Here’s where Mariotti was undeniably, indisputably – and I might add, deliciously – correct. President or not, Donald Trump has no power whatsoever to pardon his son for a state-level crime. If, as Mariotti helpfully cited, a New York prosecutor were to prove that Don Jr. solicited, accepted, or received a bribe upon an agreement that his father will or may be appointed to public office, the president would be powerless to save his son.
If New York or any other state were to prosecute the First Son, it could also request material presented before Mueller’s grand jury. Normally, the secrecy of grand jury proceedings is sacrosanct, but for a state prosecution following a federal prosecution stifled by a pardon, that info would be up for grabs. Talk about some legal maneuvering. Unlike the president himself, Trump Jr. would have no viable argument for immunity of any kind, and the prosecution would certainly proceed. It’ll be a tough lesson for the Trumps, who aren’t likely to be such big fans of federalism when it functions outside the ambit of gun or abortion laws.