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September 8, 1974: a disturbing precedent

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From the text of Proclamation 4311, the actual pardon:

Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9,1974.

Ford's unconditional pardon of Nixon's actions as president set a dangerous and disturbing precedent.