Among the burning questions driving much speculation as the end of the Trump administration drew near was whether Trump would issue the first ever self-pardon in the history of the Republic. And while reports suggested Trump was sorely tempted, in the end he failed to pull the trigger and grant himself an unprecedented “Get out of jail free” card for federal crimes. So now the question becomes, why didn’t he?
In this clip from The Damage Report, John issues a mea culpa for incorrectly predicting that Trump would, in fact, pardon himself. He and Cenk then go over the available evidence, with Cenk concluding that Trump opted against for two primary reasons — one, that he didn’t have the power to pardon himself for state crimes, and the state of New York is where his greatest exposure lies; and second, he understands, as a creature of public relations, that the “optics” of pardoning himself would have been bad, and bring additional attention to his various and sundry criminal activities. That, Cenk says, would represent a net loss for him and not be worth the risk.
John pushes back slightly, suggesting that Trump could always tell his base that he’s not guilty of anything but that the pardons were necessary to forestall the ongoing “witch hunt” from Democrats and the Deep State, and they would lap it up. Cenk agrees that 1/3 of the country will believe anything Trump says, but points out that the other 2/3 of Americans still matter when it comes time to discuss pursuing possible criminal prosecutions.