WASHINGTON, D.C. – A recently released White House aide, speaking on condition of anonymity Monday, provided internal White House memos to the Associated Press detailing the Obama Administration’s proposed plan to reveal previously unknown details regarding the president’s citizenship. The memos specifically focus on conversations between President Obama and the Office of White House Counsel. Several of the memos appear to detail preliminary framework and legal advice regarding Obama’s plan to release his Kenyan birth certificate in the final hours of his presidency.
The strategy calls for President Obama to pardon himself under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, after which he is set to reveal, during a televised statement to the nation, that he is a Kenyan citizen. Included in the memos are drafts of the proposed speech in which President Obama says, “Growing up in Kenya, we were very limited in terms of opportunity and personal growth. That’s not to say I don’t have fond memories of my birth nation. My father teaching me to hunt antelope in the bush with a spear or taking part in traditional tribal rituals are a few that come to mind.” The president goes on to speak about his desire for a better life, adding, “I wanted to make a positive difference in the world. The obvious place to do so was here, in the United States of America.”
“This is really big of him,” says NY Times political correspondent Matt Bai. “He’s showing the world the American Dream is achievable for anyone, regardless of nationality. The fact that Obama is waiting until the end of his presidency to announce this shows a level of humility typically unseen in American politics.”
Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution states that POTUS “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” However, some Republican party strategists, including William Schumann, strongly oppose the administration’s proposed tactics, declaring them to be,”petty, unconstitutional, and a blatant disregard of American principles.” Schumann adds, “We’ll fight this action all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to.”
Retired attorney and NBC News legal analyst Chloe Talbot believes that not only is the plan constitutional but justified under the laws of the Constitution. “Self pardon is not restricted by law, and under interpretation by the Supreme Court, a president has the right to pardon himself not only for crimes he has committed but also for crimes with which he has not yet been charged.” Ms. Talbot points out that former presidents, including Richard Nixon during Watergate, and Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, had the opportunity to pardon themselves but chose not to. “Every president has the ability to exercise this right granted to the Executive Office under the U.S. Constitution, and President Obama appears to be the first in U.S. history to do so.” Ms. Talbot adds, “According to the memos the Obama Administration has the backing of the Solicitor General should the case eventually reach the Supreme Court. Obama himself is a student of constitutional law and he’s well aware of the rights afford to him under the Constitution.”
President Obama is scheduled to leave office on Inauguration Day, January 20th, 2017. According to the memos, in his final speech he will take the time to thank his adopted nation for the chance to lead them. “I’m reminded of an old Kenyan proverb, Kutokuwepo hufanya moyo kusahua,” which is Swahili for ‘absence makes the heart forget.’ Obama will finish, in English, saying, “But I could never forget this great country and the opportunity it has afford me to serve it.”