Although former President Donald Trump did not publicly issue himself a pardon, his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, believes that he did so behind closed doors.
“Donald Trump, as you stated, he’s a clever son of a gun. And there’s no way in the world that he’s not going to take advantage of a get out of jail free card,” he said to reporter Liz Hayes in a clip from a recent interview on 60 Minutes Australia.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if he has pocket pardons, signed, sealed, delivered, timestamped. And in the event that they turned around and they come to take him, he’ll be like, ‘You cannot arrest me, you cannot incarcerate me, I have a pardon.'”
Cohen suggested that the real estate mogul might have copies of the purported pardon with a lawyer or another trusted party.
Afterward, the attorney admitted he has no evidence that Trump is in possession of a secret pardon. Nevertheless, he contended that there is no possibility the real estate mogul would pass up on a way to avoid prison — especially knowing that he would not have the power to issue pardons after leaving the White House.
It’s not the first time Cohen has floated the theory. As reported by Raw Story, he previously said on MSNBC that Trump likely issued himself and his children covert pardons to be used at a later date in the face of criminal convictions. The attorney also claimed that he could not find anything in the United States Constitution that requires pardons to be revealed to the press and public.
Others have also suggested that Trump has taken behind-the-scenes actions to avoid prison. Notably, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell highlighted that the former U.S. leader doesn’t have to reveal the names of any of the people he pardons.
“Trump can issue SECRET PARDONS. Trump can pardon himself & his family and keep that secret until they are charged with federal crimes.”
Elsewhere, legal analyst Glenn Kirschner claimed that there is no legal requirement that suggests pardons must be made public in order to be legitimate.
Nevertheless, Former Acting Solicitor General and MSNBC analyst Neal Katyal called the purported pocket pardons “constitutionally dubious.” In addition, he said that if they existed, President Joe Biden would likely make them public immediately after they were issued.
Jeffrey Crouch, an assistant professor of American politics at American University, also suggested that covert pardons would not work and argued that Trump cannot not relieve himself from judgment pertaining to crimes that only he is aware of.