Which Republicans Will Trump Take Down With Him? The Two Q-Anon Ladies?
Georgia's Q-Anon crackpot, Marjorie Taylor Greene needs to have a good time in Congress in the time left before she's expelled as an accomplice to insurrection. So today she vowed to introduce articles of impeachment against Joe Biden in his first week as president. Thanks a lot to Paulding, Floyd, Whitfield, Catoosa, Walker, Gordon and the rest of the counties that make up GA-14 for sending this freak our way. Biden won Georgia but not GA-14, where Biden only got 25.3% of the vote. Yes, no wonder these freaks elected a Q-Anon conspiracy lunatic to Congress!
The House of Trump may be unraveling-- but Q-Anon will always be there for him. David Nakamura sees him rapidly turning into a national pariah facing a torrent of retribution because of the coup attempt-- "banned shunned by foreign leaders, impeached (again) in the House, threatened with censure by Republicans, deserted by Cabinet members, turned on by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, canceled by his hometown of New York City, dropped by the PGA golf tour and snubbed by New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick... Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have cut him off from easily reaching [his supporters] in the real-time stream of explosive, demeaning and sometimes dangerous missives that have defined his presidency. Three banks, two real estate companies and the 2022 PGA Championship tournament have severed ties with the Trump Organization at a time when Trump and his family are facing mounting pressure from massive financial debts... 'There has never been a greater betrayal by a president,' Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the third-ranking House Republican, said in a statement ahead of the vote."
“The House of Trump is unraveling and it’s what happens when he’s about to lose power,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said. “He was a bully president and so people were fearful of him, but with only a few days left in his tenure people realize he’s about to be an ex-president with a boatload of legal suits and a brand that is no longer neon.”
...Overseas, European leaders “will be extremely relieved to see the back end of the Trump administration,” Brookings Institution analyst Thomas Wright said. “It’s a combination of how they felt all along, but crucially the events of the last week really did shock Europe and the world. They don’t see why they ought to pretend everything is fine.”
Tim O’Brien, author of the biography TrumpNation, said the backlash from Republicans, especially McConnell, is likely “creating vast wells of unquenchable resentment” in the president. He predicted Trump will seek revenge on GOP leadership by continuing to hold campaign-style rallies and supporting insurgent candidates.
But O’Brien said it was the economic pain to Trump’s businesses-- and the blows to his self-esteem through the loss of his social media platforms and snubs from the PGA and Belichick-- that are probably more hurtful to him.
“For someone who has had his nose pressed against the glass of public approval for most of his life over things that others find silly,” O’Brien said, “Donald Trump can’t live without them.”
And as for that self-pardon business... Trump may not be too happy how that turns out for him either. As Josh Gerstein noted yesterday, a self-pardon is unprecedented. "Court-watchers are bracing for an epic, intra-Federalist Society clash that could determine whether Trump-- and future presidents-- can declare themselves immune from criminal investigations even after leaving the White House. 'I think it’s a very close question whether it would ultimately be allowed to go forward, but I think there’s a chance a self-pardon might be struck down and be found to be the only limit on the pardon power,' said Kristin Hucek, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney... [F]aultlines suggest that Trump can’t simply count on the court’s conservative majority to rule as he wishes. 'It’s certainly an issue of first impression,' Hucek said. 'There might be some appeal for more conservative… justices that a self-pardon is not something contemplated in the Constitution.'"
There is one specific exclusion from the president’s pardon power: The Constitution says it does not apply to impeachments. Courts and legal scholars are also generally in agreement that a president cannot grant pardons for crimes not yet committed. And because the federal government and state governments are considered separate sovereigns, a presidential pardon would not absolve someone from state crimes. That could be pivotal in Trump’s case, with both the Manhattan district attorney and the New York attorney general pursuing investigations into his business dealings.
...The structure of the Constitution and the stated concerns of the founders about unchecked executive power also back the notion that a president can’t pardon himself, [Fordham law professor Ethan] Leib said.
Other scholars have argued that the wording in the Constitution about the president’s “Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States” implies giving a pardon to someone else-- not yourself.
Hucek raised a similar concern, speculating about how the flowery language of a clemency grant to one’s self would be phrased. “It would just be very strangely worded … he would have to refer to himself in the third person and then sign it,” she said.
It’s also unclear how Trump would specify what crimes he was excusing himself from responsibility for or whether he would attempt a broad, time-based pardon, like the one President Gerald Ford granted President Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office.
Trump’s lawyers might also balk at writing up a pardon for him, especially if he seeks to sweep in his conduct in advance of and during the violent assault on the Capitol last week.
However, Leib said he suspects a loyal outside attorney like Rudy Giuliani [who is about to be disbarred] would draft the language if the White House counsel’s office lawyers refuse to help Trump.
“There always seems to be someone to serve him,” the professor said.
But judges and justices may also have qualms about being thrust into the role of deciding which pardons are legitimate and which are not. In recent days, there has even been speculation that Trump might issue pardons to his supporters charged with taking part in the violence at the Capitol.
“I think people really need to think about, what if you learned an hour from now that [Trump] was pardoning all the people who have been arrested?” said Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA). “The powers of his office probably allow him to do that.”
Trump critics have tried, without success, to challenge some of his past pardons. Just last month, a judge rejected a claim that Trump’s pardon to former national security adviser Michael Flynn was “corrupt” and invalid due to the fact that the investigation Flynn admitted to lying in was focused on Trump.
Leib said that whatever the justices’ views may be on Trump or constitutional interpretation, he thinks they are unlikely to reject a Trump self-pardon because so many on the current court adhere to a view of a largely unfettered presidency.
“If it ever goes to the Supreme Court, there’s a pretty strong executive power group up there right now,” the professor said. “They might even come around to our view [about limits on the pardon power], but decide that isn’t enforceable in court…The idea that Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh are going to vote to disable a presidential power seems far-fetched to me.”