Donald Trump has been using the presidential power of the pardon in targeted ways. Scooter LIbby, who has been pardoned, and Martha Stewart, who he has indicated a willingness to pardon, were both convicted of lying to the FBI. He has issued a pardon to Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of campaign finance violations. There has been mention of a pardon for Rod Blagojevich, who is serving time for public corruption.
All of these crimes have relevance to the investigation Robert Mueller is conducting into the Trump campaign. There is every likelihood that Trump is sending a message to those who are in Mueller’s cross-hairs: don’t worry, lie if you want to, I’ve got your back.
That’s one side of the crisis: Trump using kingly powers to further his various schemes.
The other side of the crisis is this: the oligarchy is not unanimous on its goals or methods. Trump faces strong opposition from within his own class. There are many who have no problem with shady enterprises, when it benefits them, but have other plans than Trump’s. There are even a few who believe in the rule of law and the current structure and don’t want to see it dismantled.
Either way, Trump is already receiving pushback, even from within his own party. Being Trump he will push the limits, and the pushback will intensify. I can’t predict what course it will take. They may even come to an accommodation, although it seems the Big Deal Maker isn’t very good at that sort of thing.
If they can’t rein him in, it could get very messy.