President Donald Trump has been discussing pardons “like Christmas gifts” to people who haven’t even asked, one senior administration official told Axios in a report published late Monday.
According to the publication, Trump recently suggested to one adviser he was going to pardon “every person who ever talked to me,” suggesting that even more of Trump’s associates could be added to a growing list of people up for pardons during his dwindling days in office. Per Axios, the adviser wasn’t sure whether or not the comments were made in jest, although the source said that Trump did not appear to indicate at the time that he was joking.
According to Axios, Trump has made unsolicited suggestions to add people he’s in conversation with to a reportedly extensive potential pardons list. Those offers have extended to those who have not appeared to commit any crimes in an effort that one adviser told Axios they believed could be damaging to their public persona.
Trump has previously claimed that preemptive pardons were a way around a “witch hunt” into his administration and a move that would protect his associates from the incoming Justice Department. President-elect Joe Biden, however, has not yet chosen an attorney general and recently told CNN that the department will be “the people’s justice department” and not an agency assigned to do his political bidding.