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Levin: Yes, the President Can Pardon Himself

Zenny Phuong Michael Morris
By Zenny Phuong and Michael Morris | July 24, 2017 | 12:21 PM EDT

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin (Flickr Photo/Labeled for Reuse)

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Friday, host Mark Levin said that he personally believes the Constitution allows for President Trump to pardon himself as well as his aides and family members.

“I would argue definitively, regardless of what the courts would say, that yes, the president can pardon himself,” Levin said. “Yes, the president can pardon his family. Yes, the president can pardon members of Congress – pardon former presidents, former CIA directors and on and on and on, in my view. And I don’t see much of an argument against it.”

Levin’s comments come after reports, like the one from The Washington Post, that President Trump asked “advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with” Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

Here’s part of the transcript from Levin show on July 21:

“Well, ladies and gentlemen, I just read you the language: ‘The president shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States except in cases of impeachment.’

“Now, there are certain explanations for this if you look in the Federalist papers, and they don’t address whether the president can pardon himself, of course, but addresses the pardon issue generally. Federalist number 74 is an example.

“Let’s see here, I’m just looking at my Federalist papers right now, and there are others.

“But it is not a particularly fulsome discussion about the pardon power. And so without much more, we look at the language, and if the language is not confusing, it’s not complicated, it’s not contradictory, we follow the language in the Constitution.

“So the answer is, I would argue, definitively, regardless of what courts would say, yes, the president can pardon himself. Yes, the president can pardon his family. Yes, the president can pardon members of Congress – pardon former presidents, pardon CIA directors and on and on and on, in my view. And I don’t see much of an argument against it.

“People will start to argue public policy. People will start to argue certain Supreme Court cases. Although, interestingly, none is on point.

“But, one of the earliest cases decided by John Marshall, United States v. Wilson, 1833, would seem to underscore my point.

“And James Wilson argued during the Convention that pardon before conviction might be necessary. So, who can be pardoned? There’s no limitations. When the pardon can occur. There’s no limitation.

“People will want limitations; people will argue public policy, but this isn’t a game. This isn’t about public policy. This is about what the Constitution says. We’re not debating a statute.

“This isn’t a plebiscite or a referendum. Doesn’t matter what the media say. Doesn’t matter what Congress says. Doesn’t matter what anyone says. It matters what the Constitution says.”