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Trump ‘won’t pardon himself or family’, says Fox News

Outgoing president is expected to announce up to 100 pardons this week

Gustaf Kilander
Monday 18 January 2021 21:18 GMT
Grieving congressman leads push to impeach Trump
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President Trump is not expected to issue pardons for himself or his family, according to Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts. 

White House aides and lawyers have reportedly urged the president not to try to pardon himself or to issue preemptive pardons for members of his family, fearing that it might lead to more Republican Senators to vote to convict Mr Trump in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.  

No president has tried to pardon themselves while in office. 

Mr Trump has already issued a pardon for one member of his extended family, Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, but reporting suggests that he will not issue preemptive pardons for himself or his kids, despite the danger that some of them, including Mr Trump himself, may be in legal jeopardy after he leaves office. 

The Independent reported earlier that Mr Trump is planning to dole out up to 100 pardons and commutations of sentences, which could include some white-collar criminals, in the hours he has remaining in the White House before president-elect Joe Biden assumes office.

Trump news - live: President ‘won’t pardon himself or family’, as fire near Capitol disrupts inauguration prep

New York prosecutors are grinding away at an investigation into Mr Trump’s business dealings that could shadow him long after he leaves office. 

The probe led by the Manhattan District Attorney is one of several legal entanglements likely to intensify when Mr Trump loses power, and immunity from prosecution, upon leaving the White House.

Mr Trump faces two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. Two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him. Some Democrats are calling for the revival of a federal campaign finance investigation that appeared to end under former Attorney General Bill Barr.

Mr Trump has said that he has the “absolute right” to pardon himself for any federal offences, but the concept remains untested because no president has ever attempted to do so. A 1974 Justice Department opinion said presidents could not pardon themselves because that would violate the “fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case".

Trump has used his pardon power to help out friends and high-profile defendants in the past, commuting the sentence of longtime friend Roger Stone in July and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in February.

According to White House reporter Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post, Mr Trump is “fixated” on getting revenge on the ten Republicans in the House who voted to impeach him and he is talking about pardons “nonstop," while also baselessly claiming to advisors that he won the election. 

The New York Times reported that allies of the president have raked in tens of thousands of dollars to from those seeking pardons from the president. In one instance, a former top adviser on the Trump campaign was paid $50,000 to try to get a pardon for John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer convicted of releasing classified information. 

The president has been advised to not pardon anyone involved in the riots on the US Capitol even as some accused of being present have called on Mr Trump to do so.

Both Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are set to leave the White House with the lowest approval ratings of their time at the helm. 34 per cent of Americans approve of the job Mr Trump is doing, while Melania Trump’s favourable rating is at 42 per cent, according to CNN. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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