Ramaswamy says he would pardon Trump despite new charges

Vivek Ramaswamy, GOP candidate for US Presidential primaries being interviewed. PHOTO: Twitter @VivekRamaswamy

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said that if elected, he would still pardon Donald Trump despite a new indictment charging the former president with additional crimes related to his alleged hoarding and hiding of classified documents.

“I would pardon him,” Ramaswamy, a technology entrepreneur, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Justice Department investigation of Trump is “clearly a politicized prosecution,” he said. Ramaswamy said pardoning Trump would be a way to “put the grievances of the past behind us.”

The GOP contender reiterated his stance even after special counsel Jack Smith last week added three fresh charges against Trump, bringing the total number of charges against him in the documents case to 40. The new counts accuse Trump of working with his employees to delete security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, so that it could not be reviewed by investigators, as well as willfully retaining national defense information.

Ramaswamy suggested the alleged attempt to destroy the security footage was a “process crime” that shouldn’t be pursued by the government. It’s unclear whether Ramaswamy believes that Trump could have worked to destroy the footage.

“That is by definition a process crime, a crime that would not have existed, but for the existence of an investigation,” Ramaswamy said. “I think that our general norm in our Justice Department is you should not convict somebody of a process crime when there was no actual underlying crime. I think that’s a major problem.”

Trump denied deleting the tapes – a charge that was never lodged by prosecutors, who said only that such a move was discussed – in a post on Truth Social on Sunday morning.


Ramaswamy’s defense of Trump was not echoed by other GOP 2024 contenders, and none of them went as far as to proclaim they would pardon him if he is convicted of any crimes.

Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley toed the same line of many Republicans lagging behind Trump in the presidential polls: careful criticism of Trump, along with slamming the Justice Department for going after the former president.

“If these accusations are true, it’s incredibly dangerous to our national security. But again, this is coming down from a Department of Justice that, frankly, the American people don’t trust,” Haley said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

She suggested she also might pardon Trump, though she didn’t explicitly state it.

“What I’ve said is if he is found guilty, that is certainly showing that it was dangerous to our national security. But I’ll take you back to Nixon and Ford. I mean, I think that one of the things we have to look at is not what’s in the best interest of, you know, the president, but what’s in the best interests of the country,” she said. President Gerald Ford pardoned former president Richard M. Nixon for his Watergate activities after Nixon resigned in the face of near-certain impeachment.

“We have to move forward. We’ve got to quit living in the past. And I don’t want there to be all of this division over the fact that we have a president serving years in jail over a documents trial. I want all of this to go away,” Haley added.

Asa Hutchison, a former Arkansas governor also running for president in 2024, said talk of pardoning Trump was inappropriate.

“That should not be any discussion during a presidential campaign. You don’t put pardons out there to garner votes. That is premature. … Anybody who promises pardons during a presidential campaign is not serving our system of justice well, and it’s inappropriate,” he said, also on “Face the Nation.”

Some Republicans used sharper language to describe the legal imbroglio faced by Trump.

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who is mounting his own bid for the Republican nomination, said the alleged actions of Trump and two of his aides made him think of the mafia family famously depicted in “The Godfather.”

“These guys were acting like the Corleones with no experience,” Christie said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to the alleged attempt to delete security footage. “This is bad stuff.”

Christie highlighted the ongoing legal investigations into Trump – some of which have resulted so far in charges – as a problem for Trump’s political hopes, despite the fact that he continues to lead by large margins in public polling.

“It is most likely that by the time we get on the debate stage on Aug. 23, the front-runner will be out on bail in four different jurisdictions Florida, Washington, Georgia and New York. … This is a guy who’s putting himself before the country. You can’t put America first with Donald Trump because it’s Trump first,” Christie said.

Christie said small donors were being fleeced to pay for a “billionaire’s legal fees” after it was revealed that Trump’s PAC, Save America, is expected to disclose $40.2 million in legal spending during the first half of 2023.

Trump “is not enough of a stand-up person with his wealth and his big private 737 plane and all the rest that he has in Mar-a-Lago and the Trump Tower,” Christie argued. “And he’s making regular Americans pay his legal fees. It’s outrageous. It’s beneath the job that he seeks to hold.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R), a prominent Trump critic who has opted not to run in 2024, said he was in the audience for the former president’s speech in Iowa over the weekend and found it “absolutely dead.”

“This is not the Donald Trump of 2016,” Sununu said on ABC’s “This Week. “He doesn’t have the energy; he doesn’t have the fastball.”

Sununu downplayed the impact of Trump’s increasing legal entanglements. “The average voter right now just considers them all to be politically driven,” Sununu said. The Justice Department is “allowing Donald Trump to play this victim card very, very well.”

But Trump’s long-term prospects are dim, Sununu predicted. If Trump becomes the Republican nominee, Sununu said he would lose in November 2024. Trump “can get the nomination,” Sununu said, “but he can’t actually close the deal against [Joe] Biden.”



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