There’s a pattern here that everyone seems to be missing. Donald Trump has been binge-pardoning white collar criminals, I get that. White collar crime is close to Donald Trump’s heart because it’s what he himself does every day. But it’s not even so much that. It’s the empathy he expresses for those criminals, or what passes for empathy anyway.
You see, Trump can imagine himself spending eight years in prison for his crimes and concluding, from his narcissistic point of view, that it’s just simply too much. He therefore realizes, with a distant sort of understanding that vaguely resembles empathy, that folks like corrupt former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and junk bond king Michael Milken have suffered too much because their crimes are a lot like Trump’s crimes. Pay careful attention here because you won’t see it very often. Trump is capable of empathy of that kind only. When you examine it to any depth it’s really ultimately all about him anyway, of course, because everything ultimately is all about him.
There are (generally) three criteria for a Trump pardon (or, in the case of Blagojevich, commutation). Those being pardoned must be famous, white and guilty of a crime similar to the kind that Trump routinely commits. The voiceless, the wrongfully convicted, the downtrodden, the man or woman who becomes a victim of the system for the crime of poverty, the powerless person of color — they don’t interest Trump in the least. Trump pardons famous white collar white guys. That is the extent of Donald Trump’s “empathy,” because each of them in their own way remind Trump of himself.
Thankfully, the Constitutionally-provisioned power of presidential pardon excludes the president from pardoning any crimes but federal crimes. Whether or not a president can pardon himself or persons convicted of crimes in which the president is implicated as an unindicted co-conspirator, the Constitution does not say. I think it doesn’t say it for the same reason that it doesn’t say that the president cannot flap his arms and fly to the moon: because it doesn’t have to. But in the big-endian versus little-endian mind of the Lilliputians of the Republican Party, the question of whether or not a president can pardon himself will probably be “yes,” until the day the question applies to a Democrat.
I expect Trump is going to give it a try, pardoning himself, if he should lose the election. I expect he’s going to try a lot of horrible things in the 78 days between the election and his final day as president of the United States. The question of whether or not he can pardon himself will probably eventually be tried before the Supreme Court, and because the Supreme Court is packed with a majority of morons there is a very good chance they will agree.
In the meantime, Trump will persist in the delusion that he is the “chief law enforcement officer in the US,” as he recently claimed in a sort of anemic imitation of Louis IV’s declaration of l’etat c’est moi. The extent to which Republicans in Congress, in the Supreme Court and in the coterie of greasy sycophants surrounding him agree with that as well is the chief worry we face until we are finally rid of that repellent, child-raping bastard once and for all.