We at 19FortyFive have discussed the possibility of Donald Trump pardoning himself for the federal indictment regarding his mishandling of classified documents. He would have to win the presidency first, which is not a foregone conclusion, and he is expected to put up a spirited defense that could exonerate him. But what if President Joe Biden pardoned him? That would be one outcome that could possibly heal the country, but it is a low-probability event.
Would Joe Biden Pardon Trump?
Nevertheless, two right-leaning authors and commentators from the American Enterprise Institute, Marc Thiessen and Danielle Pletka, are calling for the president to do something that would make Democrats howl in anger.
They are requesting that the president should pardon Trump, even before or during the trial.
So far, Biden has been silent on Trump’s legal woes and he has ordered his campaign apparatus to do the same. He doesn’t want to make it look like he is influencing the Department of Justice and the special counsel in any way. So, Thiessen and Pletka are merely speculating or wish-casting an improbable act by the president. They assume Trump is guilty and that he will likely face jail time.
The Country Is Falling Apart
Thiessen and Pletka believe the classified documents trial will tear the country apart. Republicans and even some Independents are likely to think there is an unfair and corrupt justice system that wrongly targets conservatives. The columnists point out that many Americans have noted that Biden himself and Hillary Clinton have possessed classified information too and they have not been prosecuted. Eighty percent of Republicans and around 50 percent of Americans judge that the charges against Trump are politically motivated, according to a poll by ABC News and Ipsos.
Corrupt Justice System
A significant portion of the country is also of the persuasion that the two impeachments against Trump, the Russia collusion investigation, and the social media suppression of Hunter Biden’s laptop shows that the deck is stacked against the former president. This enraged group of voters is not going to take it anymore.
“Millions will see Trump’s prosecution as illegitimate, and any conviction as unjust. That will further erode public confidence in our judicial system and the principle of equal justice under the law,” Thiessen and Pletka wrote.
The GOP Is Accusing Joe Biden of Serious Charges
What if Republicans want to even the score and go after Biden? That is already happening. The House Oversight Committee and at least one Republican in the Senate, Chuck Grassley, are looking into whether Biden and his son Hunter each allegedly took a $5 million bribe from an executive at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. This exchange of money was assuredly for better policy outcomes that would favor the company.
And just how serious are the Trump charges? Did he really violate the Espionage Act? He is not accused of showing any documents to foreign individuals or countries. All the documents have been recovered and no harm to national security has been incurred.
So, if there is a conviction or even a show trial, it is time for Biden to pardon Trump, the authors say. This would save the country from a divisive chain of events that could further split the country in a dangerous manner.
“In pardoning Trump, Biden would be a true statesman sparing the country the ordeal of a trial would go a long way toward repairing the nation’s frayed political fabric. He would display the kind of leadership that has been missing in Washington,” according to the commentators.
A pardon by Biden is not going to happen in my opinion. Biden would lose progressives and even moderates of his own party. They may be so upset that they would support a different candidate for president such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. or Marianne Williamson. They could even threaten impeachment proceedings against Biden should they reclaim the House. Without Democrat support, Biden could lose the election to Trump or another Republican candidate.
It is an interesting request to save the country. A Trump trial and conviction for the classified documents is a recipe for disaster that could result in more hatred between Republicans and Democrats, but a Biden pardon would be unthinkable. Even though he has claimed to want to reunite and heal the country, he has governed in a partisan manner and has every intention of seeing Trump go to jail. A Biden pardon is thus merely chatter and musing from two think tankers and it is not likely to happen.
Author Expertise and Experience
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.