Trump has told aides he wants to pardon himself, reports claim

Calls for president to be removed from office grow as report says he fears probes from incoming administration

Chris Riotta
New York
Thursday 07 January 2021 21:41 GMT
‘Violence never wins’: Pence condemns Capitol riot

President Donald Trump has suggested to close aides he plans to pardon himself in the final days of his White House administration, according to a new report, amid calls for his removal from the Oval Office.

The news comes as Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike rebuked the president’s conduct during pro-Trump extremist riots which targeted the Capitol during the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 elections on Wednesday. 

Mr Trump has specifically asked about the legal implications of giving himself a presidential pardon before leaving the White House, the New York Times reported, speaking with aides about the issue in the weeks since his electoral defeat. 

The president has also reportedly considered issuing pardons to his family members, including Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr, as well as aides like Jared Kushner and his personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. 

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Mr Trump suggested to advisers he was concerned about the incoming administration potentially investigating his family for criminal wrongdoing, according to the New York Times report.

Previous reports have also indicated the president discussed pardons for himself and others in the weeks ahead of the election, though it remains unclear whether it would be constitutional for him to do so. 

A legal debate has ensued among constitutional scholars in recent weeks about whether a president can in fact pardon themselves, which has never been done before. 

But Democrats have already called for the president to face immediate repercussions, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi both calling for the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment while threatening a second impeachment process. 

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president," said Mr Schumer in a statement. "This president should not hold office one day longer."

“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the vice president to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment,” he said. “If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president."

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