The Federalist Papers #74 on insurrections, treason, and the pardon power: an argument that such pardons would be invalid as “arising in a case of impeachment”
The Insurrectionists from January 6 are already asking Trump for pardons. Probably the only thing that would hold him back from doing so is his innate selfishness: what would be the benefit to *him*?
The thought that Trump could issue Got Out of Jail Free cards to the very people he incited to riot is mind boggling.
But it’s at least possible that he might not have the right to do so.
Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that “The President … shall have the power to grant] reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, EXCEPT IN CASES OF IMPEACHMENT.”
That last bit isn’t just my emphasis. It’s also the emphasis placed on the quote in the discussion of the President’s pardoning power in The Federalist No. 74, which also discusses the right of the President to issue pardons in the cases of sedition and treason. Below is the entirety of the relevant discussion: