On Tuesday, December 1st, a source close to CNN anonymously revealed that associates of President Trump including personal lawyer Rudi Guiliani and Trump’s children are appealing for preemptive pardons from the President prior to his removal from office. Although the crimes for which they are seeking pardoning have yet to be charged to any of the parties appealing, there are many speculations from a variety of news sites regarding what the pardons could be used for, including absolving Guiliani’s ties with Ukraine, and preventing a charge against Donald Trump Jr. for his Russian contacts.
The news of these appeals was also reported by The New York Times and ABC News, and comes on the heels of President Trump using his power of clemency to pardon former National Security advisor Michael Flynn last week. Prior to his pardon Flynn was serving out a sentence for admitting guilt to lying to federal agents about his contact with the Russian ambassador to the US during the Robert Mueller investigation. Trump also used his Presidential powers to commute the sentence of Roger Stone earlier this summer. Stone, another close friend, was convicted on seven felony counts, including witness tampering and lying to investigators during the Mueller investigation. While there are those in the press who believe that utilizing these powers for friends is immoral, there are others like Fox News host Sean Hannity who see actions like those above as well as those allegedly sought by Trump associates as necessary. When speaking on his radio show on Tuesday, Hannity stated, “The President out the door needs to pardon his whole family and himself,”. He later furthered his opinion by stating, “I assume that the power of the pardon is absolute, and that he should be able to pardon anybody that he wants to.” Regardless of the host’s opinion, there is still very little evidence as to whether these claims made by ABC, the New York Times, and CNN have merit, as when asked about whether or not he was seeking a preemptive pardon, Rudy Guiliani stated, “The (New York) Times is completely wrong.” He also made a point to emphasize that he never spoke to anyone at the White House on the matter. Other Trump family members have failed to comment.