Photo Credit: Thomas Good (NLN)/U.S. Air Force photo by Wayne A. Clark.
The blue wave that came with the 2018 midterms was bad for President Donald Trump not only because Democrats obtained a majority in the House of Representatives (with a net gain of 40 seats) and picked up more than 350 seats in state legislatures around the United States—they were also bad for the president because of a Brooklyn native named Letitia James.
On November 6 – the 60-year-old Democrat was elected attorney general for New York State.
And James has made it abundantly clear that after she starts her new job in January she will launch comprehensive investigations of Trump – his family and his business associates.
In 2019 Trump’s legal headaches at the federal level will include Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russiagate investigation – the investigations of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the new Democratic House of Representatives—which will be able to launch all kinds of investigative committees and subpoenas.
But the election of James in November presents a different type of legal headache for Trump – his family and his associates: one at the state level.
As president of the United States Trump enjoys certain executive powers—including the power to issue pardons for federal crimes.
The people Trump has pardoned so far at the federal level range from Scooter Libby to former Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio – who was convicted of criminal contempt for his unconstitutional tactics against undocumented immigrants.
But the key word with the Libby and Arpaio pardons is ‘federal’: Trump had the power to pardon them for federal crimes—and he has the power to grant Paul Manafort (his former campaign manager) a presidential pardon for tax fraud – bank fraud and all the other crimes he has been convicted of.
But Trump does not have the power to issue presidential pardons for criminal convictions in individual states – including any that might come about in 2019 in New York State.
And James obviously plans to keep her staff very busy next year.