Rival Says He'll Pardon Trump

Most GOP candidates are rallying around former president after federal indictments
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2023 8:29 AM CDT
Rival Says He'll Pardon Trump
The Department of Justice is seen late Thursday, June 8, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

It's a genuinely unprecedented situation in American politics—a former president has been indicted on federal charges while running for president. So far, Donald Trump's rivals have mostly been rallying around him and at least one has publicly promised to pardon him, Politico reports. "We cannot devolve into a banana republic where the party in power uses police force to arrest its political opponents," Vivek Ramaswamy tweeted late Thursday, pledging to "pardon Trump promptly on January 20, 2025 and to restore the rule of law in our country." Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped short of promising to pardon Trump, reports the New York Times, but he tweeted that he would "restore accountability" to the Department of Justice and condemned the "weaponization of federal law enforcement."

Sen. Tim Scott also slammed what he called the "weaponization of the Department of Justice against the former president," but long-shot candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson called for Trump to drop out, the Washington Post reports. "Donald Trump’s actions—from his willful disregard for the Constitution to his disrespect for the rule of law—should not define our nation or the Republican Party," he said in a statement. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tweeted that people should wait to get facts from somewhere other than Trump's Truth Social posts—but "no one is above the law, no matter how much they wish they were."

Trump, who reportedly faces seven counts connected to his handling of classified documents, also faces state charges in New York and could face more federal and state indictments. But none of his legal troubles would disqualify him from running for president or serving another term even if found guilty, New York Law School professor Anna G. Cominsky tells the Washington Post. "There are actually not that many constitutional requirements to run for president,” Cominsky says. "There is not an explicit prohibition in the Constitution in respects to having a pending indictment or even being convicted." In some states, a felony conviction could bar Trump from voting, but the voting ban in Florida, where Trump resides, was overturned in 2018. (More Donald Trump stories.)

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