Trump 'discusses pardons for Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr'

Trump ‘discussed pardons for Ivanka, Eric, Don Jr, Jared Kushner and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani because he’s worried Biden administration may seek retribution against him by targeting them’

  • Trump has reportedly been in talks with his advisers about pardons for his kids  
  • The president is concerned that a Biden administration may seek retribution against Eric, Ivanka and Don Jr as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner 
  • Sources claim he is also in talks about a pardon for his lawyer Rudy Giuliani  
  • It was reported earlier on Tuesday that Trump and Giuliani discussed it last week

President Donald Trump has reportedly been in talks with his advisers about pardons for his children Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

According to the New York Times, the president is worried that a Biden administration may seek retribution against him by targeting the oldest of his five children. 

However, presidential pardons do not provide protection against state or local crimes. The president reportedly asked aides if he has the right to pardon himself and family members and has even asked if he could issue pardons pre-emptively for things people could be charged with in the future.

Don Jr had been under investigation for contacts that he had with Russians offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. 

He was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller but he was never charged.

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President Donald Trump has reportedly been in talks with his advisers about pardons for his children Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani

Trump would have the right to pardon any family members as he sees fit. Above, (From R) Barron Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump, Tiffany Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Michael Boulos

According to the Times, Kushner provided false information to federal authorities about his contacts with foreigners for his security clearance. Despite that, he was given a security clearance anyway. 

It’s unclear why Trump is concerned about potential criminal exposure of Eric or Ivanka.

But, the Times reported that a probe by the Manhattan district attorney into the Trump Organization is now including tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which appear to have gone to Ivanka. 

Earlier on Tuesday it was reported that, Giulani discussed a preemptive pardon for himself with Trump, while arguing he can overturn the results of an ‘illegitimate election’. 

The former New York mayor has been the most vocal and out-front defender of Trump’s unsubstantiated charges of election fraud, seeking to persuade numerous states that went for Joe Biden to overturn their results.

It’s unclear who brought up the idea, but their discussion took place last week, sources told the Times.  

On the day before Thanksgiving, Trump pardoned former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russia contacts, then sought to withdraw the plea in court. 

Giuliani has reportedly been under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York over his work in Ukraine, which became the heart of Trump’s impeachment.

The impeachment revealed efforts by Giuliani and his associates to push out the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. 

President Donald Trump is said to have been asked by his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for a pre-emptive pardon 

Draft documents revealed last year show Giuliani seeking to have Ukrainian government officials pay substantial fees to his consulting firm, although there is no evidence the deals went through. 

Giuliani denied the report on Twitter. ‘#FakeNews NYT lies again. Never had the discussion they falsely attribute to an anonymous source. Hard to keep up with all their lies,’ he wrote.

He represented Trump pro bono in his efforts to defend against the Democratic-led impeachment. 

The Times previously reported Giuliani is being paid $20,000 per day in his election defense, although he has denied that figure. 

On Monday, Giuliani associate Lev Parnas pleaded not guilty to defrauding in investors through the Florida-based company he set up, called Fraud Guarantee.

The Ukraine-born Parnas assisted Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine. 

Parnas tweeted Tuesday ‘Pardons were always discussed in the #TrumpCult. The question is will you accept one? Innocent people don’t need a pardon.’

US intelligence alerted the White House last year that a Russian intelligence officer was seeking to feed disinformation to Giuliani in his efforts to uncover information in Ukraine. 

There is precedent for presidents using their virtually limitless pardon power preemptively.

Gerald Ford famously preemptively pardoned Richard Nixon, and paid a political price for it.

There has also been talk in legal circles about whether Trump could seek to issue a self-pardon in order to wipe away potential legal exposure for himself. Even if it were upheld, Trump could still be subject to prosecution in state courts. New York investigators have already been investigating alleged possible insurance and financial fraud. 

Giuliani was in Arizona on Monday attending a Republican-led hearing-style event where he laid out broad claims of election fraud even as the state’s Republican governor certified the results for Biden. 

A full pardon preempts any punishment for an act, but also constitutes an effective admission of guilt. Trump’s pardon for Flynn offered a far-reaching assurance against prosecution.

In pardoning his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, President Trump granted him broad protection against any future charges of perjury, which an outside counsel argued Flynn’s attempt to change his plea amounted to

The text of President Trump’s November 25 pardon of Flynn was revealed Monday as prosecutors moved to have the case dropped as moot

The move by Giuliani came as Fox News host Sean Hannity suggested Trump should pardon himself and his family before leaving the White House in January. 

The suggestion was made on Hannity’s Fox News radio show on Monday while discussing how Trump last week announced a full pardon for his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Speaking to former Trump attorney Sidney Powell – fired from Trump’s ‘elite strike force’ legal team when her conspiracy theories went to far even for the president – Hannity suggested that the president needed to protect himself from future legal investigations in order to protect himself from the incoming Biden administration.

Hannity said that Biden was being publicly encouraged to investigate and prosecute Trump for any criminal misconduct while he was president.

‘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,’ Hannity said.

‘I mean, I assume that the power of the pardon is absolute, and that he should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to?’   

‘It is absolute it’s in the Constitution,’ Powell confirmed. 

Powell, who has been key to pushing an election conspiracy that corrupt voting machines stole the election from Trump, then added that she did not know about Trump’s ‘authority to pardon himself’.

Powell then went on to suggest that such a pardon should not be necessary because ‘the president is going to get another four years in office to finish the job he started because the election fraud we’re uncovering is massive’.

Trump’s pardon on Wednesday of Flynn kicked off speculation that a string of pardons could be next – including for the president and his family. 

The president has granted clemency to supporters before, most notably earlier this year when he commuted the criminal sentence of Roger Stone, who was sentenced to prison after being convicted of lying under oath to lawmakers.

In 2018, Trump even said he had the ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself – a claim many constitutional law scholars dispute.

After he pardoned Flynn, Trump shared a tweet on Wednesday from Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, one of his closest allies on Capitol Hill, who said the president should also consider a pardon for himself.

‘President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to,’ Gaetz wrote. 

THE POWER OF THE PARDON…

ARE THERE LIMITS ON TRUMP’S PARDON POWER?

The pardon power, which comes from the U.S. Constitution, is one of the broadest available to a president. The nation’s founders saw the pardon power as a way to show mercy and serve the public good.

While pardons are typically given to people who have been prosecuted, pardons can cover conduct that has not yet resulted in legal proceedings.

A pardon is not reviewable by other branches of government and the president does not have to give a reason for issuing one.

A pardon wipes out a criminal conviction. A different form of executive clemency, known as a commutation, leaves the conviction intact but wipes out the punishment.

Trump’s pardon of his former national security adviser General Michael Flynn set off a flurry of speculations of who could be next

But the pardon power is not absolute. Crucially, a pardon only applies to federal crimes. That means pardons would not, for example, protect Trump associates from the criminal investigation being conducted by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a state prosecutor.

Vance’s probe, which began more than two years ago, stemmed from hush money payments that the president´s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid before the 2016 election to two women – an adult-film star and a former Playboy model – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump. Trump has denied the encounters and has said the probe is politically motivated.

The district attorney has suggested in court filings that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records. It is unclear what stage the investigation is at. No one has been charged with criminal wrongdoing.

COULD TRUMP PARDON HIS FAMILY MEMBERS?

Yes. It is legal for Trump to pardon his inner circle, including members of his family.

There is speculation he could pardon Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s father, who was prosecuted more than a decade ago by then-US Attorney Chris Christie. 

There is speculation Trump could pardon Charles Kushner, his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s father, above Josh Kushner, Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner at a party in New York in 2014

It’s unclear if Trump would pardon any of his adult children – Don Jr. and Eric took over the reins of the Trump Organization after their father was elected president – and what that would imply.

Last month, Eric Trump sat for a deposition as part of an investigation from New York Attorney General Letitia James into whether the Trump Organization inflated the value of Trump’s assets. 

But President Trump can’t issue pardons for state investigations – only federal. There is speculation the Justice Department – under President Joe Biden – could go after Trump and his family over their business dealings and their taxes.

Biden told NBC’s Lester Holt he would not push his own Justice Department to go after Trump, with some Democrats calling for probes. 

‘I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,’ he said.

In 2001, former President Bill Clinton pardoned his own brother, Roger, who was convicted for cocaine possession in Arkansas.

Clinton pardoned about 450 people, including a Democratic Party donor, Marc Rich, who fled the country because of tax evasion charges.

CAN TRUMP PARDON HIMSELF?

There is not a definitive answer to this question. No president has tried it before, so the courts have not weighed in.

‘When people ask me if a president can pardon himself, my answer is always, ‘Well, he can try,” said Brian Kalt, a constitutional law professor at Michigan State University. ‘The Constitution does not provide a clear answer on this.’

Many legal experts have said that a self-pardon would be unconstitutional because it violates the basic principle that nobody should be the judge in his or her own case. Kalt said that, in his view, was the stronger argument.

President Trump retweeted this missive from Rep. Matt Gaetz on presidential pardons

Trump could try to pardon himself preemptively to cover the possibility of prosecution after he leaves office.

In that case, the pardon’s legitimacy might never be tested in court, said Kalt. For a court to rule on the pardon’s validity, a federal prosecutor would have to charge Trump with a crime and then Trump would have to raise the pardon as a defense, he said.

COULD THE VICE PRESIDENT TAKE OVER AND PARDON TRUMP?

In a 1974 memorandum, a Justice Department lawyer said President Richard Nixon could not pardon himself but that another option was constitutional: that he temporarily step down, receive a pardon from his vice president and then regain power.

In order to do that, Nixon would have had to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which allows an incapacitated president to temporarily step down.

Nixon ultimately resigned in the face of the Watergate scandal and almost certain impeachment and removal from office. His successor, Gerald Ford, later pardoned Nixon for any federal crimes he committed or might have committed while in office.

It is not clear what Vice President Mike Pence would have to gain from agreeing to pardon Trump, said Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University.

‘I don’t think Pence would want that to define his legacy,’ Brettschneider said.

Before his pardon of Flynn, Trump had granted 28 pardons, which wipe out convictions, and 16 commutations, which reduce prison sentences.

Many of those who benefited are those associated with Trump, including Roger Stone, who 40 month prison sentence was commuted by the president; conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who was pardoned by Trump after being convicted of an illegal campaign contribution in a Senate race; and Wall Street executive Michael Milken, who was pardoned by Trump after being convicted of violating U.S. securities laws. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pushed for Milken’s pardon.

Trump also commuted the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was found guilty of public corruption after he attempted to solicit bribes to occupy the U.S. Senate seat vacated by then president-elect Barack Obama; and Scooter Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was caught up in the Valerie Plame scandal.

Any further pardons would likely draw the scrutiny of Democrats, who criticized Trump for his pardon of Flynn. 

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