New York Attorney General Letitia James suggested that Donald Trump might step down from his position as the acting president to allow VP Mike Pence to pardon him.
As the AG, who has vowed to continue investigating Trump’s business affairs and his ties to Deutsch Bank, revealed during her appearance on ABC’s The View, she suspects that Trump will step down and let Pence pardon him after he pardons his family members.
“He can preemptively pardon individuals, and the vast majority of legal scholars have indicated that he cannot pardon himself,” James said.
“What he could do is step down and allow the vice president — Vice President Pence — to pardon him.”
She added: “I suspect that he will pardon his family members, his children, his son-in-law, and individuals in his administration as well as some of his close associates.
“And then I suspect, at some point in time, he will step down and allow the vice president to pardon him.”
The potential scenario was previously explained in a 1974 DOJ memo which stated that the Vice President who becomes Acting President has the right to pardon the President.
“If under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment the President declared that he was temporarily unable to perform the duties of the office, the Vice President would become Acting President and as such could pardon the President,” the memo read.
While James acknowledged that Trump could be pardoned on a federal level, she pointed out that he could still face charges on a state level thanks to New York’s state laws. In this case, Trump could still face a criminal case in New York if James’ civil investigation into Trump Organization discovers any criminal activity.
“It’s important to understand he is pardoned from federal crimes. But he is not pardoned from state crimes,” The AG said.
“Last year, I introduced a bill in the state legislature which would close the pardon loophole, so that individuals such as the President of the United States would not evade justice.”
She added: “It’s important we have this check on presidential powers … the state legislature, I’m so happy they passed that bill and it is now the law in the state of New York. President Trump cannot avoid justice in the great state of New York.”