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Analysis: What the most epic pardon of all time tells us about Trump

September 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Forty-six years ago this month, President Gerald Ford made one of the most controversial announcements in American political history: He pardoned Richard Nixon.

(CNN)Forty-six years ago this month, President Gerald Ford made one of the most controversial announcements in American political history: He pardoned Richard Nixon.

One of the few men to become president without ever being elected to the job, Ford had been House Minority Leader when he took over for Nixon's disgraced vice president Spiro Agnew in 1973.

When Nixon himself resigned the following year from the Watergate scandal, Ford ascended to the presidency.

"Nixon had been guilty of obstruction of justice (and) abuse of power, causing the American people to have no respect for him or respect for the office of the presidency," said Barbara A.

Perry, presidential studies director at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, in the CNN Original Series "Race for the White House. " That left Ford with the challenge of not only rebuilding the nation's trust but also figuring out what to do about his predecessor: bring charges or grant a pardon.

Ford "felt that America needed recovery, not revenge," the President's son Steven said in the CNN series.

But the public didn't like the taint of Watergate or the pardon, and it damaged Ford politically.

"Ford, who had been at around 70% approval, plummeted some 30 points in the polls almost immediately," political commentator Pat Buchanan said in "Race for the White House. " "It was one of the worst blows to hit any presidency in my lifetime. "

And within a month, the country watched their new President Ford grant Nixon a "full, free and absolute" presidential pardon.

If you want to know why President Donald Trump seems to think he's literally above the law, start here with the most epic pardon of all time.

On Instagram, I posted some excerpts from the speech, which I found at the Ford presidential library website, along with Nixon's statement of apology to the country and thanks to Ford after the pardon.

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