- A prop bet is offering odds on who (else) US President Donald Trump will pardon prior to the end of his term
- Trump has already pardoned Michael Flynn, his former National Security Advisor
- The odds that Trump will try to pardon himself are a reasonably short +160
As Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office nears its culmination, there’s a joke making the rounds in political circles. It suggests that civility has finally overcome the Trump Administration. Whenever someone sees the President, they are saying pardon me.
Traditionally, one of the final acts of a Presidential term is the ability to issue pardons. As Trump’s term nears its end, there’s a prop wager offering odds on who he might opt to pardon.
Paul Manafort, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, is the -400 odds-on favorite to be at the top of this list. Former Trump Administration members George Papadopoulos (-350), Rick Gates (-350) and Steve Bannon are also offered at negative odds.
There’s even a +160 betting line that Trump will attempt to pardon himself.
Odds to Be Pardoned by US President Donald Trump
Odds as of Dec. 2.
The final day of Trump’s tenure as President is Jan. 20, 2021.
How a Presidential Pardon Works
The pardon powers of the President are based on Article Two of the United States Constitution. It states that the President “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of impeachment.”
It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon. Congratulations to @GenFlynn and his wonderful family, I know you will now have a truly fantastic Thanksgiving!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2020
Generally, issuing of these pardons, especially controversial ones, are done right at the end of the Presidential term to avoid them becoming a contentious issue. Certainly in Trump’s case, contention will rule the day when it comes to the potential pardons he might offer.
Pardons for Sale?
CNN is reporting that the US Justice Department is investigating whether there have been people offering significant political contributions in exchange for a Presidential pardon. It’s a federal crime to accept money for a pardon.
Must be a lot of work coordinating which Trump supporters need pardons and which get Medals of Freedom.
— Schooley (@Rschooley) December 2, 2020
There could be any number of potential candidates to be involved in such a scheme. Manafort is currently in home confinement, serving seven years fraud. Gates, Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign chair, served 45 days in prison for financial fraud and lying to investigators.
Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser, served 14 days in jail after lying to the FBI. Bannon, Trump’s former chief of staff, is facing fraud charges.
Pick: Steve Bannon (-250)
Better Value Plays
There’s others further down the list that might make a better value play. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange (+200) played a major role in Trump’s 2016 win. He hacked into the Democratic Party server, making thousands of emails and documents available to the public. This damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Trump associates are making appeals to Trump in hopes of obtaining pardons before he leaves office, we've confirmed. Those associates include Giuliani, we're told. Source familiar with the matter said the pardons being sought are "blanket" as associates fear incoming Biden admin.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) December 1, 2020
Giuliani (+200) is under investigation for possible violations of lobbying law. He’s proven a loyal soldier. He’s destroyed his reputation by fronting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election without providing any evidence.
Maxwell (+300) might be the most intriguing person on this list. She’s the girlfriend of convicted pedophile and Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell is facing charges for helping Epstein procure young girls for sex. There’s also belief she may have several details regarding how the rich and powerful utilized Epstein’s services.
Pick: Rudy Giuliani (+200)
Will Trump Pardon The Donald?
Trump believes he has the power to pardon himself. Constitutional scholars are split 50-50 on whether he can actually do so. Should he self-pardon, it would likely lead to a protracted legal battle.
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
It would certainly be pushing the envelope of what is considered Presidential behavior. But that would also be entirely on brand for Trump.
Pick: Donald Trump (+160)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.