President Donald Trump is on his way out of the White House, but he s not done just yet. After nearly four years of relentless law-bending and norm-smashing, Trump now enters his final two-plus months in office entirely unrestrained. He won t have to face the voters again, so he can indulge his basest instincts for payback and self-preservation. Get ready for a Constitutional stress test like we ve never seen before.Here are three main areas where Trump could still wreak havoc with the law before he leaves office:
Pardons. It won t be anything new for Trump to issue a rash of pardons in his final weeks in office, right up to his very last day. Prior presidents commonly have issued pardons during their final days in office, including some historically dubious ones. On his final day as president, for example, President Bill Clinton pardoned his own half-brother Roger Clinton and the fugitive billionaire financier Marc Rich (which prompted a federal criminal investigation, but ultimately no charges).
Who might Trump pardon? Michael Flynn could be first in line. Flynn continues to fight in federal court (joined by William Barr s Justice Department) to have his case thrown out. Flynn s attorney reportedly briefed Trump on the case directly -- underscoring just how politically charged it has become -- and asked Trump not to issue a pardon, apparently hoping to win in the courts first. However, with Trump on his way out, Flynn may want to rethink that strategy. Should the federal judge on Flynn s case reject Flynn s effort to dismiss, it would leave him exposed to potential jail time. A Trump pardon is Flynn s only sure protection.
Trump also might pardon others who were convicted by Robert Mueller s team, including Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos. Both have already served their time, but Trump might seek to symbolically undermine Mueller s work by pardoning them.