“Trump showed us [that] shamelessness in a president can be really empowering,” Jack Goldsmith, who was assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush, told me. “A future president of the left or the right could learn from him — and, being more competent in wielding executive power, could do much greater damage.”
Goldsmith and Robert F. Bauer, a former counsel to President Obama, have jointly produced a long list of reforms they hope Congress and the Biden administration will take up.
Their suggestions include prohibiting future presidents from pardoning themselves and making it clear that a president who dangles pardons before potential witnesses can be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, a question that is unsettled under current law.
Some of their proposals have already been embraced. President-elect Joe Biden has already said he will prohibit White House aides from attempting to influence Justice Department investigations and will give the department’s inspector general full power to investigate any violations.