not mean James does not know. I mean, no one knows.

        Really, tho, Henry Kissinger does know who is in a trance. But maybe he does not know he is one himself.

        Closer to home, which of “our people” are in a trance and also have their hand on the machine of government? HELP!

      • Mary, the US-Australia Dialogue was set up in 1992 when Bush the Elder was President. It is a classic example of soft power. It aims to ensure that opinion leaders, which include politicians, the media, industrial heads etc come together regularly and get the American view. That is duly reported in their respective outlets. Greg Sheridan and Paul Kelly from News Ltd and Peter Hartcher from Fairfax are members. Once you know that it helps to understand why they write what they do.
        Failure to follow the official (i.e. pro alliance) line means that access by the media to top people is simply cut off. Political careers are cut short, as with Mark Latham.
        It is all the more insidious because most people are simply unaware of its existence.
        There is a comparable organisation that links Australians with Israel with the same objectives and the same results. When did you last see a picture in the Australian media of the Israeli Wall, or hear criticism from Bishop et al of Israel’s policies?
        Did you know that after the Americans “accidentally” bombed Syrian and Russian troops at Deir Ezzor the Russians retaliated with a cruise missile that penetrated an underground bunker in northern Syria and killed American and Israeli military officers?
        It wasn’t reported here because to have done so would have raised some uncomfortable questions about exactly what were Israeli officers doing in Syria.
        One of the prime objectives of both the Israeli and American Dialogue groups is information management. The Syrian example above is just one illustration.

  5. I ain’t gonna use up the Reply button under O’Neill’s 1.46pm comment, so others can get in there with massive congrats.

    Just to tell you that one of our readers who is too shy to send a link to youtube has asked me to display thissa one:
    .

    • And I must reply to James’ comment that when Americans “dialogue” with Oz, it means Sheridan and Kelly get the chance to put Australia’s point of view. Luckily we have the tapes of some of their more aggressive dialogings:

      Sheridan: Yes, Sir, Yes.

      Sheridan: Madam [Condoleezza], We could not agree more.

      Kelly: Well, of course.

      Sheridan: Right. That’s how Australia wants it.

      Kelly: How can I help?.

      Sheridan: Mr Cheney, will that be three bags full, Sir?

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