Dear President Trump,
Tomorrow is Christmas. It's been a terrible year. So for a gift, I am hoping you can give us all a Presidential pardon.
Pardon me? That's right. I'd like you to please use your Constitutional power to pardon me for any federal crimes I might ever have committed. I don't believe I've actually committed any, but I'll happily take the pardon anyway.
And while you're at it, sir, please pardon all us Americans? Not just your friends, your family or yourself. Not even just a few hundred or even thousands of worthy reformed felons. But all of us. Every one. We need it.
As you know, sir, the American Constitution says you "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States ...". I noticed that you pardoned 20 people yesterday, including two people who pleaded guilty to crimes revealed by the Mueller Russia investigation, some former US security guards convicted in relation to the killing of civilians in Iraq and three disgraced former Republican Congressmen. Most of the world expects you to pardon your children, your friends and even yourself for any alleged federal crimes. But if you would extend that a bit, and pardon us all, it would actually be to your great benefit. Let me explain:
There is some controversy over whether you can actually pardon yourself. You probably know this better than anyone right now.The argument is that if our Constitution allows unlimited self pardon, it makes the President a King. You could do anything you want and then just pardon yourself. But if you pardon absolutely everyone, you could hardly exclude yourself. You could pardon yourself without pardoning yourself.
It would look a lot better. I realise you are the sort of guy who does what he wants. But do you really want an official document kicking around that says you pardoned your daughter? That won't help her 2028 presidential bid. On the other hand, pardoning everyone would be an act worthy of the greatest presidential showman in American history. No one would talk about Biden or anything else for months. And it would remove much of the obvious self interest from the gesture. In fact, if you word the pardon correctly, you need not even mention Ivanka, Jared, or yourself.
My proposal would also save many billions of dollars, as you would be releasing about 153,000 federal prisoners. You could exclude murders, kidnappers, sex offenders and anyone you disliked.
There is actually strong historical precedent for a universal pardon. While there is no example of self-pardon in British or American sovereign legal history, English kings and queens routinely issued general pardons covering most or all crimes. Magna Carta includes a broad pardon from King John to his revolting barons. Elizabeth I proclaimed multiple general pardons. You are in good company here, sir.
Great American presidents like yourself have also issued some very broad pardons. On Christmas Day 1868, US President Andrew Johnson pardoned "all and ... every person who directly or indirectly participated in the'' Civil War. That was pretty much everyone in the South who wasn't a slave or a Union spy, or about 5.5 million Americans.
George Washington himself issued the first presidential pardon in our history when he pardoned participants in the Whiskey Rebellion. That rebellion, you may recall, broke out in 1791 when American farmers and distillers took up arms rather than pay a liquor tax. It was our first armed insurrection as a nation and paying taxes is something you have clearly fought against all your life.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned virtually everyone who dodged the Vietnam draft. This included as many as 100,000 Americans who fled to Canada rather than serve, plus tens of thousands more who hid in the states or elsewhere.
The Catholic Church once routinely issued pardons and indulgences to expunge people's sins.
In the Hebrew bible, a jubilee every 50 years would free slaves, release prisoners and erase debts. "You shall make the 50th year Holy and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all of its inhabitants," according to Leviticus. "Liberty throughout the land'' sounds like a killer line for one of your rallies.
I realise you may be thinking of resigning late in January so Vice President Pence can assume the office and then pardon you more durably. It would probably work. But do you really trust that guy? I realise this is what happened when Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford pardoned him. But let's just say that Pence's conservative evangelical viewpoint is pretty much in opposition to your entire life-time behaviour. Once he's president, are you sure he'll actually issue the pardon? You never know what will happen when you give someone that kind of power.
For your convenience, I have attached here a sample pardon for you and Rudy Giuliani to review. As you can see, I took Andrew Johnson's Christmas 1868 Pardon of the South:
"I, [Donald Trump], President of the United States, by virtue of the power and authority in me vested by the Constitution, and in the name of the sovereign people of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare unconditionally, and without reservation, to all and to every person ... a full pardon and amnesty for any crimes against the United States ... with restoration of all rights, privileges, and immunities under the Constitution and the laws which have been made in pursuance thereof.''
I realise I have said some pretty nasty things about you and your administration, but I do ask you to seriously consider this idea. It could work for everybody, especially you.
Merry Christmas, Mr President!
• Dick Brass was vice-president of Microsoft and Oracle for almost two decades. His firm Dictronics developed the first modern dictionary-based spell check and he was an editor at the Daily News, NY