The president should reaffirm the historically close relationship between the pardon power and the justice system, restructured so that each may once again usefully inform the other’s operation.
The president would be well-advised not to issue any preemptive pardons, and a potential recipient well-advised not to accept one.
It's time to ask some basic questions about what if any role the pardon power should play in the ordinary operation of the federal justice system.
On May 18, the New York Times reported that President Trump has set in motion a process for obtaining advice from the Department of Justice about how to proceed in issuing pardons to several military service members charged with or convicted of war crimes. Specifically, the White House reportedly contacted the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which in turn contacted the relevant military branches for information about the cases—presumably to prepare a recommendation for or against pardons.