As President Donald Trump prepares, whether he likes it or not, to leave the White House, he participated in the traditional turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. The tradition involves the president issuing a ceremonial pardon to a turkey, which subsequently lives out its days under close care. At the Tuesday edition of the event, CNN reporter Jim Acosta spoke up with a question for the president as the proceedings drew to a close — will he be issuing a pardon for himself before he leaves office? Trump didn’t answer.
As Donald and Melania walked towards the White House and subsequently briefly turned to face the crowd, Acosta shouted the memorable question: “Before leaving office, will you be issuing a pardon for yourself?” While president, Trump has enjoyed a level of freedom from potential criminal prosecutions — but outside of the White House, Trump won’t have this same privilege. Check out Acosta’s question below:
a reporter at the turkey pardon shouts a question to trump: "will you be issuing a pardon for yourself?" pic.twitter.com/Mjt8w6kDiv
— David Mack (@davidmackau) November 24, 2020
Areas of investigative scrutiny that have drawn in the president include his obstruction of justice during the Russia investigation, his financial shenanigans, and more. Currently, authorities including New York Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan-area District Attorney Cy Vance are investigating the Trump Organization over their potentially fraudulent financial activity. James’s investigation hinges on civil matters, while Vance’s investigation covers potentially criminal matters. Presidential pardon authority only covers federal offenses, so if a New York state court case against him emerged, no preemptive presidential pardon could free Trump from the potential legal consequences.
Tuesday’s White House turkey pardon event unfolded shortly after Trump made an abrupt appearance in the White House briefing room, where he talked up recent growth at the stock market, as if trying to claim something with a positive sheen for his administration on the way out the door. The Dow Jones Industrial Average did pass 30,000 for the first time ever this week — but this development unfolded after the federal General Services Administration officially confirmed Biden as the president-elect, clearing the way for the Biden team to access some federal resources. Biden has also recently announced picks for top positions in his administration. During his brief White House briefing room appearance, Trump tied the stock market growth to success on the COVID-19 vaccine front, which his administration has provided financial support for — support which seems like a bare minimum, considering current circumstances.