Laurence Tribe: Trump Pardons Were Criminal and He Can Go to Jail for Them
Laurence Tribe is a legendary law professor and constitutional law scholar at Harvard University. And a number of his former students have achieved big things in Washington DC. Prominent figures who have studied under Tribe include Barack Obama, Ted Cruz, John Roberts and Elena Kagan.
Tribe is also known for his tremendous dislike of President Donald Trump. When the Harvard professor speaks, though, his opinions carry more weight than most. In a recent op-ed for the Financial Times, Tribe discussed recent pardons issued by Trump and the law scholar believes the president could go to jail for obstruction of justice.
The law professor began, “It is critical to distinguish between two types of corrupt pardons. There are those that are merely contemptible for their intrinsic immorality — they may give a free walk to American war criminals.”
Tribe then argued:
“Mr Trump’s grants of clemency to close advisers Paul Manafort and Roger Stone belong to a distinct and far more dangerous category. These pardons appear to be the latest steps taken which may in effect have hindered inquiries into crimes that Mr Trump’s close associates have been convicted of committing. Put plainly, these pardons could potentially amount to criminal obstruction of justice or bribery.”
My @FT op-ed explains the counter-intuitive fact that it’s the very breadth of the president’s pardon power — its “plenary” character— that enables an ex-president to be prosecuted for using that power as part of a criminal scheme to obstruct justice: https://t.co/j8SG1G3a02
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) December 26, 2020
The law professor closed by saying, “The result is not to negate the pardons issued but to expose a president to prosecution for the way he deployed them. If Mr Trump abuses pardons to shield himself and key allies from justice, that could be charged as criminal obstruction of justice, an abuse of the constitutional power of clemency to accomplish an illegal end.”