As the Mueller investigation marches on, Trump and his TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have intensified their public relations campaign to undermine the investigation. They appear to be preparing for indictments of Trump associates and family, and the possible impeachment of Trump. The time is right to revisit some of the major hurdles that lie ahead in the effort to bring Trump and friends to justice.
Trump’s announced pardon of Dinesh D’Souza confirms his intent to expand use of the pardon power. As I’ve written, Alexander Hamilton explained the power as a tool to soften the harshness of the criminal justice system by correcting mistakes, shortening overly harsh sentences, or showing mercy based on age or infirmity. Occasionally, it has been used – for better or for worse – to move the country past divisions, as with Andrew Johnson’s pardon of Confederate soldiers, Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon, and Carter’s amnesty for Vietnam resisters. These pardons were generally issued despite political costs.