Georgia Republicans Reject Calls to Change Pardon Law for Trump

Georgia Republicans have firmly rejected the idea of changing the state’s pardon law to make it easier for former President Trump to receive a pardon if convicted. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that top Republicans, including Governor Brian Kemp advisor Cody Hall and House Speaker Jon Burns’ spokesman Kaleb McMichen, have dismissed the proposal. They argued that such an amendment is not feasible and would not be considered due to the political makeup of the General Assembly. The Georgia pardon law, established in the 1940s after a governor was indicted for selling pardons, can only be changed with a 2/3 vote from the legislature and majority approval from voters. With the strained relationship between Kemp and Trump, there is no indication that the governor would grant a pardon even if he had the power to do so. This resistance to changing the pardon law suggests that Republicans themselves acknowledge the possibility of Trump’s conviction.

Georgia Republicans Reject Calls to Change Pardon Law for Trump

Top Georgia Republicans have rejected a call from Trump’s allies to change the state’s pardon law so that if convicted, the former president could be easily pardoned. Despite the pressure campaign by his supporters, the reaction of top Republicans has been dismissive of changing the state’s pardon law for Trump.

Comparison to conspiracy theories

Governor Brian Kemp’s adviser, Cody Hall, compared the current pressure campaign to change the pardon law with the conspiracy theories that dominated pro-Trump circles during the last presidential election. He pointed out the familiarity of the situation, asking where he had heard of special sessions, changing laws, and overturning constitutional precedent before. Hall’s remark suggests that the push to change the pardon law is reminiscent of the attempts to overturn the election results, which ultimately led to Republicans losing two Senate runoffs in January 2021. By drawing this comparison, Hall highlights the potential risks and uncertainties associated with such a drastic change in the law.

Dismissal of the idea

A top deputy to House Speaker Jon Burns, Kaleb McMichen, also dismissed the idea of changing the pardon law. He cited the political makeup of the General Assembly, indicating that an amendment to the law would not be feasible and therefore not merit consideration. McMichen’s response suggests that the current political climate and the dynamics within the General Assembly do not favor a change in the pardon law. This further dampens the hopes of Trump’s allies for an easy path to pardon if he were to be convicted.

Feasibility of amendment

To understand the unlikelihood of changing Georgia’s pardon law, it’s essential to grasp the origins and requirements for making amendments. The Georgia pardon law was implemented in the 1940s through a constitutional amendment. This was done in response to a governor who was indicted on allegations of selling pardons. Any changes to the pardon law would require a 2/3 vote from the legislature and the majority of voters approving a change to the state’s constitution. These stringent requirements reflect the intention to ensure that the pardoning process remains fair, transparent, and free from abuse of power. Given the high threshold for amending the law, it becomes clear why top Georgia Republicans consider the possibility of changing it to be highly unlikely.

Absence of evidence for gubernatorial pardon

Even if Governor Brian Kemp had the power to pardon Trump, there is zero evidence to suggest that he would exercise this authority. Kemp and Trump have had a strained relationship since the 2020 election, and it is well-known that the governor is not a staunch ally of the former president. Their clashes over the election results and subsequent events have only widened the divide between them. Consequently, the absence of evidence for a gubernatorial pardon supports the argument that any calls to change the pardon law for Trump’s benefit are founded more on desperation than practicality.

Conflict between Kemp and Trump

The strained relationship between Kemp and Trump further solidifies the unlikelihood of a pardon for the former president. The disagreements and clashes between the two political figures have been ongoing since the 2020 election. Trump has repeatedly criticized Kemp for not doing more to overturn the election results in Georgia. In response, Kemp has stood his ground and affirmed the integrity of Georgia’s election process. This conflict and lack of alignment between the governor and Trump have further diminished the chances of a potential pardon from Kemp, even if the pardon law were to be changed.

Desperation Among Georgia MAGAs

The Georgia MAGAs, Trump’s ardent supporters in the state, are growing increasingly desperate. The calls to change the pardon law reflect their concerns about Trump potentially facing conviction. Desperation has led some Georgia MAGAs to even consider impeaching Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. This escalating desperation among Trump’s supporters demonstrates their fear and uncertainty regarding the outcome of any potential legal proceedings against the former president. It also highlights the gravity of the situation, with the possibility of Trump being convicted becoming a real concern for his most vocal supporters.

Implication of Trump’s potential conviction

The very notion of changing the pardon law implies a lack of confidence in Trump’s innocence. If there were no doubts about his guilt or the likelihood of conviction, there would be no need to consider such a drastic measure. The fact that Trump’s allies are advocating for a change in the pardon law suggests that they believe he has a good chance of being convicted. This perception among Republicans further substantiates the seriousness of the legal situation that Trump may find himself in.

In conclusion, the top Georgia Republicans’ rejection of calls to change the pardon law for Trump stems from a combination of factors. The comparison to conspiracy theories, the dismissal of the idea, the unlikelihood of amending the law, the absence of evidence for a gubernatorial pardon, the conflict between Kemp and Trump, the desperation among Georgia MAGAs, and the implication of Trump’s potential conviction all contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the situation. While Trump’s allies may continue to push for changes, it is evident that the path to an easily obtainable pardon for the former president is riddled with obstacles and highly improbable.