CNN anchor Erin Burnett and a former lawyer for Donald Trump spent time fantasizing about a scenario in which the ex-President is forced to pardon himself from a prison cell.
Ty Cobb, a hilariously-named former member of the Trump Administration legal team, has been very vociferous about his opinion that the Republican candidate is going to jail based on a Justice Department investigation into his possession of classified documents after leaving office.
Burnett pressed him on what the future might hold should that be the case, particularly if Trump wins the election.
“What happens, though, if this trial does not wrap up before the general election, Trump wins?” Burnett asked. “Does he just pardon himself and it all goes away?”
“Well, so those are all oddly–those are possibilities,” Cobb replied. “The sad thing is nobody knows. This is so unprecedented.”
Cobb proceeded to discuss the issue of Trump pardoning himself, something he believes is not permissible but admits there are other legal minds who disagree.
“The timing is, if there’s already been a verdict in the federal case… you would assume that that could be consequential during the election.”
Former Trump White House Lawyer Ty Cobb predicts Trump will go to jail over the classified documents case. pic.twitter.com/snWGSp2VDE
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) May 22, 2023
RELATED: Congressman Matt Gaetz: Trump Should Pardon Himself
CNN Discusses Possibility of Trump Pardoning Himself From Prison
Where the conversation veered to next is why it is so difficult to take CNN seriously when they try to portray themselves as less partisan under CEO Chris Licht.
Cobb discussed what might happen if the Trump trial wraps up, he is convicted and sentenced, and this all happens before the election.
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“He doesn’t have the power to pardon himself until he’s actually inaugurated,” he said. “So, if there’s a verdict, say, before the election in November, sentencing could easily occur in advance of him taking office.”
At this point in the interview, you can see Burnett get eager about the prospect, mouth hanging slightly open, eyebrows raised, head shaking in disbelief.
“And he would have to report to jail,” Cobb added. “So he would be (pardoning) himself ostensibly under those circumstances from jail.”
Burnett found the scenario “absolutely incredible” but suggested, “It’s a reality we could be looking at.”
Erin Burnett and Trump White House Lawyer Game Out Scenario Where Trump Pardons Himself from Prison: ‘Absolutely Incredible’
— Mike Walker (@New_Narrative) May 24, 2023
RELATED: Hillary Clinton Claims Trump ‘Rigged’ 2020 Election, Predicts ‘End of Democracy’ If He Wins in 2024
Can Trump Pardon Himself?
Congressman Matt Gaetz, following the 2020 presidential election and before the transition to the Biden White House, advised Trump to pardon himself and key members of his administration prior to departing.
In retrospect, he probably should have listened to Gaetz’s advice.
Matt Gaetz: “President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn, he should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, he should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials, to Joe Exotic if he has to!” pic.twitter.com/mEEEqCl9rl
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 25, 2020
Trump insisted that a pardon would be unnecessary as he has “done nothing wrong.”
Self-pardons have been an issue of much debate in the Trump era.
Law scholar Jonathan Turley has argued that as President, he had the right to do so. Or will have the right should he be re-elected.
“There is no language specifying who may or may not be the subject of a pardon,” he wrote in a USA Today column. “The president is simply given the power to pardon any federal crime.”
“As a textual matter, there is nothing to prevent Trump from adding his own name to the list of pardoned individuals.”
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
Interestingly, pardons even in such a scenario would only apply to federal law; they do not apply to civil, state, or local offenses.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced an indictment of the former President earlier this year.
Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, low-level felonies in New York State but which carry a potential for a 4-year prison sentence each.
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