January 14, 2021

John Berman talked about "multiple sources" telling CNN that Donald Trump could issue another round of pardons, as early as today. He asked Elie Honig to explain.

"CNN legal analyst, Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor. Elie, part of the reason for these pardons, Donald Trump wants a shiny object, wants people to focus on something else. What we're all curious about, will he pardon himself, his son, Rudy Giuliani? All people implicated, who could face serious legal prosecution for inciting the mob that invaded the capitol. Your take?" he said.

"John, with respect to the distraction point, let's just all agree not to be distracted. If he issues a bunch of really offensive pardons, we need to talk about them, it's important, but the real thing that really matters here is what went down at the capitol and the consequences of that.

"With respect to these pardons themselves, the kind of pardons you just laid out, they will backfire in a couple of ways. First of all, there is going to be a senate impeachment trial in all likelihood very soon. If the president abuses his power through an abuse of the pardon power, that very much could color the way that the senators look at the president and it could influence some of the verdicts.

"Second of all, it will motivate state prosecutors who are not covered by a pardon to dig in and investigate. and third of all, back when I worked at the Justice Department, we used to say, don't pull the lion's tail. The Justice Department is already on record that a self-pardon in their opinion is not valid and binding. I don't think you want to go down that road," Honig said.

"If President Trump pardons himself for inciting the violence at the capitol today and there's a Senate trial and he's convicted, does the pardon negate that conviction?" Alysin Camerota asked.

"It does not negate the impeachment. A president cannot unimpeach himself or unimpeach anybody else."

"But can't he un-convict himself?"

"If a self-pardon is valid and constitutional, which we don't know. If the president says, I pardon myself for anything relating to the Capitol riot, then either DoJ charges him, in which case it'll go up through the courts, probably to the Supreme Court, they'll tell us whether a self-pardon is valid, or if DoJ does nothing about it, in which case, the pardon would just stand."

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