Huffington Post's Capitol Hill team asked House Republicans if they would vote to impeach Trump should he move to pardon himself for any federal crimes, and a grand total of one Republican said that they would.
Four days before Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, the Justice Department told the 37th president that he couldn’t pardon himself. Three days ago, President Donald Trump tweeted that he knows better.
Because it has the power to impeach the president, Congress might be the final backstop if Trump did pardon himself ― the U.S. Constitution says the president has full power to pardon “except in cases of impeachment.”
So after Trump’s tweet, HuffPost attempted to get comment from the offices of all 235 Republicans in the House, where the impeachment process would start. We asked a simple question: If the president pardoned himself, would they support impeachment?
We didn’t get many yes or no responses to our survey question ― just three, in fact ― so we sought out Republicans in hallways and asked them the question directly. Still, only one Republican said definitively he would support impeachment if the president pardoned himself: the libertarian-minded Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan.
In interviews with more than two dozen Republican members on Capitol Hill, most avoided the question.
“I don’t wanna talk about hypotheticals,” Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) told HuffPost. Conaway helmed the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government, ultimately asserting that it had not.
“I’m not a constitutional scholar, so I don’t know if he’s got the authority to do it or not,” Conaway said. “That seems to be a red herring to foment unrest, trouble and nonsense.”
Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) also hid behind his ignorance. “I don’t want to brag, but I’m not a lawyer,” he said, noting he couldn’t answer whether the president had the power to pardon himself, and therefore couldn’t answer whether it was an impeachable offense.
A number of members delivered a variation of this line, saying they hadn’t looked into the matter seriously and therefore didn’t know if the president had that authority.
Three Republicans — Reps. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) — all said they didn’t think the president had the authority to pardon himself, but all of them avoided the question of impeachment. Lance and Jones said the issue would go to the Supreme Court relatively quickly, and Fitzpatrick just repeated that “he’s not going to pardon himself.”
Although almost all 235 Republicans either declined to answer, or said they couldn’t answer, only one Republican said the president did have the authority to pardon himself: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).
Profiles in courage from the Trump party, including from "libertarian" Justin Amash, who of course is really nothing more than a Republican who thinks he's Rand Paul with a fraction of the actual attention-grabbing power.
In other words, nobody really cares to stop Trump. And nobody in the party that enabled and elevated him will lift a finger to do so. The real villains in America right now? Not Trump, as I've said time and again, he's just the metastasized tumor. The cancer is the Republican party.