Stories

Facts Matter

How President Trump's pardon power works

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

President Trump has pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio, noting his record of public service and calling him a "worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon."

Why it matters:

Granting pardons has historically been an unpopular move — it derailed Gerald Ford's reelection bid in 1976 — and it often opens the door for a president's motives to be called into question. But President Trump has spoken openly, and early on, about his power to grant pardons, seemingly without concern for whether it will damage his reputation. Last month, he reportedly asked his legal team whether he could pardon aides, family members, and even himself if implicated in Special Counsel Bob Mueller's Russian investigation; and now he's issued his first pardon, just 7 months into his presidency.