U.S. President Donald Trump claimed Monday he has an “absolute right” to pardon himself, part of an extraordinarily expansive vision of executive authority that is mostly untested in court and could portend a drawn-out fight with the prosecutors now investigating him.
No need of a pardon anyway, Trump tweeted, because “I have done nothing wrong.” In fact, his lawyers assert in a memo to special counsel Robert Mueller, it’s impossible for him to have done anything wrong in the area of obstructing justice, an issue Mueller has been investigating. That’s because, as the country’s chief law enforcement officer, Trump himself has ultimate control of the Justice Department and executive branch.
One of most significant challenges the new Weimar Republic faced was a politicised judicial system — an important element in the weakening of German democracy. One of the key failings of the revolution that toppled the German Empire in 1918 was the failure of the revolutionaries to establish a truly republican judiciary by allowing the judges from the old imperial system to remain on the bench. These were men who’d been trained and established their careers under the old authoritarian system. They had no sympathy for the new liberal, democratic regime. And the verdicts they rendered made this exceedingly clear. Political crimes committed by individuals on the left consistently received longer prison sentences than those committed by people on the right.