As Donald Trump’s presidency comes to an end, so too reportedly begins the process of pardoning those closest to him should any legal prosecutions be brought against them in the future.
According to a report in the New York Times, the president is looking at issuing 'pre-emptive pardons’ for some of his top brass and closest associates including Rudy Giuliani, who is said to have already “discussed with [the president] as recently as last week the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon before Mr. Trump leaves office.”
Quite what Giuliani wants to be pardoned for is unclear, although we’d be certain that he’d like everyone to forget his embarrassing encounter with Borat and the time that his hair dye started leaking down his face in an unhinged press conference. Vanity Fair reports that Guiliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello has said: "He’s not concerned about this investigation, because he didn’t do anything wrong, and that’s been our position from Day 1."
That being said, why Trump would be seeking to offer pardons to his family members, Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump, as well as Jared Kushner is even more unclear. The Times does state that Trump Jr and Kushner have both been investigated by federal authorities in the past.
Trump Jr was investigated as part of Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe but wasn’t charged with anything. Meanwhile, on Kushner, the Times reports “Mr. Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance, but was given one anyway by the president.”
Quite why the president would seek to pardon Ivanka and Eric is also confusing as there seems to be not criminal links to their activities at all but the Times does report that the Manhattan district attorney has been investigating the Trump Organisation. The report states: “The nature of Mr. Trump’s concern about any potential criminal exposure of Eric Trump or Ivanka Trump is unclear, although an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization has expanded to include tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees by the company, some of which appear to have gone to Ms. Trump.”
The Washington Post reports that others who could be in line for a pardon from Trump include his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, former strategist, Steve Bannon, former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, Jared Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, and even the likes of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.
Trump has already pardoned his disgraced former national security adviser Mike Flynn and has been encouraged by Fox News’ Sean Hannity to issue more pardons to both himself and his family in case the incoming Biden administration seeks to prosecute Trump for any crimes he might have committed during his time in the White House.
Sean Hannity: "The president out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself, because they want this witc… https://t.co/g9XVJQUVeD
Despite calls from Democrats for the new Department of Justice to investigate the Trump administration, president-elect Biden has insisted that he will not tred the same path as his predecessor and use pressure the DOJ into any sort of action. Speaking last week on NBC, Biden said “I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen. There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about that are at a state level. There’s nothing at all I can or cannot do about that.”
A mass amount of pardons from a president is considered to be highly irregular but Trump wouldn’t be the first person to pardon high-profile individuals. George Washington pardoned the plotters of the Whiskey Rebellion, a tax protest that lasted from 1791 to 1794 and Jimmy Carter also pardoned thousands of American’s who dodged the draft for the Vietnam War. The most notable case of a pardoning was when Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for his actions during his presidency and the Watergate scandal, a decision that would tarnish Ford’s presidency.