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Florida Rep. Gaetz: Trump should pardon himself to stop 'radical left'

But, the Constitution says the president cannot necessarily carry out a self-pardon, according to a law professor.
Credit: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, at Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz said President Donald Trump should pardon himself and others in his administration before leaving office to prevent the “radical left” from prosecuting them. 

The Panhandle Republican and close Trump ally said Tuesday on Fox News that the president should protect his staff from what he thinks would be unjust prosecutions. 

Some Democrats have called on the incoming Biden administration to investigate Trump and other members of his administration for possible crimes while in office and before. 

"President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn," Gaetz said, according to the Associated Press. "He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to."

Gaetz said "the radical left (has) a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after" Trump and his aides.

It's possible for Trump to pardon himself, writes professor Eric L. Muller in a recent article in The Atlantic, but it's not the question to ask. Instead, can he grant himself a pardon? No, writes the University of North Carolina law professor.

Article II of the Constitution says the president has the power "to grant" pardons, which the professor argues the use of the word "grant" throughout the Constitution means extending from one entity to another.

"Based solely on other uses of grant in the Constitution, a person could reasonably determine that a president cannot grant himself a pardon," Mueller argues.   

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