content-header__row content-header__hed” data-testid=”ContentHeaderHed”>Is Trump Going to Preemptively Pardon His Entire Family, Just in Case?As long as Trump’s just giving them out, Rudy Giuliani would also like one.
December 1, 2020
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One of the reasons Donald Trump probably doesn‘t want to concede the election to Joe Biden, besides that he’s physically incapable of admitting he’s ever lost anything, is that he’s terrified about not being president anymore. Not because he likes the actual work of being president, which he clearly does not, but because being president, among other things, has thus far spared him from criminal prosecutions that could ultimately land him in jail. Not surprisingly, he’s reportedly asked if he can pardon himself and has also inquired about the concept of “preemptively“ pardon people, as sort of a catchall for any past, present, or future crimes he might commit. And if he’s going to be out there just doling out pardons for anybody, some of his closest friends and lawyers would apparently like to get in on that action.
The New York Times reports that Rudy Giuliani has “discussed with [the president] as recently as last week the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon before Mr. Trump leaves office,” according to two people familiar with the discussion. It’s not clear if Giuliani, whose never-ending fall from grace has included a batshit-crazy press conference in which brown hair dye cascaded down his face and played an unwitting role in a Sacha Baron Cohen movie featuring his hands down his pants, is worried about one potential prosecution in particular or just wants to cover all possible bases.
Mr. Giuliani’s potential criminal exposure is unclear. He was under investigation as recently as this summer by federal prosecutors in Manhattan for his business dealings in Ukraine and his role in ousting the American ambassador there, a plot that was at the heart of the impeachment of Mr. Trump.
Such a broad pardon pre-empting any charge or conviction is highly unusual but does have precedent. In the most famous example, Gerald R. Ford pardoned Richard M. Nixon for all of his actions as president. George Washington pardoned plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, shielding them from treason prosecutions. Jimmy Carter pardoned thousands of American men who illegally avoided the draft for the Vietnam War.
According to one of the people familiar with the discussion, Trump has not indicated what he’ll do. Christianné Allen, spokeswoman for the ex-mayor, told the Times, Giuliani “cannot comment on any discussions that he has with his client.” Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, said: “He’s not concerned about this investigation, because he didn’t do anything wrong, and that’s been our position from Day 1.”
Meanwhile, Rudy isn’t the only one apparently hoping for a favor from on high. Other recipients could include former campaign advisers Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort, campaign fundraiser Elliott Broidy, Jared Kushner’s dad, Charles Kushner, and Julian Assange, the latter of whom did Trump a solid by dumping the DNC’s hacked emails in 2016.
And then, of course, there are the adult children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. (Tiffany, sadly, never seems to be included in that group). On Monday, after Trump pardoned disgraced former national security adviser Mike Flynn, Sean Hannity urged the president to issue all-inclusive pardons for both himself and all of his family members before Biden is sworn in. Claiming that the Biden administration is being encouraged to prosecute Trump for crimes committed while he was president, Hannity told attorney and crazed conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell “the president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself because they want this witch hunt to go on in perpetuity, they’re so full of rage and insanity against the president.”
“I assume the power of the pardon is absolute and that he should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to?” Hannity asked Powell. “It is absolute, it’s in the Constitution,” she said, noting that she wasn’t sure about Trump’s “authority to pardon himself.” Then she remembered she thinks the election was stolen from Trump by the ghost of Hugo Chávez and quickly added that a self-pardon “should not be necessary” because Trump is “going to get another four years in office to finish the job he started.”