According to The New York Times, ‘speculation about pardon activity at the White House is churning furiously.’
President Donald Trump has reportedly discussed preemptively pardoning his three eldest children, son-in-law Jared Kushner and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
According to The New York Times, “the speculation about pardon activity at the White House is churning furiously, underscoring how much the Trump administration has been dominated by investigations and criminal prosecutions in the president’s orbit.”
The president reportedly fears that under the new administration of President-elect Joe Biden, investigations into the misdeeds of the Trump family could continue and result in federal charges.
It is unclear for what potential crimes the president would be seeking pardons.
Donald Trump Jr. was investigated during the Robert Mueller probe into Russian election tampering but was never charged. Kushner provided false information about foreign contacts, a federal crime, yet obtained his security clearance despite concerns expressed by White House chief of staff and counsel.
The New York Times is also reporting that the state of New York is investigating both Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump for misdeeds at the Trump Organization and the Trump Foundation, respectively.
A presidential pardon would only protect against federal crimes.
Giuliani has not been charged with a crime, but he was investigated this summer by federal prosecutors for his business contacts in Ukraine.
On Monday, Trump supporter and Fox News host Sean Hannity floated the idea of a blanket preemptive pardon.
“The president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch hunt to go on in perpetuity,” he said. “They’re so full of rage and insanity against the president.”
Legal scholars are not in consensus as to whether the president can pardon himself. In 2018, Trump tweeted, “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?”
A preemptive presidential pardon would certainly suggest acknowledgement of guilt, which could also endanger Trump’s alleged 2024 run again for the presidency.
While some Democrats have stated that Trump and his allies should continue to be investigated, Biden has signaled that decision would made by others, and he would not “do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen.”
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