President Donald Trump plans to begin handing out pardons “like Christmas gifts,” even to people who haven’t requested them, according to a report from Axios, though it remains unclear if he will attempt to pardon himself:
“Trump recently told one adviser he was going to pardon ‘every person who ever talked to me,’ suggesting an even larger pardon blitz to come. As with most Trump conversations, the adviser wasn’t sure how seriously to take the president — although Trump gave no indication he was joking.”
Trump has even begun asking friends and White House aides who they think he should pardon, even going so far as to interject during conversations that he may pardon the person he’s speaking with:
“Trump has also interrupted conversations to spontaneously suggest that he add the person he’s speaking with to his pardon list, these sources said.”
- The offers haven’t always been welcome.
- One source felt awkward because the president was clearly trying to be helpful but the adviser didn’t believe they had committed any crimes.
- The adviser also believed being on the list could hurt their public persona.
When the president announced the pardon of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, late last month, many believe it signaled that the last days of Trump’s administration would be spent on pardons and commutations, including the possibility of preemptive pardons for members of his family and close friends who face possible criminal liability for their actions and business dealings.
Despite Trump’s suggestions that he intends to pardon just about everyone he knows, legal advisers in the administration are reportedly vetting all requests:
“White House attorneys are working through a more traditional process, even if it doesn’t cover every person Trump has discussed, a source familiar with the process said.”
What remains unclear is whether or not Trump will attempt to pardon himself, which may not even be legal. Since no president has ever issued a self-pardon, the matter has never been litigated. If he does, however, it’s safe to expect the matter will eventually wind up before the Supreme Court.
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