At the time of asking this question, President Trump has been impeached by the US House, but no trial date set by the US Senate. However, if Trump were to grant blanket pardons to all those who participated in the US Capitol riot today (Jan 15 2020) and he himself was convicted of inciting the same insurrection, would the pardon stand or would it be null and void?

3 Answers 3


The pardons would stand and continue to be valid.

There is a minority view that the "except in cases of impeachment" language in the pardon clause of the U.S. Constitution deprives a President of the pardon power after impeachment until there is a U.S. Senate non-conviction.

But the majority view is that this clause merely states that the loss of political office and prohibition on seeking future political office resulting from a U.S. Senate conviction in an impeachment trial cannot be removed via the pardon power. In the majority view, a President has all of the powers and authority of the office, including the pardon power, until the moment of a U.S. Senate conviction following a impeachment by the U.S. House (or the end of his term of office due to resignation or expiration of the President's term of office).

Neither view, of course, has ever been resolved authoritatively in the courts because it has never come up before historically.

Also, a group pardon would not absolve the President himself of criminal liability. The majority view (again never tested because no President has ever attempted to do so) is that a President may not pardon himself at all. But all other persons who benefit from the pardon would be relieved of criminal liability as a result.

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    Thank you. There is much that is still untested and/or theoretical. I was curious if the pardons would be revoked if Trump was convicted.
    – user36296
    Jan 16, 2021 at 18:00

If Trump were to be convicted by the Senate, either before or after he leaves office, that would not invalidate any pardons he might have previously issued, including for participation in the events of 6 Jan 2020. The president, while in office, can pardon any crime under US Federal law (which includes local DC law, because DC is a federal district). Such pardons are not reviewable or cancelable by Congress, nor by a future President. In theory a Constitutional Amendment might undo them, but that has never been done.

(This answer takes no position on whether an impeachment trial could continue after Trump's term of office ends, as that question appears to have no clearcut answer at this time, and is not part of the question asked.)

However such a pardon would not remove the restriction in section 3 of the 14th amendment that prevents anyone who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion after having sworn to uphold the constitution from holding office. Only Congress can remove that bar. But it probably would not apply to most of those who entered the Capitol, as most would not have previously sworn to support the US Constitution.

  • The original purpose of this part in the 14th Amendment was to lock out pre-Civil War politicians from holding office in any government at any level of the Federation. I am sure a quick google will turn up Confederate Veterans of the Civil war who later had assumed political office despite participating in the Civil War... because at the time of their participation, they had yet to swear an Oath of Alligence to the United States Constitution.
    – hszmv
    Jan 15, 2021 at 17:15
  • @hszmv Yes this is all correct (and I pointed out the history in another thread here). Also Congress eventually pased a general amnesty removing all the confederate disabilities under Ad 14 sec 3. But at least 2 known intruders were serving state legislators, and this might apply to them and perhaps to active duty military officers. And it might apply to some others not yet reported on. Jan 15, 2021 at 17:27
  • There's also the issue with Confederate officer holders that if used, it might be an ex post facto law. So former politicans may have been allowed to return anyway, but with a stern warning they weren't getting away with this next time they tried it.
    – hszmv
    Jan 15, 2021 at 17:56
  • @hszmv The rule against ex post facto laws would not apply to a constitutional provision. But in any case it only applies to laws creating crimes. Ad 14 sec 3 did not create any crime, it merely added a limitation to who could hold office in future. No criminal penalty. People were barred from office under this provision. The amnesty was part of the Hayes/tilden compromise IIRC. Jan 15, 2021 at 18:03

No. Presidential Pardons are not reviewable as part of impeachment process (unless a pardon was the cause for an impeachment article, even then, it is not recinded following a conviction.). A conviction on impeachment can only server to remove the President (or other officer) from office and can have no other punishment attached. The purpose is to remove from office so one could stand trial for a criminal act. A resolution barring future service in office may be passed after conviction with a 51% majority vote.

It is highly unlikely Trump will be convicted at trial (given that Impeachment process stops when the officer is removed from office by other means) and thus the likelyhood of a trial beginning, let alone concluding is not likely to occur.

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    Can you expand on why the impeachment process would stop? As you indicated, one element of the impeachment process includes the ability to bar someone from future public service. As written, this seems to suggest that such a penalty isn't feasible so long as the defendant resigns prior to the impeachment being fully completed. Jan 15, 2021 at 15:41
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    "given that Impeachment process stops when the officer is removed from office by other means": I believe this is incorrect. It's true that in several past cases, the process has been dropped when the officer left office, but in the case of William Belknap, his Senate trial actually took place after he had resigned, and continued to completion. And certainly in the present case, Congress shows every intention of carrying on with the trial process after Trump leaves office. Jan 15, 2021 at 15:43
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    @NateEldredge: Your own link cites the fact that Belknap left office as a deciding factor in the vote leading to his aquittal.
    – hszmv
    Jan 15, 2021 at 16:41
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    @DavidSiegel: U.S. Constitution and jurisprudence is quite clear that for any court proceeding (The Senate being the High Court of Impeachment, it counts here) that the relief sought must be actually granted and courts can't hear cases where it cannot. Since Impeachment relief can only be granted in the form of immediate removal from office, the inability to remove Trump from an office left renders the trial moot. Since there has been no conviction on this line and likely won't, This could be a rare challenge that SCOTUS will review, as it is a question of law, not of politics.
    – hszmv
    Jan 15, 2021 at 16:46
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    Under your logic there would never be a disqualification since the removal (or resignation) stops the process. For the option of disqualification to mean anything the office holder no longing holding office can't automatically stop the proceedings. Jan 15, 2021 at 19:51

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