Why Trump can’t pardon himself if re-elected

If Donald Trump were to be elected president in November, he would, after his inauguration, have the ability to grant pardons for federal convictions. But that power does not apply to state convictions, so Trump could not give himself clemency for the 34 felonies now on his record in New York State.

Presidential pardon power is derived from Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution, which says the commander in chief “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the US, except in Cases of Impeachment.” But those convicted in cases brought by states are not considered to have committed crimes against the nation.
If Trump wanted to receive a pardon on his state felony charges, he would have to pursue one like any other convicted criminal in New York State: by asking the governor. The current governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, would be unlikely to pardon Trump. After his conviction on Thursday, Hochul said: “Today’s verdict reaffirms that no one is above the law.”


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