And, no government entity has the power to overrule an authority to which it is Constitutionally subordinate
Virtually the entire Left (and some never-Trumpers from the Right) insist that Trump can’t fire subordinates at the DOJ and FBI investigating him without that equaling obstruction of justice, can’t ignore their subpoenas, can’t pardon himself and can’t reject judicial findings if they rule in favor of plaintiffs who might argue that he can’t do any of those things.
Now if you point out that he actually has the constitutional prerogative to do them all (albeit with political risk) they just shout, “Hey, the President is not above the law” as if that’s the final word on the matter. Are they drunk, high, amnestic or just constitutionally illiterate?
No, Trump is not above the law. However, his position as President gives him certain process rights in latitude under Constitutional law as the head of a Separated Power.
The remedy for when the Supreme Court rules against the Executive and the Executive refuses to comply is addressed through House Impeachment and subsequent Senate Expulsion.
Let’s suppose the House refers Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, and Trump successfully demonstrates in his Senate trial (as it relates to the case surrounding the Russian Probe), that subordinates within his own Separated Powers at the DOJ and FBI tried unsuccessfully to transcend the law themselves under the trappings of officialdom. Then let’s suppose he further shows that the Supreme Court reached beyond its own Separated Powers when trying to uphold their efforts to essentially commit a coup. If he survives that Senate trial, he wins constitutionally and therefore wins legally. The President is the only one with the constitutional leverage to stop a rogue Supreme Court in its tracks.
In short, and this is an impenetrable fact, the final word over the legal fate of the President does not lie with the ruling of the High Court, but rather with the ruling of the Senate. On the gridiron of brinkmanship argument, this reality is unassailable.
In breathless denial, pundits love to bring up “Tricky Dicky.” They say, ‘What about US v Nixon 418 US 683 (1974) and that unanimous Supreme Court decision holding that President Richard Nixon was not above the law and was compelled to turn over subpoenaed evidence?’
What’s easily overlooked is that while the Supreme Court said Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed evidence, that never meant he had actually lost his constitutional option to resist their demand. He just knew that he didn’t possess the support in Congress to survive either House Impeachment or Senate Expulsion if he had.
Trump doesn’t have that same dilemma thanks to the preponderance of leaked and released evidence illustrating the bad-faith politicized acts of the DOJ and FBI surrounding the Russian probe.
Like it or not, the Constitution permits Trump to be as unrestrained as he wants WITHIN his own Separated Powers as the other two Branches (Legislature and Judiciary) are permitted to be within theirs, and this is provably accurate.
We need only look at the process for replacing a Supreme Court justice for this to be unambiguously verified. The Supreme Court and Congress cannot tell the President whom he can nominate; the President and the Supreme Court cannot then tell Congress how it can confirm or reject that nominee; and, the President and Congress cannot then tell that confirmed justice how to rule once on the court.
Let’s imagine groups were to sue the President over his choice in nominee and maybe subsequently also sue the Congress for confirming said nominee because they thought he or she was too egregious to be accepted. Then let us also envision that the Supreme Court were to find for the plaintiffs. The President could tell the Supreme Court to pound salt and the Court would be Constitutionally powerless to leverage compliance with their ruling.
Just as the Court has the unimpeded authority to rule, so the President has the unimpeded authority to resist while the Legislature has the unimpeded authority to expel that President should it determine that he had not carried out his responsibilities properly.
Granted, the example is extreme, but the extreme examples are the ones that best expose the fault lines so as to remove any murkiness that might be used to hide them.
This construct is very much in place on the question of whether or not the President can pardon himself. To understand this, we simply have to follow the process to its completion.
A President can pardon himself from everything BUT Impeachment from the House and Expulsion from the Senate.
However, if he successfully makes his case to the Senate and is NOT Expelled, then his pardon remains in place for when he simply completes his term in office. Thus, no one can come after him years later for whatever alleged offense might have been in focus.