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By Sarah May on
 June 22, 2023

Timing in classified documents case could facilitate Trump self-pardon: Reports

Though the federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's classified documents case has set an aggressive scheduling timeline for trial, reports suggest that the realities of litigation could delay matters in such a way as to facilitate a self-pardon, should he reclaim the White House from Joe Biden in 2024, as Breitbart explains.

News emerged this week that Judge Aileen Cannon set an Aug. 14 trial date for Trump on charges that he criminally mishandled government documents taken to his Mar-a-Lago estate after his departure from Washington, D.C.

Legal experts commenting on the situation, however, are weighing in with strong doubts that Cannon's docketing will hold up, opining that proceedings will almost certainly be significantly delayed beyond the date declared this week.

Speaking to the New York Times on the topic, Brandon Van Grack, himself a former federal prosecutor, posited that the specific complexities of the case will assuredly send the trial's actual commencement back by a substantial amount of time.

As such, Trump could theoretically prevail in the upcoming presidential cycle and set the wheels in motion to effect clemency in his own case.

The Times acknowledged, “If a trial drags past the 2024 election, and Mr. Trump wins the race, he could, in theory, try to pardon himself – or he could direct his attorney general to drop the charges and wipe out the case.”

Left-leaning outlet Axios echoed that hypothesis in reporting from June 13, stating, “Trump is now the leading GOP candidate for president. If he were to win the presidency in November 2024, he could have a chance to install sympathetic Justice Department officials before the trial is completed – or try to pardon himself if he's convicted.”

Axios further explained that lawyers for the former president are virtually guaranteed to “unleash a flurry of motions and challenges” that will necessarily push back the trial timeline, as will the process of obtaining security clearances for Trump's attorneys.

Confirming the inevitability of notable delays was former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who stated with regard to the case, “I don't see how it gets to trial before the November election,” further fueling the notion that Trump may end up well-positioned to pursue his own pardon.

Even if Trump does not return to the Oval Office, he may stand a solid chance of securing the aforementioned pardon if one of his GOP rivals vanquishes Biden in 2024, with at least one such competitor already pledging to deliver such clemency in the event of a win.

Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has vowed to pardon Trump is he secures the nation's top job, as Fox News noted, and he issued a challenge to the rest of the field to make the same pledge.

Outlining the risks he believes the Trump prosecution by Biden's DOJ poses to the nation, Ramaswamy said, “The use of police force by a sitting U.S. president against his chief political rival in the midst of a presidential election sets a dangerous precedent in our country.”

Other GOP primary candidates, including former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have not yet declared their intentions regarding a potential pardon for Trump, but at least one prominent Democrat believes they would be wise to do so.

Though he is by no means a fan of Trump's, longtime liberal strategist James Carville recently explained his belief that Ramaswamy's tack is likely the “smartest” move, saying that those who stay mum on the matter “are coming across...like circling buzzards...waiting to pounce on [Trump's] carcass” and that those loyal to the former president “are going to remember who stood by him and who didn't” and vent their frustrations at the ballot box.

Written By:
Sarah May

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