Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides:
“[The President] shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”
What does “exceapt in cases of impeachment” mean? In a living Concstitution, can it be construed to prohibit the President from issuing a pardon as part of a plan to obstruct impeachment proceedings against him?
To stop Trump from going on a pardon spree designed to pardon potential witnesses against him in an impeachment inquiry or proceeding, why can’t the House of Representatives simply initiate an impeachment inquiry? If any questions arise regarding whether it was ïn a case of impeachment, they can litigate the issue.
In a similar vein, if the President issues pardons to witnesses who may be called against him in a criminal investigation, this would appear to constitute obstruction of justice.
Clearly Trump could be prosecuted after he leaves office for committing the crime of obstruction of justice. Whether his pardons would be effective vis-à-vis those he has pardoned is a separate question. There are powerful legal arguments supporting the conclusion that they should and can not be effective.
Why doesn’t the House initiate an impeachment inquiry against Trump, in any event, to prevent him from granting pardons to his co-conspirators in the many crimes he has committed?
Is there a good answer to this question, aside from the simple fear and cowardice of the House Democrats?