Trump pardon power wouldn’t reach hush money verdict

Trump pardon power wouldn’t reach hush money verdict

Former President Trump would regain pardon power if he wins the White House in November, but that would not help him overturn his conviction in New York in his hush money trial.

Trump was found guilty Thursday on all 34 counts of falsifying business records, making him the first former president to be convicted of a felony. Trump is likely to appeal the ruling, but if the conviction stands, reelection would do little to wipe away the guilty verdict.

Presidential pardon powers only extend to federal crimes, meaning if Trump were reelected he would be unable to overturn his conviction in New York because the charges were brought at the state level.

Trump could be pardoned by New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul — though that appears unlikely.

It’s unclear whether a president could pardon himself for a federal offense, as it has not been tested legally. Trump has been adamant in past comments that he had the power to pardon himself while in office.

“I could have pardoned myself,” Trump told “Meet the Press” in an interview last September. “Do you know what? I was given an option to pardon myself. I could have pardoned myself when I left.”

Trump signaled he was not considering a pardon for himself if reelected because he maintained he had done nothing wrong.

“Well, I think it’s very unlikely,” Trump said last September. “What, what did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong. You mean because I challenge an election, they want to put me in jail?”

Can Trump still vote as a convicted felon?

Trump still faces charges at the state level in Georgia over efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. He also faces federal charges in Washington, D.C., for his attempt to remain in power after losing the 2020 election, and in Florida for his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House.

Those three cases do not appear likely to go to trial before November’s election.

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