Part V: Trump’s Pardons
Many Americans fear that, if President Trump faces legal action, he will simply pardon himself. But the truth is, President Trump has been using his pardoning powers quite a bit already. Here are two of his most contentious pardons thus far.
As a celebrity himself, Donald Trump has shown a penchant for pardoning people of some fame. One of these pardon recipients is Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author and filmmaker famous for promoting conspiracy theories in his works. He allegedly made a $20,000 campaign contribution using fake names to Wendy Long, a college friend of his who was running for U.S. Senate in 2012.
Part IV: Protect Others, Protect Yourself
Only one true presidential pardon of another president has occurred in U.S. history (see our previous post for details). But presidents have found ways to help other presidents—and even themselves—using the powerful presidential pardon. One of the most famous cases of this is that of President Bush I and the Iran-Contra Scandal.
The Iran-Contra Scandal occurred in 1985-87, during the Reagan administration’s second term. Reagan wanted to fund the impecunious Contras of Nicaragua, terrorist groups that opposed the socialist Nicaraguan government; he believed that the government in place was a threat to the U.S.’ economy and security.
Funding the Contras was barred by Congress by 1984, so Reagan allegedly set up a covert method of funding. Under the guise of rescuing American hostages, the U.S. sold weapons to Iran despite an arms embargo. Some of this money was used to secretly fund the Contras.
Part III: Watergate: The Case of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
When examining what could happen in the future, it is often useful to look to the past. The only presidential pardon conferred onto a former president thus far in U.S. history is that of Gerald Ford to Richard Nixon in 1973. Some speculate that similar situation could arise between Mike Pence and Donald Trump if the current investigation doesn’t go in Trump’s favor.
What Nixon Did
President Nixon was involved in the infamous “Watergate Scandal,” an illegal effort to sabotage his competition in the 1972 election. An investigation was triggered by a break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, which was located in the Watergate complex (a collection of six buildings, mostly consisting of corporate space, in Washington D.C.).