Trump probably can’t pardon himself — even if he retakes the White House

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump would apparently be unable to pardon himself if he were convicted of two of the criminal cases against him, even if he reclaims the Oval Office — because those are state, not federal, charges.

If Trump were elected president in 2024, he would again be given parole powers — which are inherently sweeping — but only in federal cases. This authority does not extend to state and local beliefs.

He has two federal cases against him: one for allegedly storing classified documents in his private homes and another in connection with his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and foment riots on Jan. 6.

“[The president] has authority to grant stays and pardons for offenses against the United States except in the event of impeachment,” the constitution states.

But it appears that Trump – or any other president – would not have the authority to overturn the possible convictions in his first and final criminal indictments this year in Manhattan and Fulton County, Georgia.

donald trump
Donald Trump would apparently be unable to pardon himself if convicted in two of the criminal cases against him, even if he retakes the Oval Office.

Those cases, one involving “hush-money payments” to porn star Stormy Daniels and another involving his alleged attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results in favor of Joe Biden, have been filed in state courts under state laws — for which the Constitution does not Presidential pardon provides powers.

Keep track of all charges against Trump

Former President Donald Trump faces 91 charges in four separate criminal cases after his term in office.

Here are all of the legal issues Trump will face on the road to the 2024 election.

Mar-a-Lago classified documents

  • Trump is the first former president to face federal charges.

donald trump
Former President Donald Trump faces a slew of indictments en route to the 2024 election.
AFP via Getty Images
  • Trump is accused of arbitrarily hoarding around 11,000 documents, some of which contained sensitive national security secrets, at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate.
  • The most serious charge in this case carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

“Hush money” for Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels
Former President Donald Trump has been accused of falsifying business records when he paid Stormy Daniels hush money.
  • Trump’s attorney at the time, Michael Cohen, paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter between the two that she claimed to have had.
  • Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and is attempting to take the case to federal court. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 4, 2024.

Offer to repeal the 2020 election

  • Special Counsel Jack Smith charged the ex-president with four counts related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
  • Prosecutors charged the 45th President that his relentless allegations of voter fraud that cost him reelection were “false and [Trump] knew they were wrong.”

On January 6, 2021, insurgents loyal to President Donald Trump stormed and rioted the US Capitol in Washington.
Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.
  • The charges are the second Smith has brought against 77-year-old Trump.
  • On January 6, 2021, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol after his speech on the Ellipse.
  • Allegations against the former president include violating Georgia’s anti-crime law, conspiracy, making false statements and asking an official to break his oath of office.

Studying the 2020 Georgia election

  • Trump and 18 of his allies and supporters have been indicted by a Georgia grand jury in connection with his efforts to overturn the Peach State’s 2020 election results.
  • The former president faces 13 counts in the case, according to a filing released early on the Fulton County Superior Court website around noon.

New York Civil Cases

  • The former president was sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • James accuses Trump and three of his children of lying to the banks about his fortune and billions of dollars in wealth.
  • She is demanding a $250 million fine and a business ban for Trump in upstate New York.

Donald Trump is seated with the children Eric, Don.  Jr and Ivanka.
(From right) Trump and his children Ivanka, Don Jr. and Eric are named in James’ suit.
  • In another civil lawsuit, Trump was found responsible for the sexual abuse and defamation of writer E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s.
  • Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages by Trump.
  • Trump was found not guilty of rape after the jury rejected Carroll’s claim that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room.

The combined charges in these two state cases carry a potential prison sentence of up to 207 years, although experts say Trump would never face anywhere near that time.

As of Tuesday, Trump faces 91 charges in the four indictments — 44 of which are federal charges and could be pardoned by the president.

donald trump
If Trump were elected president in 2024, he would again be given parole powers — which are inherently sweeping — but only in federal cases.

However, there is a last resort option in one of the state’s cases — the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

In that case, Trump could potentially persuade a New York governor to pardon him on the 34 counts — although that option seems far from likely under Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Still, the former president’s chances of escaping a possible conviction in his Fulton County case are limited solely to the appeals process, which is going through the parole board, since Georgia is one of the few states that doesn’t provide money to its governor as a pardoning authority.


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button