A former White House attorney under Donald Trump detailed a bizarre potential scenario in which the former president wins next year’s election but is in prison by Inauguration Day ― and then pardons himself while behind bars.
Ty Cobb, who led the White House response to the Russia investigation in 2017-2018, spoke with CNN’s Erin Burnett about his prediction that Trump “will go to jail” as a result of the classified documents investigation.
Burnett asked what would happen if the trial takes place during the election and Trump wins anyway.
“Does he just pardon himself and it all goes away?” she asked.
Cobb said that’s a possibility.
“The sad thing is nobody knows,” he said. “This is so unprecedented.”
Cobb noted a debate in the legal community over whether or not presidents have the authority to pardon themselves.
“There are good lawyers on both sides of that. I tend to believe he doesn’t, but I could be wrong,” he said.
He added that a possible trial next year could conclude during or after the election, with Trump sentenced and behind bars before Inauguration Day.
“He doesn’t have the power to pardon himself until he’s actually inaugurated,” he noted, meaning Trump “would have to report to jail” until then in any case.
Along with the possibility of federal charges, Trump is also facing nearly three dozen state-level felony charges in New York in a trial set to begin in March, in the middle of primary season.
If he loses that case, he would not be able to pardon himself on the state conviction.
See more of Cobb’s conversation with Burnett, as posted on Mediaite, below: