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Can a US President pardon himself?

In general, according to the constitution, every US president has the right to issue pardons. Many US presidents have made use of this right in the past. Especially just before the end of their term in office. However, it is unclear whether a US president can pardon himself. At least there is nothing about that in the American constitution. This means that self-pardon is neither allowed nor forbidden. If it did, the Supreme Court would have to decide whether or not it is lawful.

To date, there has not been a US president in the entire history of the United States who has tried to show mercy towards himself.

Watergate affair: Ex-Vice Ford pardons ex-President Nixon

To get around the problem of self-pardon, the US president could step down and appoint his deputy. The vice-president, as acting president, could then pardon the resigned president. But this would also have to be ready.

One such case occurred in September 1974, when US President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon, who had resigned a month earlier because of the Watergate affair. Ford had been Vice President under Richard Nixon. He was afraid that an indictment and possible conviction of Nixon could tear the US apart. This decision backfired for him in the end. He fell in favor of the electorate and lost the 1976 presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

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Top of the picture: Republican Richard Nixon (center) says goodbye to the White House staff and members of his cabinet after his resignation. Left daughter Julie with her husband David Eisenhower, right next to him his wife Pat and daughter Patricia with her husband Edward Cox.

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