On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that all but eliminated President Trump’s plan to pardon those who were charged and convicted as part of the Mueller investigation as a way of protecting himself. And that same decision virtually guarantees that Trump will eventually be charged in his home state of New York.
The ruling, Politico notes, keeps in place the existing law which states that defendants can be charged in both federal and state courts for similar crimes:
“In a 7-2 ruling, the justices declined to disturb a longstanding legal principle known as dual sovereignty, which allows state governments to bring their own charges against defendants already tried or convicted in federal court, or vice versa.”
So if Trump were inclined to pardon Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, he can do so on federal charges, but Manafort is also facing trial in the state of New York, meaning that a presidential pardon would void his federal sentence but do nothing to address charges he’s facing in state court. Or, as Greg Stohr noted in Fortune:
“Elimination of the separate-sovereigns rule would have meant that a presidential pardon might block some state charges as well.”
But not now. Now Trump can issue all the pardons he wants and various states can still bring their own charges. This applies to his family, meaning that New York may be eyeing the indictment of Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump, along with Jared Kushner.
And as Adalia Woodbury writes for PoliticsUSA, the same applies to the president himself:
“It’s possible New York may wish to pursue charges that are separate and apart from Trump’s activities with Mr. Cohen. According to an article published last year, Trump is the subject of several investigations in New York some of which stem from the Mueller investigation. Others include an investigation of his inaugural committee, investigations into Trump’s organizations, including one for potential tax fraud.”
Monday’s ruling was a clear green light to any state that wants to bring charges against Trump, his family, or his company. The Supreme Court just let it be known that no one is above the law, not even a lawless American head of state.
Lock him up!