Michael Cohen suggests Trump may have already secretly pardoned himself and his children

Michael Cohen said the ‘pocket pardon’ could be the ‘get out of jail free card’ for Donald Trump

Shweta Sharma
Monday 25 January 2021 14:51 GMT
Related video: Trump Drops Raft of Pardons on His Way Out of the White House
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Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen said that the ex-president might have issued secret pardons to himself and his children during his tenure, which he will reveal if he is indicted.

Talking to MSNBC, Mr Cohen said he believes Mr Trump has already pardoned himself, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and his children in what he termed as “pocket pardons” to save themselves from criminal conviction if needed.

The former president had issued a slew of pardons in his final days of office. He granted clemency to 70 people and commuted the sentences of a further 73 people, excluding himself and his family by using his presidential powers.  

Mr Cohen wondered why the former president did not pardon himself, saying that the one thing Mr Trump fears the most is serving a jail term.

"I kind of think I figured it out," he said to MSNBC host Alex Witt. "I think Donald Trump actually has given himself the pardon. I think he also has pocket pardons for his children and for Rudy and it's already stashed somewhere that, if and when they do get indicted and that there's a criminal conviction, federal criminal conviction brought against him, that he already has the pardons in hand."

He said he reached the conclusion after some research over the legality of pardons being disclosed to the people and press.

The estranged former lawyer of Mr Trump said he could not find anything in the Constitution that said he has to make the pardons public and it is more in line to what anti-Trump attorney George Conway said.  

Mr Conway had written in The Washington Post that the former president could break a “number of laws” in fear of criminal indictment and should be tried for his crimes.  

Mr Trump not issuing pardons for himself and his family came as a surprise to many experts and politicians, given that the Trump family faces legal troubles more than any other presidential family in American history.

According to reports by Reuters and The New York Times, Mr Trump had said to his aides that he wanted “preemptive” pardons that are issued before any charges are filed.

The report said, citing sources, Mr Trump’s “level of interest in pardoning himself goes beyond idle musings.”

However, there is no definitive answer to the question of whether a president can pardon himself, as the Constitution does not mention this possibility and none of the former presidents have used this power for themselves in the past.  

However, scholars have said it would be unconstitutional, as it is against the basic principle that no one could be the judge of their own wrongdoings. 

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