Why didn’t Roger Stone get a full pardon from the president? Is the president’s commutation or pardon power reviewable? Nope. He gets to do whatever he wants, but Congress could decide it’s an impeachable offense. Could it be an obstruction of justice? That’s a harder question to answer and it would need to be tested in court, but it’s a pretty uphill battle — this is a power specifically given to the president in the Constitution. To sum it up, President Trump tried many things to intervene in Roger Stone’s case and ultimately ended up here, commuting his sentence, and maybe this commutation was a bad move and a norm-breaking move to some extent, but it’s explicitly within the president’s power.
The Supreme Court issued its major opinions on whether Congress and New York’s attorney general can seek the president’s financial information and records from financial institutions. It doesn’t mean the public will find out about what’s in those records (for a few reasons) and also, Josh says that we should remember that this is not just about transparency: it’s also about a criminal investigation that can now continue.
Either way, in both cases, the Supreme Court rejected the president’s argument that he is essentially above the law when it comes to subpoenas, but the court did what the court often does: remanded the cases to the lower courts and in the name of clarification, gave a multi-part test with sub-parts that will definitely be litigated a lot more in the future. Ken says it gives the appearance of a standard without actually giving a standard. More litigation to come.
Plus: Judge Emmet Sullivan has requested that the full DC Circuit Court of Appeals rehear the Michael Flynn arguments — this is after a three-judge panel of the court decided 2-1 that Sullivan should dismiss the charges as the government requested. Also, why is Michael Cohen back in prison? Apparently, it’s because he would not sign an agreement that he would not speak to the media or work on his book. Is this routine? And Mary Trump is now released from the temporary restraining order on her tell-all book about the Trump family, but she’s not out of the legal woods yet.