Donald Trump’s associates have reportedly started asking for pardons, according a new report.
The ‘lame duck’ POTUS has already kicked off his exiting pardons with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, granting him a ‘full pardon’ after pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents about contact with the Russian ambassador to the US.
Throughout his first and only term, Trump has granted a number of pardons to people with varying reception, from former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to boxer Jack Johnson. However, as his time in the White House comes to a close, it’s been reported that several associates are appealing to the president for pardons.
A source close to the situation told CNN that a number of associates were looking for pardons, including Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, who’s been a key figure in the campaign’s fights against the results of the election. These fights have been to no avail, with no evidence presented in court, and have resulted in dismissed cases and scathing rulings.
While reports of Giuliani have been shared by CNN, The New York Times and ABC News, the former NYC mayor dubbed it to be ‘fake news’. He was under investigation earlier this year regarding business dealings in Ukraine, however the full extent of any potential criminal exposure is unclear.
That also goes for Trump’s eldest three children, Donald Jnr, Eric, and Ivanka, as well as her husband and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. The Times reported that Trump fears the Biden administration would target his offspring, although it’s not entirely clear what type of prosecution they would face.
Donald Jnr had earlier ties to Robert Mueller’s investigation into political collusion with Russia, earlier writing that he’d acted without ‘general knowledge of the illegality of [his] conduct’. He was never charged.
Regarding other pardon talks, one source also told ABC News, ‘We’ve heard from the Tiger King. You wouldn’t believe the amount of calls, some insane, we’ve gotten.’
Preemptive pardons – pardons made before an individual has actually been charged with a crime – are rare, but they are in the president’s power. For example, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all his actions in the White House, and President Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands who avoided the draft for the Vietnam War.
Earlier this week, Fox News host Sean Hannity said, ‘The President out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself… I assume that the power of the pardon is absolute, and that he should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to.’
A presidential self-pardon has never happened before, therefore the legality of it isn’t entirely known. Some argue that it’s unconstitutional as nobody can be the judge in their own case, but Trump tweeted back in 2018, ‘I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?’
He could, in theory, transfer power to Vice President Mike Pence before his term ends, thereby granting him the power to pardon Trump.
Also this week, it was revealed that the Department of Justice is investigating an alleged ‘bribery for pardon’ scheme at the White House, based on no specific names but reports of ‘a substantial political contribution in exchange for a presidential pardon or reprieve of sentence,’ as per The Guardian. Trump also dubbed this ‘fake news’.
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The New York Times